With about 11 days to go before this year’s Aug. 1 Trade Deadline, the Mets are canvassing the market for starters and relief pitchers, according to team insiders, reports Anthony Di Como of MLB.com.
Di Como says the Mets are proceeding slowly on adding another back of the rotation starter because they are buying some time to have a longer look at Logan Verrett, see how Zack Wheeler progresses, and they are keeping tabs on pitching prospect Gabriel Ynoa at Triple-A.
Here are some potential starting pitchers the Mets could consider if they become motivated to add an external option.
An Old Friend
Jon Niese – Niese is having a nightmare of a season with a 4.89 ERA and a 1.556 WHIP that got him banished to the bullpen. Still, over his Mets career, he had a serviceable 3.91 ERA and a 1.361 WHIP while averaging six innings per start. In the postseason last year, he was moved to the bullpen where he got many valuable outs.
Matt Moore – Moore is not the same pitcher who was an All Star and finished in the Top 10 in Cy Young voting. After his 2014 Tommy John surgery, he has not been the same pitcher. With this being his first full season back, he is 5-7 with a 4.33 ERA and a 1.298 WHIP. He is primarily a fastball-change up pitcher with a low to mid nineties fastball and a mid eighties change up. Over the course of this season, he is averaging a little over six innings per game. He still has some upside, and he has a $7 million team option and $2.5 million buyout for next year.
Jake Odorizzi – Odorizzi is 4-5 with a 4.39 ERA and a 1.274 WHIP in 20 starts for the Rays this season. Part of the issues with Odorizzi is he doesn’t go deep into games averaging under 5.2 innings per start, and the fact that he has a higher career ERA, WHIP, and opponent’s batting average in the second half of the season. The 26 year old is under team control until 2020.
Drew Smyly – Smyly is another member of an underachieving Rays pitching staff that could be moved at the trade deadline. Smyly has been dealing with a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder, and he has opted not to have surgery. He is now in the process of having the worst year of his career going 2-11 with a 5.64 ERA and a 1.358 WHIP while averaging almost six innings per start.
Jeremy Hellickson – Unlike his former teammate Moore, Hellickson, the 2011 Rookie of the Year, never did undergo Tommy John surgery. The 2017 free agent is putting together a solid season for the Phillies going 6-7 with a 4.03 ERA and a 1.200 WHIP while averaging 5.2 innings per start. These numbers stand to be his best in four years.
Pending Free Agents
Tyler Chatwood – The 26 year old Chatwood is having a good season with an 8-5 record with a 3.29 ERA and a 1.286 WHIP while averaging six innings per start. These numbers are all the more impressive when considering the fact that he pitches half of his games at Coors Field, and the fact that this is his first full season after having had Tommy John surgery in 2014.
Andrew Cashner – He is having the worst year of this career going 4-7 with a 5.05 ERA and a 1.478 WHIP averaging under five innings per start while pitching a majority of his games in Petco Park, which could be the best pitcher’s park in the majors.
Jorge De La Rosa – The 35 year old De La Rosa is approaching both free agency and the end of his career. This year he is 6-6 with a 5.50 ERA and a 1.573 WHIP while averaging five inning per start. Surprisingly, he is even worse away from Coors Field going 2-4 with a 6.50 ERA and a 1.778 WHIP.
Jered Weaver – Once an ace for the Angels, Weaver has seemingly lost it this season. He has gone from an effective pitcher who got hitters out with guile, location, and a 90 MPH sinker to a guy who tops out at 84 MPH. The result is an 8-7 record with a 5.05 ERA and a 1.412 WHIP.
Tim Lincecum – Weaver’s current Angels teammate has also gone from an ace to an also ran. In his five starts for the Angels, he is 1-3 with a 6.85 ERA and a 2.070 WHIP.
Hector Santiago – Santiago is putting together another average season going 7-4 with a 4.27 ERA and a 1.272 WHIP while averaging a little over five innings per start. The 28 year old is scheduled to be a free agent after next season.
Matt Shoemaker – Shoemaker is another Angel on a staff of mid to the back of the rotation starters. This year, Shoemaker is 5-9 with a 4.08 ERA and a 1.264 WHIP while averaging almost six innings per start. He may be the player the Angels are least likely to move as he is under team control until 2021.
Overall, the trade options do not stand to be much better than the internal options. This may be one of the reasons why the Mets are prioritizing adding pieces to the bullpen over adding another starting pitcher at the trade deadline.