New York Mets: Best Starting Pitching Options On The Free Agent Market

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

The New York Mets still have a big need to fill in their starting rotation. Trevor Bauer immediately sticks out as the top option still on the market, but what does plan B look like for the Mets? Or who else do they bring along if they sign Bauer? Either way, there is still plenty of talent for Jared Porter to swoop up.

1. Trevor Bauer 

It is no surprise that Trevor Bauer is at the top of the list after his magical Cy Young award-winning season. Bauer led the league in ERA (1.70), shutouts (2), and had 100 strikeouts. The number of years for Bauer’s deal fluctuates from one all the way through five, and he will definitely be expensive. The biggest question concerning his on-field performance is whether his spin rate and dominance are sustainable pitching in a full season.

The other huge question comes with Bauer’s off the field personality. Bauer is active on social media, YouTube, and loves making a big statement. Whether you agree or disagree with what he says and does, overlooked news in Ohio is on the back pages in New York. If the on-field performance is successful, Bauer will thrive in the league’s biggest market. Should he struggle, the media and the fans will do everything in their power to get under his skin.

2. Jake Odorizzi

Do not write off Jake Odorizzi as a bad option in the Mets rotation. His career ERA (3.88) was better than Bauer’s (4.04) before the 2020 season started. Unfortunately, an injury-plagued season caused him to finish with a 6.59 ERA in four starts. Odorizzi was an All-Star in 2019 and is one year older than Bauer.

Odorizzi is a significantly cheaper option for the Mets and will likely sign for 2-3 years. He averaged 30 starts a year from 2014-2019 with the production of a good rotation option. Odorizzi is not an ace, but he would fit in as a good third starter behind Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman.

3. Masahiro Tanaka

Much like Odorizzi, Masahiro Tanaka has been one of the most consistent starters in baseball since his 2020 debut. Tanaka has a 3.74 career ERA, 3.33 ERA in the postseason, and two All-Star appearances on his resume. The biggest concern is his partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow. Like Seth Lugo, Tanaka has opted to pitch through it instead of undergoing Tommy John Surgery.

Tanaka would alleviate the heavy stress load at the back of the Mets rotation. He was a front line starter for most of his New York Yankees tenure. Tanaka could remain part of a six-man rotation when Noah Syndergaard returns; if the Mets sign Odorizzi with him. He could also fill the role starters like Julio Urias, and Nathan Eovaldi did in the bullpen during the postseason.

4. Alex Wood

Alex Wood falls into the category of a lower tier of a starter who is a crapshoot. These types of pitchers have past big league success but struggled over the last season or two. Wood is a prime example of that a “roll of the dice” move. Wood will be 30 on opening day and has a 3.45 career ERA in 138 career starts. Injuries and lack of a rotation spot with the Los Angeles Dodgers hurt his last two seasons. Before 2019, Wood had a 3.29 ERA, putting him as a reliable starting pitcher.

Wood has plenty of familiarity with pitching in big games after spending most of his career with the Braves and Dodgers. He would be a good option to sign along with Trevor Bauer to give the Mets five capable starters. Wood also has experience in the bullpen, which translates well to the postseason.

5. Jose Quintana

Jose Quintana is another pitcher who fell on hard times over the last two seasons but still is a decent arm. A thumb injury and lat strain limited him to 10 innings in 2020 after being known for durability throughout his career. After making 25 starts in his 2012 rookie season, Quintana rattled off seven consecutive 31+ start seasons.

Quintana has a 3.73 career ERA and is the type of pitcher who can maintain success as he gets older. He is a contact pitcher, known for his ability to generate soft contact. Quintana is a quality option to supplement a strong rotation and would benefit from working under pitching coach Jeremy Hefner.

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