Have you heard? The Mets have reportedly found an ace to fill the Jacob deGrom-sized hole in their rotation. They didn’t spare any resources, either. After watching the two-time Cy Young winner bolt for Texas, New York filled his spot with a three-time Cy Young winner in Justin Verlander.
It comes with some risk, but Max Scherzer gets to pitch with another co-ace in Flushing next season. News of this deal broke just after 9 am PST in San Diego, so the day is just getting started for the Amazins. Where could they turn their attention next?
There still needs to be a resolution for the outfield, whether it be Brandon Nimmo, Andrew Benintendi, Cody Bellinger, or someone else. The bullpen could also use some arms. But now that deGrom and Verlander are both off the board, the rotation market will probably start moving a little faster.
While Billy Eppler and Co. likely have their hands in many things at once, continuing to focus on the rotation will probably be the priority. We knew all along that the Mets wanted to acquire two starting pitchers for the rotation. Verlander is one, but who else is on their radar?
Here’s what Michael Mayer of Metsmerized said about that:
Mets are not done in the starting pitching market.
They’ve talked with Kodai Senga, Andrew Heaney, Jameson Taillon, and Chris Bassitt as well.
They know their rotation still needs help.
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayer22) December 5, 2022
As it currently stands, the Mets’ 2023 rotation looks like this (according to Roster Resource):
- Max Scherzer
- Justin Verlander
- Carlos Carrasco
- David Peterson
- Tylor Megill
Peterson and Megill both can provide New York major cost-effective upside. But for a team going for the kill, the third, fourth, and fifth spots in the rotation include a few too many unknowns. Here’s where things could stand with each of the above options and the Mets:
Jameson Taillon. According to Andy Martino of SNY, the Mets tried hard to close a deal with Taillon last week. Obviously, they were unsuccessful. Who knows if those efforts will kill a potential agreement or keep things alive? MLB Trade Rumors contract prediction: four years, $56 million.
Kodai Senga. The Mets have already met with the Japanese hurler, who is said to prefer a big-market team ready to win and is open to being exposed more to analytics. Eppler has a good reputation in Japan, as he was a big reason why Shohei Ohtani landed with the Los Angeles Angels (he was L.A.’s general manager at the time). MLBTR contract prediction: five years, $75 million.
Andrew Heaney. This is another Angels connection for Eppler. After three straight underwhelming seasons, he finally got back on track in 72.2 innings for the Dodgers. He twirled a 3.10 ERA with a 1.1 fWAR. MLBTR contract prediction: three years, $42 million.
Chris Bassitt. New York is familiar with C-Bass, who was the club’s only starter to qualify for the ERA title in 2022. The Mets have been connected to him recently. We don’t know exactly what Bassitt’s market looks like, but the 34-year-old could be seeking a four-year deal. That may be a sticking point to a potential reunion in Flushing. MLBTR contract prediction: three years, $60 million.
Regardless of what happens next, the Mets’ agreement with Verlander is just the beginning.