Did the Mets make a $130 million mistake?

mets, max scherzer
Aug 1, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Max Scherzer (21) throws to the Washington Nationals during the second inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Following franchise icon Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker, and Chris Bassitt’s free agency departure, the Mets had to rebuild their starting rotation.

$130 million later, the blue and orange had what they believed to be a formidable six-man rotation, but as they sit at 18-19 with a team ERA of 4.71, did they make a mistake?

The Returners: Max Scherzer, $43.3 million, Carlos Carrasco, $14 million and Joey Lucchesi, $1.15 million.

Let’s start with the most notable return in three-time Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer.

Scherzer has struggled to stay on the field between injuries and a 10-game suspension, but when Scherzer has pitched, he’s struggled.

The eight-time all-star has started just five games throwing 22.2 innings to a 5.56 ERA while sporting a 1.41 WHIP.

He does not look like the same pitcher from even a year ago, but maybe once his latest ailment is healed, Mad Max can return to form because his performance is nowhere near worth his record contract.

Another disappointment has been Carlos Carrasco. Cookie has made just three starts in 2023, throwing 13.2 innings to an 8.56 ERA and 1.61 WHIP.

Carrasco has been out since mid-April with a bone spur in his right elbow and just made his first rehab start Tuesday for Double-A Binghamton, throwing 33 pitches in three innings and allowing one run.

Time will tell if Carrasco’s early season struggles were due to the bone spur or the 36-year-old just not having it anymore, but as it stands today, picking up his $14 million option looks like a colossal blunder.

Finally, Joey Lucchesi has been mediocre in his return from Tommy John surgery, pitching 20.1 innings in four starts to a 4.43 ERA, but he has been pitching every fifth day, and that’s all the Mets can ask for at this point.

The Newcomers: Justin Verlander, $43.3 million, Kodai Senga, $15 million and Jose Quintana, $13 million.

The Mets arguably signed the best available pitcher in former MVP Justin Verlander. 

After missing the season’s start with a low-grade teres major strain, Verlander has returned to make two excellent starts throwing 12 innings to a 2.25 ERA while striking out 12.

If Verlander can stay healthy and continue to pitch to his ability, he will be worth every penny of the two-year $86.7 million contract.

Kodai Senga has been as advertised in his “rookie” season. The master of the ghost forkball has thrown 32 innings to a solid 3.38 ERA with 36 strikeouts.

Senga is adjusting to MLB hitters quite nicely and looks like a steal if he can continue to adapt to pitching once every fifth day.

Finally, Jose Quintana has yet to debut due to a stress fracture on his rib that revealed a benign lesion and required surgery. Quintana is not expected to debut until at least July.

So did the Mets make a mistake?

It feels too early to determine this, especially considering all the injuries. However, come season’s end, if the Mets miss the postseason and the rotation is a big part of the reason, it will undoubtedly be viewed as a colossal failure.

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