Mets Can’t Leave Pitching Off Their Shopping List

With the New York Mets signing of Jay Bruce to a three year deal worth $39 million the Mets can now scratch off another item off of their wish list.

The first being the signing of reliever Anthony Swarzak for two years, $14 million deal earlier in the Hot Stove season. Two pieces down. Many to go.

It is hard to tell that whether or not the Bruce deal makes sense because the overall team’s success is contingent on adding quality major league talent. Certainly there is some interest over the Mets pursuing infielders such as Todd Frazier or Mike Moustakas via free agency or Josh Harrison via trade.

Yes, adding any of the aforementioned infielder would certainly boost the team’s offensive output but in order for this team to be successful they need to add pitching. Starting AND relief pitching. Mike Puma of the New York Post recently reported the Mets weren’t currently involved in the pitching market. Hopefully this is not the case.

In 2017 the New York Mets ranked 28th in ERA with a depressing 5.01. Obviously injuries had a lot to do with it especially after trading Addison Reed and the injury to Noah Syndergaard along with virtually every starting pitcher they had. If you exclude Jacob deGrom and Thor, the rotation is full of question marks.

Can Matt Harvey win Comeback Player of the Year Award twice? Can Steven Matz pitch a full season healthy? When will the UCL ligament in Seth Lugos elbow finally snap off? Can Robert Gsellman come back to his 2016 form? Will Zack Wheeler ever be the same? Can Rafael Montero turn the corner? All legitimate questions for five guys vying for three spots in the rotation.

You can forget about Yu Darvish, Lance Lynn, or Alex Cobb unless their prices drop significantly. But why not Jason Vargas or, dare I say, R.A. Dickey?

Vargas, 34, won a American League leading 18 games last year and had a 3.8 WAR. R.A. Dickey pitched in 190 innings and had a 2.2 WAR. Either of these two would no doubt help the Mets starting pitching depth.

Other than Addison Reed, I would not mind the Mets making a play for Tony Watson. The 32-year-old Watson struggled with the Pirates to start 2017 with a 3.66 ERA and 1.52 but was closer to his strong career numbers with the Dodgers down the stretch. Watson had a 2.70 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 8.1 K/9 with the Dodgers.

Reed will be the ideal add but Watson is no slouch. Those are the two guys I would like to see and get excited about. I also think some combination of Gsellman/Lugo/Wheeler would also be solid out of the pen.

This new paradigm shift in free agent spending adopted by the owners who seem to be no longer dishing out absurd amounts of money and years to players aligns perfectly with Sandy Alderson’s wait and see approach (and also the Mets’ financial despair) so hopefully we will see initial asking prices decrease significantly.

Certainly most Mets fans have been clamoring over the “BIG” move to come once the off season started especially with all of the money coming off the books paired with the salary dumps last season. I think it is safe to say that there will not be “BIG” move but that is ok. Just so long as they fill their needs with real major league talent and not scrap heap players.

It should be the intention of the Mets to contend, not just get by. The front office has to fill ALL of the voids to give this team a shot at the post season as the window to compete is rapidly closing. Granted divisions are not won by simply making moves and winning the offseason. A lot of things have to go right and key players have to stay on the field. That is with any team.

However, the “our starters will be healthy and make every start” line is just not believable anymore. At least not for this cynical fan. They cannot neglect the pitching and hopefully some more additions will be made to the pitching staff. For now, I will sit patiently and see what Sandy and the rest of the Mets front office do these 31 days before pitchers and catchers report. Stay tuned.

About Michael Trezza 14 Articles
I have been a Mets fan since 1999 despite growing up eight miles away from Yankee Stadium. Although I grew up in Yankee territory I still wore my Orange and Blue with pride. The best game I have ever attended was the 9/21/2001 game. I still get chills whenever I watch the replay of Mike Piazza launching that homerun. Follow me on Twitter: @MichaelJTrezza