Even after all of this, they aren’t out of it thanks to Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto and an offense that had been pretty hot until yesterday.
The Mets are going to need another starter or maybe even two. Steven Matz and Seth Lugo aren’t walking through that door anytime soon. Zack Wheeler is going to be on an innings limit of sorts coming back from Tommy John surgery.
All the promise of the pitching depth the Mets had has been totally compromised. Their options haven’t exactly been great so far. Sean Gilmartin and Rafael Montero have not been good. Adam Wilk was rocked by the Marlins (though in fairness, he arrived from Albuquerque to the ballpark at 8:45 AM Sunday).
The Mets claimed Tommy Milone on waivers yesterday, so he’ll be given a chance, but let’s face it, the Brewers wouldn’t have let him go for nothing if they thought he could contribute.
So where do the Mets go from here? Where can they look to for some pitching help? Here are five options.
Tyler Pill won’t show up on a top prospect list for the Mets. He’s not on mlbpipeline.com’s top 30 for the club, for example. He may be just as ineffective as Gilmartin or Montero or Wilk, but it doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be given a shot. Why?
Pill is 2-0 in four starts so far in AAA Las Vegas with a 0.33 ERA. He is not a big strikeout guy. He’s only struck out 12 in 27 innings, but if you can get outs it doesn’t matter, even if he doesn’t fit the Mets’ usual mold of power arms.
The 26-year-old was just 10-11 with a 4.28 ERA last season between AA and AAA, but sometimes it just clicks and you go from there.
The Mets don’t have Robert Gsellman and Lugo to turn to, so maybe Pill can be their internal answer this season.
The other benefit is the Mets don’t have to go out and sign him or trade for him. He’s already in the system. They just need to clear a 40-man spot for him. If he continues to pitch well in Vegas, they have to give him a shot.
Fister was 12-13 with a 4.64 ERA in 32 starts last season for the Houston Astros. Back in 2014, Fister won 16 games for the Washington Nationals. He, like Pill, isn’t a strikeout guy. He struck out just 115 in 180 innings last season. The Mets have made 23 errors so far, which is seventh worst in baseball. They have a -9 DRS, which is fifth worst in baseball.
The Fister move would only cost money and probably not that much of it considering it’s May 8 and he hasn’t even signed yet. He would need a little bit of time to get his stamina back up to starting levels, but he can do that in the minors for a couple of weeks and then come up.
He would give the Mets a different look than their other starters, and maybe that isn’t such a bad thing.
Oh the irony. Part of the reason the Mets didn’t re-sign Bartolo Colon in the offseason was because of all the starting pitching depth the club had. Colon signed a one-year deal worth $12.5 million this year with the Braves to give them a veteran presence and someone who can eat innings and give their young pitchers more time to develop.
So far this season, Colon is 1-3 in six starts with a 6.27 ERA. Opponents are hitting .292 against him with a .324 BAA. He shouldn’t cost the Mets that much in a trade and the clubs have a history of making trades over the past few seasons like Kelly Johnson (twice) and Juan Uribe.
Sean Newcomb and Lucas Sims are off to great starts in AAA for the Braves. Sims is already on the 40-man roster, so they wouldn’t even have to make a move to put him on there. Within the next week, service time considerations will go out the window and you’ll see more prospects get called up.
Sims could be one of those and they could deal Colon in order to make that happen. Plus, the fan base in New York would be ecstatic.
The hottest pitcher in the game might be Kansas City Royals left-hander Jason Vargas. The problem is the Royals offense has been horrendous all season long and they find themselves 10-20, six games out of the division and seven out of a Wild Card spot.
They have a ton of pending free agents and you can’t just hold on to your pending free agents, give them a qualifying offer and then get a first-round pick for them anymore with how the new CBA is structured. You’re better off trading if you don’t think you can keep them.
Vargas is a pending free agent and thus far is 4-1 with a 1.19 ERA. Yes, he has 40 percent of the team’s victories so far.
His value may not ever be higher than it is right now and while the Royals may not be looking to sell quite yet, Vargas should be a target for the Mets (and many others) as we get deeper into the season.
The Blue Jays currently sit at 11-20 and in the basement of the American League East. They, like the Royals, could look to sell some pieces and reload a bit for the future. One of those pieces could be starting pitcher Marco Estrada, as I talked about last week.
Estrada, like Vargas, has an expiring contract. Estrada is 1-2 with a 3.14 ERA, but has seen his BAA spike to .232 from just .202 over the past two seasons. It’s possible that that drops back down and makes him even more effective.
The Mets are still in this race and need to get some pitching help. I would try Pill out first and go from there and hope he can hold the fort down a little bit. If not, I’d sign Fister and trade for Colon. Then see what happens when the trade market heats up and see if they can get anything out of Matz and Lugo.