Mets Rotation: This Final Stretch May Help Determine 2024


In two weeks, David Stearns will officially become the first president of baseball operations for the New York Mets. His first priority should be the starting rotation. No longer with Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and the Mets likely to not renew the contract of Carlos Carrasco, Stearns will be at the forefront working with owner Steve Cohen and GM Billy Eppler.

Pitching and depth of a rotation are essential, and the Mets are that example of this disappointing season that did not live up to expectations. It went both ways with pitching and hitting never coming together and that had the Mets staging a losing battle.

So, with the final two weeks in play, and with the Mets looking to finish strong, Stearns is looking on from the sidelines before assuming his role. Based on his success with the Brewers, pitching will be a priority. As the Brewers GM, Stearns sought and received the pitching that helped deliver multi NL Central division titles.

But these are the Mets, a team in transition. A Mets team that has the ability to spend, though the owner will not go overboard and allow Stearns to offer record contracts for free agent pitchers on the market. Lesson learned with Scherzer and Verlander, contracts that resulted in mid-season trades and in return, a rebuilding with top prospects that could make an impact in the next two years.

Rest assured, the Mets priority is looking at potential candidates for their rotation in these final two weeks and who follows Kodai Senga and Jose Quintana. Sunday afternoon at Citi Field, Quintana, in his 300th career start, gave the Mets length going 6-⅔ innings, allowing two runs on eight hits.

Senga is in the running for NL Rookie of the Year and the right-hander has provided some much needed consistency. In his last start Thursday, Senga threw six scoreless innings, allowed two hits and two walks, with 10 strikeouts, fifth time this season with double-digits.

Opposing hitters around the league have continued to praise the efficiency and command of Senga’s curveball, slider, and forkball. The right hander has adapted to changing speeds and using a 95-98 fastball that leads to his array of other pitches.

So, Senga and Quintana are a lock, both highlights of a Mets rotation that began with Scherzer and Verlander and was considered to be the guarantee of a Mets deep run in October. Then again, back in April would we be talking about Senga and Quintana as the Mets top two for their rotation in 2024?

Though, there are setbacks which can turn to positives and what the Mets incoming new baseball head of operations is observing with lefthander David Peterson is a revival of his slider. Friday in a Mets loss to the Reds at Citi Field, Peterson got the Reds to swing and miss at his slider eight times, a pitch that hurt him earlier in the season.

We had to make some changes,” he said about his best pitch. “Feels good to have that pitch back.” He tied a career high with 10 strikeouts and the last three starts from Senga, Quintana, and Peterson have put the Mets among the league leaders in starters with strikeouts.

I would envision Peterson will continue to get an audition for a starting role. His consistency though, will be determined during his final two outings against the Marlins and Phillies. The watch will be the consistency of a slider and ability to strike out opposing hitters, the Marlins and Phillies two teams whose hitters make constant contact.

Right-hander Tylor Megill is also getting an audition, although consistency of course has not been a part of his repertoire. Though Megill got his eighth loss of the season in a Mets 3-2 loss to the Reds Saturday night, he kept the Mets in the game by getting out of trouble but another home ball off his fastball is a recurring issue.

Stearns, from previous reports as a Brewers executive, has always been impressed with Megill. Right now, Megill is not a fan favorite to be a part of that 2024 starting core. Then again time will tell.

What remains in these final two weeks can determine a lot before the Mets assemble again in February down in Port St. Lucie. Jose Butto and Joey Lucchesi will also continue with their auditions down the stretch. This past week, Butto delivered his second straight good outing and Lucchesi returned to the rotation with seven good innings Wednesday night in a Mets win over the Diamondbacks.

Of course, this is audition time. And Stearns will not hesitate to pull a trade or two that can boost the rotation. A tendency of the unexpected is his repertoire and he took a lot of criticism for a controversial trade of Brewers closer Josh Hader to the Padres. Needless to say, this will be an interesting offseason with discussions of Pete Alonso and a long term deal or the trade rumors that will continue.

What remains are a look at free agents, a market that is thick and thin. A market for the owner and his new baseball director of operations to consider and spend wisely as the Mets could build around their new line of good prospects, some acquired in the deals for Scherzer, Verlander, Tommy Pham, and Mark Canha.

The best of the free agent pitching pool that could have Cohen and Stearns shopping:

  • Right Hander Aaron Nola ( Phillies)

  • Lefthander Blake Snell: CY Young Award number with Padres

  • Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Expected to be posted) and very much similar to a Senga strike zone pitcher.

Regardless, there are voids in the rotation and Stearns is bound to make this a priority as the Mets move forward to 2024.

Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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