Fixing the New York Mets’ rotation: A detailed plan

New York Yankees, Marcus Stroman

The New York Mets‘ rotation suffered from all kinds of maladies during the 2020 condensed season. Noah Syndergaard was lost to Tommy John surgery before the season began, free agent signings Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello didn’t deliver the expected results, and Steven Matz was rocked from the start to the finish while also suffering from shoulder ailments.

In short, only Jacob deGrom and rookie David Peterson showed the desired consistency that the New York Mets required to be players in the National League East division.

Now, Steve Cohen is about to acquire the New York Mets, and he should, at least a priori, be more willing to invest in payroll than the Wilpons. The starting rotation is a mess right now, with Stroman, Porcello and Wacha set to become free agents and Syndergaard presumably out until around the 2021 All-Star break.

How to make the Mets’ rotation significantly better?

What can Cohen, Sandy Alderson (he will be the team president upon Cohen’s arrival) and company do to fix the Mets’ rotation? Let’s see:

Jacob deGrom

A candidate to win his third straight Cy Young award, deGrom will return to lead the Mets’ rotation in 2021. He had a 2.38 ERA (2.26 FIP) in 68 innings and 12 excellent starts.

Free agent signing: Trevor Bauer

One of deGrom’s primary competitors for the Cy Young award is Trevor Bauer, who is set to hit the market and would make a lot of sense for the Mets. He is willing to accept a one-year deal (it would have to be a huge payment, though) and could be talked into a long-term commitment, too. His presence would immediately make the team a serious contender.

Free agent signing: Marcus Stroman

Stroman, 30, remains in his prime and is a good fit in the Mets, especially if they keep deploying slick-fielding shortstop Andres Gimenez. When healthy, Stroman is a steady mid-rotation starter that can lengthen the Mets’ rotation.

Trade acquisition: Joe Musgrove

The Pittsburgh Pirates aren’t close to contention, and trading Musgrove makes sense now that he has two additional seasons of team control. He had a 3.86 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP, but has the stuff to be much, much better. A solid floor and an exciting upside will make him expensive, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

David Peterson

The rookie left-hander had a 3.44 ERA (4.52 FIP) in 49.2 frames, showing he belongs in the bigs. He is a nice backend starter that can eat innings and keep his team in the game.

Noah Syndergaard will return around the All-Star break, which will be effectively something like a trade deadline acquisition for the Mets.

Matz, Seth Lugo and a low-cost free agent signing (Homer Bailey? Brett Anderson? Trevor Cahill? Wacha? Mike Minor? Garret Richards? Matt Shoemaker? Alex Wood?) will provide additional depth.