The New York Mets still need another arm to solidify their rotation as they wait for Noah Syndergaard‘s midseason return. The next expensive purchase for Steve Cohen will likely go towards George Springer over Trevor Bauer. In that case, here are three good options the Mets can sign for 2021.
James Paxton, 97mph Fastball and 81mph Knuckle Curve, Overlay (synced at release). pic.twitter.com/tMuVFbL8LV
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 19, 2019
1. James Paxton
Unless they overpay like the New York Yankees did for Corey Kluber, James Paxton should be a bargain for whichever team signs him. Injuries and lack of spring training cause Paxton to finish 2020 with an ERA over four for the first time in his career.
Paxton touched 94 mph on his fastball during a throwing session in December with just under 20 teams in attendance. The velocity is slightly under his typical mark, but it is an encouraging sign as he recovers from a flexor strain. Paxton would be a one-year rental and give the Mets a fifth starter with a reliable track record.
2. Gio Gonzalez
Gio Gonzalez was once a nemesis of the Mets during his days as a Washington National. Even after he left, Gonzalez still found a way to have success in Citi Field. Gonzalez is 11-2 with a 1.83 ERA and one shutout over 18 starts at Citi Field. He said he feels comfortable pitching in Citi Field and is another reliable option for their fifth starter. Gonzalez also understands his role as a reliever when Syndergaard returns and in the postseason.
3. Taijuan Walker
Taijuan Walker is a younger version of Kluber’s value in the free-agent market. Walker is only heading into his age-28 season and is coming off a 2.70 ERA in 2020. He may warrant more money due to his age and past performance, but his injuries are always a major risk. Walker has never made 30 starts in his career, and the last time he made at least 20 starts was in 2017. He has a 3.84 ERA in his career and gives the Mets another formidable starter without the pressure to pitch major innings.