The clock is ticking on the Mets to pick up the final arms necessary to round out the bottom portion of their starting rotation.
Compared to last season, their stable of starters is in considerably better shape heading into the 2021 season after bringing back Marcus Stroman, acquiring Carlos Carrasco in the Francisco Lindor deal, and getting Noah Syndergaard back healthy within the first two-to-three months of the campaign.
They also ended the Steven Matz experiment, trading him to the Toronto Blue Jays, and brought in left-hander Joey Lucchesi to compete for a spot along with second-year southpaw David Peterson.
But while Syndergaard finishes his rehab, it’s a considerable ask to leave the bottom two rotational spots reserved for a young starter like Peterson and unproven products like Lucchesi and Jordan Yamomoto.
It’s why the Mets are still working on the market to find at least one more arm to provide some more depth for the rotation — all while avoiding the problems of last season when they had to rely solely on the likes of Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha to re-spark their dormant careers.
SNY’s Andy Martino on Wednesday reported that “discussions continue” between the Mets and veteran right-hander Jake Arrieta, who has been a shell of his former Cy Young Award-winning self in recent years with the Philadelphia Phillies.
After posting a 2.67 ERA over four seasons with the Chicago Cubs from 2014-2017, the now-34-year-old’s ERA has swollen to 4.36 over the last three years with the Phillies, including a 5.08 ERA in nine starts last season that ended in September due to a hamstring injury.
It was a disappointing return to health for Arrieta, whose 2019 was cut short in August due to surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow.
The Mets’ interest in Arrieta could very well be due diligence considering there are other, better-rated starting-pitching options still available on the free-agent market.
Martino added that there is interest in veteran lefty James Paxton, who is two years younger than Arrieta, but made just one start last year due to injuries.
Over his last two seasons with the Yankees, he has a 4.16 ERA — noticeably higher than the 3.42 mark he posted in six years with the Seattle Mariners.
Other notable options still on the free-agent market for the Mets to consider include Jake Odorizzi and Taijuan Walker.