It's been three weeks since pitchers and catchers reported to spring training and so far, the New York Mets' starting rotation hasn't experienced any sort of major injury news even with Jacob deGrom's start of the 2018 regular season being in doubt due to lower-back issues.
That means the team is still on pace to put a notable starting arm in the bullpen considering the following starting options the team currently has:
Syndergaard, deGrom and Vargas are all but locked into the starting rotation, the former two goes without saying. The left-handed Vargas, coming off a career-high 18-win season in 2017 with the Kansas City Royals, was brought on to bolster the bottom of the rotation and provides New York with a veteran lefty option considering Matz is the only other possible southpaw in the rotation.
Vargas' acquisition in February ensured that the Mets would have to tinker with a prominent starter pitching out of the pen, unless a six-man staff is new manager Mickey Callaway's preferred approach. Though it would be difficult to explain why innings should be taken away from Syndergaard and a healthy deGrom.
Initial consensus was that Wheeler or even Harvey were the favorites to be put in the bullpen, but after the early portions of spring training, maybe it's Steven Matz that might get the boot from the starting rotation.
In two starts, Matz has lasted just 1.2 innings (out of a realistic maximum of four possible frames) while allowing 10 runs on eight hits while walking four.
It's a difficult start for the oft-injured 26-year-old, who has often confirmed that he feels fully healthy. In the meantime, Wheeler has allowed a run on four hits in two innings of work while Harvey put together a solid outing on Monday against the Detroit Tigers.
Harvey took 48 pitches to get through three innings, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out one. For a starter not expected to be the ace like he was in 2013, that's just what the Mets need.
The one thing that could save Matz from being relegated to the bullpen is the fact that he's left-handed, meaning Wheeler would make the drop. But if he continues to struggle like he has during his first two spring-training starts, the Mets might have no choice but to lift him from the starting rotation.