The New York Mets’ needs for pitchers is only growing as time and options continue to dwindle.
Just a few days remain until pitchers and catchers officially report to Port St. Lucie to start up spring training on Feb. 17, and the weekend provided a few losses for a team looking to put the final touches on a roster that they hope will be in the thick of contention in 2021.
Saturday morning saw the Mets announce that one of their top relievers, Seth Lugo, will undergo surgery to remove a loose body in his right elbow where he’ll be sidelined for at least six weeks until beginning a rehabbing throwing program.
As a best-case scenario the pitcher who has been forced to flip-flop between the bullpen and starting rotation — mostly due to the incompetence of former management to build suitable depth — could be back approximately one month into the start of the 2021 season. However, Lugo’s rehab would have to be paired with a spring training to ramp him up to the rigors of the campaign, so a definitive timetable would be difficult to hammer down.
The Mets could have used one more veteran reliever to bolster its ranks even before the Lugo injury; not to mention the DFAing of Brad Brach to make roster space for new center fielder Albert Almora.
Even after signing Trevor May and Aaron Loup already this offseason, another arm for the pen seems imperative to ensure the Mets have enough options to sustain late-inning stability.
Trevor Rosenthal is the marquee remaining free-agent option that the Mets could pursue. The 30-year-old right-hander shook off a disastrous, return in 2019 from a torn UCL to go 1-0 with a 1.90 ERA and 11 saves in 23 appearances with the Kansas City Royals and San Diego Padres last season.
A reunion with Justin Wilson could also be an option for the Mets. The veteran southpaw has a 2.91 ERA in two seasons in Queens, but Robert Murray of Fansided reported Sunday morning that Wilson and the crosstown-rival Yankees are in “serious talks.”
In the starting rotation, the Mets are still on the lookout for one more veteran option for a lower spot. With Noah Syndergaard’s return to the rotation slated for June at the earliest, the No. 4 and 5 spots of the Mets rotation currently belong to some combination of David Peterson, Joey Lucchesi, and Jordan Yamamoto.
They missed out on former-Yankee James Paxton, who returned to the Seattle Mariners on Saturday, narrowing logical options down to just two: Jake Odorizzi and Taijuan Walker.
A source suggested to amNewYork Metro Sunday that the Mets have shown interest in Walker.
The 30-year-old Odorizzi possesses a career 3.92 ERA and is two years removed from an All-Star 2019 campaign with the Minnesota Twins where he went 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA.
Walker, who is two years younger, went 4-3 with a 2.70 ERA in 11 starts last season with the Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays.