The rotation is good as it stands. The Bauer pursuit shows the Mets hierarchy are interested in another established arm, however. Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco and Marcus Stroman is a strong front three, but how much scarier do they become with another experienced near-ace level pitcher?
Starters are still a priority for the Mets. Spring Training may only be days away, but there are still options out there.
New York has the prospect capital and spending power to go after any available starter. Potential rotation arms are still on the free agent market. Several front offices will pick up the phone to trade enquiries.
Here are three starters the Mets should consider.
The obvious shout here. Jake Odorizzi is the best starting pitching free agent. He’s attracted interest from an array of teams, including the San Francisco Giants and Toronto Blue Jays, but the Mets can blow all the others out the water if they choose to.
Injuries disrupted his 2020, but Odorizzi has a career-year in 2019. A 3.36 FIP and All-Star honors set the former Minnesota Twin up for a big contract. Kept to under 14 innings in 2020, though, front offices will be wary of going too long or too costly, and that might have contributed to the hold up over his free agency.
This is the simplest option for the Mets. Pay up and they’ve got him. Having missed out on Bauer, Odorizzi is the straight forward alternative.
Cincinnati had their year of fun. The Reds are one of many franchises pleading poverty. As a result, even their best players are on the trade block. Luis Castillo has grabbed headlines, but Sonny Gray may make more sense for the Mets.
#Reds Sonny Gray has lots of great pitches. His sinker might be overlooked.
33.3% K rate on sinkers in the last 2 years. Watch him 🎨 the corners of the zone ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/IByJZF80n6
— Matt Kelly (@mattkellyMLB) February 2, 2021
Gray is under control for three more seasons. He’d give the Mets another long-term arm behind deGrom. At just over $10 million per season, he’s ultra affordable and about a quarter of what Bauer wanted. The former Yankee posted great 2020 numbers, too, ranking in the 83rd percentile or better in strikeout rate, barrel rate, fastball spin and curveball spin.
The Reds will have a high asking price for Gray, and understandably so. His struggles in the New York spotlight across town will no doubt be mentioned if the Mets acquire him, but this is a different situation on a different team. Adding Gray to what they have would be a major move.
The Rockies insist this isn’t a rebuild. It should be, of course, and if they realize a tear down is the best way to go, there’s a handful of pitchers for the Mets to ponder. German Marquez is the pick of the bunch.
As with any Colorado pitcher, Marquez’s surface level stats aren’t glittering. Adjusted numbers are kinder, though, with a 118 ERA+. He’s got a big fastball, and two effective breaking pitches, both of which were in the mid-forties in whiff rate last season.
Under control through 2024, Marquez won’t come cheap, however. He’s owed just $7.8 million in 2021. The annual salary increases through the contract, but that’s obviously not a problem for the Mets. It could, though, entice the Rockies into a trade after they effectively salary dumped one of their greatest ever players.
Would a few upside prospects be enough to lure the Rockies to trade Marquez? He’s got the stuff, and the track record, to suggest he could flourish in New York.
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