Alex Cobb. (Photo: Getty Images)

Pitchers and catchers reported to spring training on Monday, just another sign that Major League Baseball is right around the corner. 

 

For the New York Mets, it's been a surprisingly active offseason after early indications suggested they would not be spenders, relegating the franchise and its fans to another mediocre season. 

 

However, they were able to bring on reliever Anthony Swarzak and Jay Bruce to fill the gap in right field before addressing a huge need in the infield by signing third baseman Todd Frazier. 

 

They weren't necessarily the most marquee names out there — and some have accused the Mets of taking the cheaper way out — but at least management bucked the trend of market dormancy and attempted to upgrade the team. 

 

If the Mets want to truly label this offseason a success though, they need to make one final move and bring in a sturdy starting pitcher to bolster the rotation. 

At this point, preparing for the 2018 season expecting the starting pitchers they have now to stay healthy for the entire season is a dangerous and foolish game to play. 

Remember, this is a team that was supposed to attain consistent success behind a pitching staff featuring Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler. 

But injuries have been a constant issue throughout their respective tenures in the big leagues. Syndergaard tore his lat muscle in April, which held him out for the remainder of the 2017 season while Wheeler experienced stress injuries to his arm just two years after undergoing Tommy John surgery. 

Harvey, who has battled injuries since undergoing Tommy John in 2013, suffered a stress injury in his shoulder as he basically had to re-learn how to pitch and find his command. It showed as he posted a career-worst 6.70 ERA. Matz, who also hasn't been able to stay healthy since making his MLB debut in 2015, saw a dreadful season that contained a 6.08 ERA end early because of elbow surgery. 

Only deGrom, who pitched 201.1 innings in 2017, was the only Met starter to eclipse the 120-inning mark. Turning to the likes of Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo and Rafael Montero to save the staff, the Mets sported the third-worst ERA in all of baseball at 5.01, which makes it obvious that the team needs some kind of insurance in 2018. 

Sitting out on the free-agent market for the taking are veterans Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb, two starters that could provide some much-needed stability to New York's starting unit. 

While both right-handers underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015, both Cobb and Lynn have bounced back strong and looked fairly unaffected by the procedure. Lynn pitched in 186.1 innings last year, putting up a 12-11 record with a 3.03 ERA and 153 strikeouts. Cobb logged a career-high 179.1 innings while going 12-10 with a 3.66 ERA and 128 punchouts.

Innings eaters like that who can consistently provide quality starts would work wonders for a Mets rotation that has seemingly been in flux for the past four years. Instead of scrambling for inexperienced or ineffective pitchers when the injury bug strikes, the season doesn't have to be over if one of New York's hurlers find himself bitten by the injury bug again.