Ray Ramirez isn’t around to take the blame anymore as an onslaught of injuries remains an inconvenient backdrop to the Mets’ 2021 season.
After surging its way through the lineup and the team’s ranks of player positions — which the Mets managed to navigate through well enough to stay in first place in the NL East — the pitching staff continues to take hit after hit.
Marcus Stroman’s removal from his start on Tuesday night against the Atlanta Braves due to what is being described as hip soreness potentially adds another blow to a Mets’ pitching stable whose depth has already been plenty depleted.
Earlier this week, it was confirmed after a second opinion that Joey Lucchesi will need Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL and will miss the remainder of the season.
He had been thrown into the thick of starting duties as the Mets continue to wait for the return of Noah Syndergaard and the team debut of Carlos Carrasco. Syndergaard’s rehab was stopped and his return date pushed back from this month to September after experiencing a setback. Meanwhile, Carrasco continues to deal with a torn hamstring he suffered late in spring training after coming over from the Cleveland Indians in the Francisco Lindor deal.
Another depth signing from the offseason, Jordan Yamamoto, is also on the 60-day IL with a shoulder issue.
Losing Stroman for any sort of time creates one more hurdle for the Mets to try and clear as they’d be left with Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker, and David Peterson as the only healthy, dependable arms that manager Luis Rojas can confidently turn to.
Jerad Eickhoff pitched four shutout innings in the second game of Monday’s doubleheader against the Braves and is the Mets’ best current option as a No. 4 starter, but a 5.07 ERA over his previous three seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies doesn’t necessarily instill the most confidence.
Other options include Thomas Szapucki and Tylor Megill, but neither has been pitching well in the minors as of late.
Any hopes for going with a bullpen game every fifth day also took a sizable hit when Robert Gsellman hit the injured list with a lat strain.
It makes the trade market the best option for general manager Zack Scott to plug the holes in the rotation to try and keep things afloat until normalcy is restored — if that ever happens this year.
Scott himself reiterated on Tuesday that he continues to work the phones; something he’s been doing since the roster first started dwindling for him last month. However, he admitted that it’s been difficult to find the right move as teams are still holding some of their more valuable assets for a higher price —one that will start going down the closer it gets to the July 30 trade deadline.
“Obviously, it would be great to add a player who could impact the team, but also there’s value in finding players that can stabilize the team as well,” Scott said. “We think we’ve got a good club with all the players that we have. Sometimes the stabilizer is the more proven thing to do both short and long term.”