Mets rumors: 6 starting pitchers to boost starting rotation in 2024… or 2025 ranked by tiers

Brandon Woodruff Mets rumors
Brandon Woodruff (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

New York Mets president of baseball operations David Stearns has already admitted that pitching is going to be his top priority this offseason as he attempts to re-bolster a team with contending aspirations in 2024. 

The free-agent market is rife with viable options that could give the Mets the boost they so desperately need after their rotation was completely overhauled at the trade deadline. Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander were dealt away, leaving the Mets with Kodai Senga and Jose Quintana as the only viable, consistent starters available for 2024.

Stearns is going to be busy — and he could take a number of different routes in free agency this winter. We picked six notable arms and ranked them into tiers of how they could impact New York’s rotation.


Yoshinobu Yamamoto

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)
  • Career stats (NPB): 967.2, 75-30, 1.72 ERA, 986 K’s, 0.915 WHIP
  • 2023 stats: 171.0 IP, 17-6, 1.16 ERA, 176 K’s, 0.860 WHIP
  • Market value (speculation): $25 million/season

Yamamoto is the undisputed jewel of this year’s starting-pitching free-agent class, especially with Shohei Ohtani shelved from throwing in 2024 after undergoing elbow surgery. The 25-year-old right-hander has been one of the top pitchers in Japan for almost a decade and with an upside greater than last year’s big Japanese import, Kodai Senga, he’s going to get big-time money, too. We’re talking about something in the eight-year, $200 million-plus range. Senga has already told the Mets that he wants Yamamoto as a teammate and the club has been linked with him for months, though Billy Eppler’s departure does change things slightly. Still, they should be one of the favorites for his signature.


Blake Snell

Blake Snell delivers a pitch in 2022 MLB action
Blake Snell (AP Photo/Mike McGinnis)
  • Career stats: 992.2, 71-55, 3.20 ERA, 1,223 K’s, 1.235 WHIP
  • 2023 stats: 180.0 IP, 14-9, 2.25 ERA, 234 K’s, 1.189 WHIP (2023 NL Cy Young Award winner)
  • Market value (per Spotrac): $23.9 million/season

With the San Diego Padres in a salary cap crunch this winter, they don’t have many other choices than to let their star southpaw walk. Right now, Snell and the Mets are obviously unlikely, but if Yamamoto signs elsewhere and Stearns is looking for an ace, signing the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner and a two-time winner of the prize certainly wouldn’t hurt. Granted, there are clear red flags when it comes to Snell’s game. He led the majors in walks last year with 99 and his WHIP of 1.189 was high for a Cy Young winner. This was also just the second time in his career that he’s pitched 180 innings in a season, so there will be reservations from interested parties. 


Top-End Support

Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray Mets rumors
Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Sonny Gray delivers a pitch to a Pittsburgh Pirates batter in during the fourth inning of a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bailey Hillesheim)
  • Career stats: 1,571.0 IP, 98-85, 3.47 ERA, 1,521 K’s, 1.204 WHIP
  • 2023 stats: 184.0 IP, 8-8, 2.79 ERA, 183 K’s, 1.147 WHIP
  • Market value (per Spotrac): $20.3 million/season

You have to give credit where credit is due and Sonny Gray is due quite a bit of it. After being written off by the Yankees, he reinvented himself and has found success in smaller-market cities, posting a 3.22 ERA in his last five seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and Minnesota Twins. The 34-year-old righty finished second in the AL Cy Young Award voting behind Gerrit Cole this season, which positions him nicely on the market. Of course, there will be questions about him performing on the big stage of New York, as he was unable to do so with the Yankees (4.51 ERA, 1.416 WHIP).


Jordan Montgomery


  • Career stats: 755 IP, 38-34, 3.68 ERA, 705 K’s, 1.209 WHIP
  • 2023 stats: 188.2 IP, 10-11, 3.20 ERA, 166 K’s, 1.193 WHIP
  • Market value (per Spotrac): $18.4 million/season

Another Yankees cast-off, Montgomery played an integral role in helping the Texas Rangers win their first-ever World Series title earlier this month. While he had a career year in the regular season, he posted a 2.67 postseason ERA which included two brilliant starts against the Houston Astros in the ALCS — he allowed just two runs over three appearances (14 innings) in that series. The 30-year-old could provide another mid-rotation southpaw option next to Jose Quintana, which the Mets have lacked in recent years.


Wild Cards

Luis Severino

Yankees Luis Severino
New York Yankees’ Luis Severino throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, Monday, Oct. 3, 2022.AP Photo/LM Otero
  • Career stats: 727.1 IP, 54-37, 3.79 ERA, 788 K’s, 1.185 WHIP
  • 2023 stats: 89.1 IP, 4-8, 6.65 ERA, 79 K’s, 1.646 WHIP
  • Market value (per Spotrac): $11.6 million/season

It has all come apart for the 29-year-old right-hander, who was once the undisputed ace of the Yankees after finishing third in the AL Cy Young Award voting in 2017. Injuries have derailed his career, including Tommy John surgery that ended his 2019 season after just three starts. He missed the entire 2020 season and made just four appearances in 2021. He’s also dealt with two lat strains, a groin strain, and rotator cuff inflammation, and all the while his stuff simply hasn’t been the same as he nosedived to a 6.65 ERA this season. He’d be a reclamation project, certainly, but this is a pitcher who went 7-3 with a 3.18 ERA just two seasons ago where a mid-rotation spot and lower expectations could see him pick back up. Granted, he has to stay healthy.


Brandon Woodruff

  • Career stats: 680.1 IP, 46-26, 3.10 ERA, 788 K’s, 1.045 WHIP
  • 2023 stats: 67.0 IP, 5-1, 2.28 ERA, 74 K’s, 0.821 WHIP
  • Market value (per Spotrac): N/A

While he was sometimes overlooked within a Brewers rotation that was headlined by Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the last four seasons, boasting a 2.76 ERA and a 4.80 strikeouts-to-walk ratio. His brilliant numbers this season were limited by a shoulder injury that ultimately required surgery, which will keep him out of the entire 2024 season. It’s why the Brewers opted to non-tender him, making him a free agent. Teams willing to play the long game could offer Woodruff a two-year deal this offseason, allowing him to heal before entering a 2025 season that could still set him up for a big payday. He is just 30, after all. There is an obvious history between Woodruff and Stearns, making a reunion plausible in Queens.

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