Now more than ever, the Mets need insurance in their starting rotation, whether that’s in the form of a pipe dream in Dallas Keuchel or a more fiscally reasonable option in Gio Gonzalez.
The Mets need depth before the train completely comes off the tracks.
They received some relieving news on Monday when Jacob deGrom’s MRI came back clean after an elbow scare, ensuring that their ace won’t be shelved for an extended period of time.
For once, the Mets actually handled a potential injury correctly, but there are still problems galore within the rotation.
The bottom two arms in the starting rotation, left-handers Steven Matz and Jason Vargas, continue to prove that they are not consistent enough to contribute on a legitimate contender.
Having two of the staff’s five starters exhibit an inability to get out of the first inning within the same week should provide all the red flags needed for general manager Brodie Van Wagenen to go out on the market and remedy the situation.
That sentiment still stands after their most recent starts as both pitchers allowed just one earned run apiece in a combined 10 innings of work.
Elsewhere, Noah Syndergaard’s ERA is well over five and Zack Wheeler’s was over six before Tuesday night’s game with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Suddenly the crown jewel of the Mets organization had a combined ERA of 5.42 prior to Tuesday night. That’s a discerning number on a team that has been flirting with first-place during the first month of the season.
The Mets can’t afford to wait around for the slim possibility of Vargas or Matz shifting things into gear full-time. Their history with the club has not suggested it will ever happen, which means Van Wagenen has to be active.
A remedy is not in the organization.
New York’s sixth and seventh starters are Corey Oswalt and Chris Flexen, a pair of arms that have career ERA’s over six. That obviously isn’t good enough talent to step up in a pinch.
A former Cy Young Award winner in Keuchel would present the Mets with a top arm. While they have been rumored to be in talks with the southpaw, the price tag continues to scare them away.
Gonzalez, currently released by the crosstown-rival Yankees, is a far more affordable option that would at least give the Mets another left-handed option to replace Vargas.
The 33-year-old has excelled at Citi Field, especially during his time with the Washington Nationals, going 11-2 with a 1.75 ERA in 17 starts.