Quite possibly, not all the pitchers who will crack the Mets’ Opening Day roster have reported to spring training yet.
After missing on, most notably, Trevor Bauer and James Paxton this month, the Mets remain engaged with free agent Taijuan Walker, according to an industry source. In a thin remaining market for starting pitchers, Walker and Jake Odorizzi are perhaps the top available names.
Walker, 28, went 4-3 with a 2.70 ERA and 1.163 WHIP in 11 appearances last season with the Mariners and Blue Jays. Whether the Mets sign him could be contingent upon if they are willing to offer a multi-year deal.
The need for another reliever also remains real following Seth Lugo’s surgery to remove a loose body from his right elbow, preventing him from throwing for at least six weeks. To that end, the Mets have been in discussions with Trevor Rosenthal’s camp about a potential contract.
On Tuesday, manager Luis Rojas broached the possibility the Mets could use an opener at the back end of the rotation. David Peterson, Joey Lucchesi and Jordan Yamamoto are among the rotation candidates, behind Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco and Marcus Stroman.
“There are several guys here who have started games before,” Rojas said. “There is a lot of strategy that we can talk about. We know how openers are being used, we will be open-minded about that.”
With the lack of innings thrown in 2020 due to the pandemic-shortened season, Rojas said ideas have been exchanged about limits for pitchers, increasing the need for arms.
“We still haven’t committed to a plan there, to go to a number [of innings] that I can share here,” Rojas said. “We like our depth there, right now we have some names that we are looking forward to see in action.”
Rojas noted it still hadn’t been decided whether Lugo would be a reliever or starter before his injury. The right-hander still could be an option for either role, depending on need.
“We’ll get back Lugo and at that point probably have a plan getting closer to it,” Rojas said. “But in the meantime, yes [the pitchers] did have a shorter season, but once we get to a point of ramping up and getting ready for the regular season, I know the pitching coach and the pitching core as I call them, the rest of the pitching coaches that we have, are going to talk about [innings limits].”