Mets to attack thin pitching ranks this winter, David Stearns says

Yoshinobu Yamamoto Mets Yankees
Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto of the Orix Buffaloes pitches against the Lotte Marines in Chiba, east of Tokyo, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. Yamamoto has pitched a no-hit game for his Japanese club. (Kyodo News via AP)

David Stearns is honing in on the weakest part of the Mets’ roster this season, which was something that became abundantly clear last season and was further exacerbated when Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander were dealt away at the trade deadline. 

“I don’t think it’s any secret that we’re probably short on pitching at the moment,” Stearns said down in Arizona (h/t SNY). “That will be a priority this offseason. If we look at run prevention as a whole, there are ways we can improve [that]. It’s starting pitching, it’s relief pitching, it’s defense. I think those will be areas that we’ll pay attention to.”

As it stands, the Mets currently have two starters cemented in their rotation with Kodai Senga, coming off an impressive rookie showing last year after making the jump from Japan, and Jose Quintana

David Peterson, Tylor Megill, and Jose Butto are potential depth options that could compete for a bottom spot, but Stearns is expected to go after at least two more starting arms.

“If we have the opportunity to fill out our starting rotation with solidified pitchers and there are deals that make sense for us or trades that make sense for us, I’m not going to close the door on that,” Stearns said.

Kodai Senga Mets
Kodai Senga (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

The market is flush with high-end starters that could quickly replenish New York’s ranks. 

Japanese superstar Yoshinobu Yamamoto is firmly atop the Mets’ wish list as he prepares to make the move from Nippon Professional Baseball. The 25-year-old owns a sub-2.00 ERA in a seven-year professional career and projects to be a No. 1 ace in the majors.

But there are also other intriguing options to be explored. Front-line starters like Sonny Gray, Aaron Nola, and Lucas Giolito are also heading toward free agency this winter.

The bullpen is also woefully shorthanded right now with Edwin Diaz and Brooks Raley as the only proven options to move forward with in 2024, so significant attention will obviously be paid to the team’s relief corps.

But that doesn’t mean Stearns is content with the other corners of his roster, even the areas that already seem set.

“It won’t surprise you guys to hear that I’m open to opportunities. I try not to draw firm lines in the sand at the front end of an offseason,” Stearns said. “We are and will continue to canvas the industry. We will pay attention to what’s going on out there and if we think there are attractive opportunities either in free agency or trade in areas that we think we’re doing OK in the club, we’ll explore those as well. I’m not afraid of too many good players in one particular spot.”

For more on the Mets, visit AMNY.com