A blockbuster move the Mets should target this off-season for starting pitching support

New York mets, Luis Castillo
Sep 11, 2020; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) pitches during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

While the Mets have been busy this offseason, there is still work left to do. Coming off of a year where high expectations were not met, clear areas of the team needed improvement. The biggest struggle for the Mets in 2021 was hitting, which resulted from a combination of a lack of depth and talent. The team batting average was a mediocre .239 and the wRC+ (Weighted runs created) was pathetically 96. Both these stats are below league average, which is not acceptable for a team that is looking to contend.

The Mets signed Eduardo Escobar, Mark Canha, and Starling Marte to bolster up the offense. Canha and Marte are both guys that get on base a lot of the time, while Escobar is more of a power hitter. These three signings will definitely help fix the offense issue, but other issues like starting and relief pitching depth remained.

So, the subsequent signing made was Max Scherzer, a top 5 starter in the game and the top pitching free agent. This signing will create the deadliest 1-2 pitcher duo with deGrom also in the rotation, but the 3-5 starters are not the quality they need to be.

The Mets lost Marcus Stroman to the Cubs, creating a desperate need for starting pitching depth. Taijuan Walker proved to be very inconsistent in the 2021 season as he was an all-star caliber pitcher in the first half of the season but a below-average one in the second half. Carlos Carrasco battled injuries for most of the year, but when he returned he struggled majorly. Putting up a 6.04 ERA and 4.32 xFIP (Fielding independent pitching), Carrasco became more of a liability than an asset, reinforcing the need for starting pitching depth. However, Tylor Megill emerged as a reliable starter in his rookie year, putting up a 4.52 ERA and 3.92 xFIP, which are excellent stats for a rookie. So, the Mets’ biggest problem heading into the 2022 season is a reliable third starter in the rotation.

This problem can be solved by a trade for Luis Castillo, who put up a 3.98 ERA and 3.63 xFIP. With Castillo’s contract, he becomes a unrestricted free agent in the year 2024. The years of control with Luis Castillo and his young age of 29 make Luis Castillo very valuable. His current team, the Reds, are not contending at the moment and may be entering a rebuild as many franchise players are reportedly on their way out, like Nick Castellanos and Jessie Winker. So, the Reds would be looking for high-ranked prospects and a young MLB player in return.

A fair return for the Reds would feature Ronny Mauricio, J.T. Ginn, and JD Davis. Ronny Mauricio is the Mets third-ranked prospect 53rd in the MLB. Mauricio’s future with the Mets is uncertain as he is a shortstop, meaning he would have to change positions due to Lindor being with the Mets for the next decade. J.T. Ginn is the Mets’ fifth-ranked prospect and will help the Reds fix their pitching issue for the future. The last part of the return for the Reds in JD Davis, a third baseman for the Mets. Davis has lost his playing time with the addition of Eduardo Escobar and a change of scenery could benefit both Davis and the Mets. He has proven he can be an elite hitter, putting up a 130 wRC+ in 2021, but he is a liability in the field and seems to be injury-prone. Davis is only 28 and becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2025, which is a long time of control over a young player.

If the Reds are indeed looking to begin a rebuild, they could also send Mike Moustakas to the Mets. This move would be strictly to get rid of a bad contract/old player. Moustakas will be making $16 million in 2022, $18 million in 2023, and $20 million in 2024 when he is 35. Moustakas would be an ideal DH as he provides lots of power but is slow and has bad fielding. To actually contend in 2022, the Mets’ front office needs to get busy after the lockout.