Why Carlos Rodon could be answer to Mets rotation questions

0
5

[ad_1]

The Mets’ rotation didn’t get any younger this season.

In a win-now mode, the team last November added Max Scherzer, who turned 38 in July, and also featured the 35-year-old Carlos Carrasco and Jacob deGrom, who turned 34 in June. Chris Bassitt, who arrived in a trade from the A’s, turned 33 before the season.

It’s a fact team brass will have to weigh heavily this offseason. Mostly, that pertains to deGrom — and also to Carrasco and Bassitt — as the Mets consider how to rebuild a rotation that was strong for most of the season, but faded in the final weeks as the Mets squandered their NL East title chances and lost to the Padres in the wild-card series.

DeGrom at his best is the most electrifying force in baseball, but how long the Mets are willing to extend the relationship, more than the average annual value of a new contract, might be the largest factor in whether the two-time Cy Young Award winner returns.

Does owner Steve Cohen set a strict two-year limit on a deGrom deal? Three years? DeGrom has indicated he plans to opt out from his contract, and a team desperate for a marquee attraction with Cy Young upside might be willing to hand over the moon to get it.

DeGrom has started 23 games combined over the two seasons Cohen has owned the team, which included a nearly 13-month stretch without an appearance. The risk is significant.

New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom comes off after the fifth inning of Game 2 of the National League Wild Card Series against the San Diego Padres, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, in Queens, NY.
Jacob deGrom exited his lone playoff start amid uncertainty about whether he would return to the Mets.
Corey Sipkin

Carrasco is a back-end starter these days, and for the $11 million it will cost the Mets to pick up his option for next season (the net outlay of the $14 million option when the $3 million buyout in his contract is considered), it’s sensible to keep him.

But that’s only if you believe Carrasco has enough left in the tank to approach the same effectiveness he showed this season, when he started 29 games and pitched to a 3.97 ERA.

Bassitt was maybe the Mets’ most consistent starting pitcher, but he’s now headed toward free agency as somebody who will turn 34 in spring training. Team brass loved Bassitt’s dependability this season, but if deGrom and Carrasco stay — with Scherzer signed for two additional years — can the Mets justify keeping another older pitcher?

All factors considered, the Mets might want to take a long look at Carlos Rodon, who can opt out from the two-year contract he received from the Giants last offseason. Rodon, who is represented by superagent Scott Boras, is likely to reject the $22.5 million option and aim for a multiyear deal (think: five or six) in the $30 million range annually.

Rodon does have a history of shoulder issues, but he’s thrived the past two seasons while making a combined 55 starts. Rodon, who turns 30 before spring training, would provide a younger (and left-handed) alternative to potentially replace deGrom or Bassitt. This season, Rodon led the major leagues in FIP (fielding independent pitching), which measures a pitcher’s ability to strike out batters and limit home runs, walks and hit batsmen. Rodon had 2.25 FIP, which is measured on roughly the same scale as ERA. Rodon’s traditional numbers  for the Giants this year were also strong, highlighted by a 14-8 record with a 2.88 ERA over 178 innings.

New York Mets starting pitcher Chris Bassitt #40 throws a pitch during the second inning.
Chris Bassitt won 15 games while throwing a career-high 181 ⅔ innings this year, but the soon-to-be 34-year-old may not make for a good fit in an already-aging Mets rotation.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

A dominant left-handed component to the rotation would be welcomed. David Peterson was effective in a fill-in role, but Rodon would have the potential to become a CC Sabathia-type presence.

The Mets had a lefty on their mind last offseason, but Steven Matz spurned a return to Citi Field to sign with the Cardinals, eliciting venom from Cohen toward the pitcher’s agents, whom he accused of “unprofessional” behavior. Matz was a disappointment for the Cardinals, pitching to a 5.25 ERA in 15 appearances before a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee ended his season.

Rodon’s talent, relative youth (compared to the other members of the Mets rotation this season) and left-handedness are all factors that could make him an attractive addition for the Mets this winter.

A worthy cause

The winner of the Roberto Clemente Award — honoring MLB’s top humanitarian — will be announced during the World Series. The Mets’ nominee was James McCann for his work with families of premature babies.

McCann’s wife, Jessica, gave birth in December 2017 to twin boys who arrived seven weeks early. The twins spent seven weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

New York Mets catcher James McCann (33) watches his three-run home run in the third inning against the Washington Nationals, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, in Queens, NY.
James McCann was nominated for baseball’s Robert Clemente Award for the work he and his wife, Jessica, have done supporting the parents of premature babies.
Corey Sipkin

The McCanns visit NICUs in New York and at home in Nashville to lend support to families and distribute gift packages.

“The thing that is tough, and a lot of people don’t understand, when the baby is in there full-time, parents still have to go to work, they are not just sitting in the hospital all the time,” McCann said. “We go and visit … once in a while, we get a note from someone thanking us for the gift package that we left them. We’re just letting them know that as somebody who has been in their shoes, that as tough as it is right now, there’s brighter days ahead.”

McCann’s sons Christian and Kane, who weighed three pounds at birth, are fully healthy, according to McCann.

“They love baseball,” McCann said. “They will step over trucks and cars and legos to pick up a bat and a ball. They are obsessed. It’s incredible. Everything is normal as normal gets.”

McCann could join a list that includes Curtis Granderson, Carlos Delgado, Al Leiter and Gary Carter, all of whom won the Clemente award while playing for the Mets. The list of winners also includes Carrasco, who received the award with Cleveland in 2019.

“Just being nominated and in that conversation is a special thing, but to win the overall award and have your name etched in that legacy would be incredible,” McCann said. “When we had the Roberto Clemente night , you see the names of past winners … it’s a special group of people.”

System shakeup

Tim Teufel #11 of the New York Mets reacts prior to the game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on September 10, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Braves won 4-3 in extra innings.
Tim Teufel’s 25-year tenure in a variety of instructiuonal roles for the Mets has come to an end, but he likely will serve as a team ambassador moving forward.
Getty Images

Tim Teufel’s departure from the Mets’ instructional ranks was surprising (he won’t be retained as the minor league infield coordinator) given his deep roots in the organization, but you can’t blame general manager Billy Eppler for wanting to import his own people.

In recent years, fan favorites such as Edgardo Alfonzo and Wally Backman departed from Mets minor league managerial roles as part of player development changes.

Teufel, 64, has served the organization well in various roles over the past 25 years and will remain a club ambassador. Omar Minaya, Mike Piazza, Mookie Wilson and Todd Zeile also served in that role this season.

[ad_2]

Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here