How many arms in that rotation?
One problem that the 2016 Mets do not face is a lack of starting pitching. The top of the rotation is solid with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard. Following this they have Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler and the ageless Bartolo Colon.
Here’s the thing. There’s always a thing.
Last year, they couldn’t decide how to handle all of this. They tried (for a time) a disastrous six man-rotation. They need to try to limit innings for Harvey, when they can (see the many articles on the controversy last year), and don’t want to overuse Matz or – when he’s back to full strength – Zack Wheeler, coming back from Tommy John Surgery.
One possible trade that would have moved Wheeler to Milwaukee already fell through, and the young pitcher has indicated he’d like to stay with the team, but here’s the thing. Matz and Wheeler are better than fourth and fifth starters. Another arm could be brought in to fill that last slot, or to platoon with Colon, and several of the previous questions could be answered by offering one of the two in a trade. Wheeler, still a question mark until he has some innings under his belt on his return, makes the most sense. The problem at several positions is one of depth at positions other than starting pitcher.
Either Matz or Wheeler could bring in a catcher to back up Travis d’Arnaud, or a good prospect to platoon with David Wright at third, or possibly both. It’s true that the Mets, in their current configuration, live or die on their pitching, but moving one of their solid young arms could help them remedy this, while adding depth at positions that – should the starters prove less than stable throughout the season – could sustain the team through another run to October.
That’s the end game, of course. Going to the World Series is great, but nothing beats a parade.