Coming into the 2022 MLB season, the New York Mets swung for the fences with efforts to not only compete for the division but to contend for the World Series. They seemingly hit a home run when they signed future Hall of Famer and 3x Cy Young winner, Max Scherzer. On top of that, they surprisingly acquired all-star right-hander, Chris Bassitt via trade from the Oakland A’s. The Mets were set to enter the season with the #1 pitching staff in the MLB.
Fast forward, just prior to opening day, the Mets learned of a stress reaction in Jacob deGrom’s throwing shoulder, putting him on the shelf until at least late June, more likely July. Losing deGrom surely hurt. When healthy, there is not a more dominant, impressive, and feared pitcher in the game. Nonetheless, the Mets rotation had to let the show go on, with Scherzer slotted a top the rotation.
Days later, Scherzer dealt with discomfort, pushing his Mets debut back. Luckily, it wasn’t nothing severe, as the $43 offseason acquisition would be postponed just 1 game.
While it sounds eerily similar to the ever so popular phrase- ‘same old Mets’ – this has not been the theme of the season. This team continuously has scratched, clawed, and prevailed in the early going, fighting every step to earn their comfortable lead in the first place.
Second-year RHP, Tylor Megill had the biggest shoes to fill, stepping in for deGrom, but he did, flourishing in a big way. Unfortunately, Megill, recently was sent to the 15-day IL. Losing him was yet again, another blow, but like the Mets have done all year; they must go on.
The ultimate blow came Wednesday vs. the Cardinals, when Max Scherzer exited the game at his own will. Once tests came back, it was determined that the 3x Cy Young Winner would miss 6-8 weeks. While the Mets have consistently found success all year long, losing your ace, aka your $130 million dollar man, and your dependent young gun certainly comes with great consequences and unanswered questions.
The question today: Now What? Do the Mets roll with the current staff? Do they look to the minors for help? Maybe a trade?
In a post-injury world, the Mets have a rotation that consists of Chris Bassitt, Carlos “Cookie” Carrasco, Taijuan Walker, David Peterson, and long-reliever Trevor Williams. While this rotation is temporarily, it’s quite challenging to trust the David Peterson’s & Trevor Williams’ of the world, despite them both throwing respectably. Sticking with the current staff projects as the riskiest but most likely outcome.
The Mets farm system sits around the middle of the pact, heavily favored due to their impressive position players. Amongst arms, the most obvious “MLB Ready” prospect; Thomas Szapucki. He’s been phenomenal in Triple-A this season. In 7 GS, he’s notched a 2.86 ERA with 30 Ks in 22.0 IP. The crafty lefty adds diversity and versatility to the rotation. Another candidate for promotion is RHP, Jose Butto. Butto offers a nasty changeup in his repertoire, complimenting his fastball that sits mid-90s. He’s yet to pitch in AAA.
Lastly, the Mets could look to add an established arm via trade. While this sort of trade normally takes place during the middle of the season or at the trade deadline, the Mets are in a unique position as they have 3 out of their 5-man rotation on the shelf. The most logical trade partner, a team going nowhere. Think no further than the Cincinnati Reds. Two pitchers that the Mets could check in on are promising starter Luis Castillio, who’s started the year with a 4.60 ERA and Tyler Mahle, who’s coming off a career year in 2021. He hasn’t carried that play into 2022 though, as his ERA sits at 5.23.
The bottom line: It’s too early to make a big trade. The Mets are better off rolling with their guns. They need to take this stretch one day at a time and do what they’ve done all year; fight to the very end.