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Mets Should Lean Into Sinkerballers By Re-Signing Marcus Stroman And Rick Porcello

Right now, the Mets two starters are Jacob deGrom and David Peterson. With Peterson, the Mets have a promising pitcher who is a sinkerball pitcher. In terms of Peterson, the question is what do you do to help him take the next step forward in his career.

The first part of the plan should be to improve the infield defense. With the Meta apparently moving from Amed Rosario to Andres Gimenez at short, they already took a big step forward on that front.

Rosario continued to make strong steps forward defensively, and he was a good defender, but he was not on Gimenez’s level. Rosario was a -3 DRS and 2 OAA to Gimenez’s 1 DRS and 5 OAA. At a 5 OAA, Gimenez was actually tied for the second best defensive SS in the game.

At second, Robinson Cano rebounded defensively with a 3 OAA. On that note, Cano was better moving to his left. That’s an important consideration for an aging player who probably needs to move off of second.

It’s not about ability per se, but rather durability. He’s going to be 38 next year, and he’s broken down a bit in each of the last few years while playing second. A switch to a less demanding position like third should help him extend his career.

It also solves a real issue for the Mets as third base is a huge problem. Jeff McNeil was supposed to play third, but he had throwing issues not too dissimilar from what we once saw with Wilmer Flores. That led the Mets to move McNeil off the position and replace him with J.D. Davis.

Davis was a disaster at third. He had a -8 DRS, which is he had enough innings to qualify, would’ve had him as the worst in the position in the majors. His -3 OAA was also the worst in the majors at the position.

By moving Cano to third, you finally take away Davis’ glove (which needs to happen anyway), and second is re-opened for McNeil. At second, McNeil has been a good defender with a career 4 OAA and 1 DRS.

By going with an infield of McNeil, Cano, and Gimenez, they have made it a significantly improved defensive infield. In fact, you can argue it’s a very good one at that.

As an aside, Nolan Arenado is purportedly on the trade bloc, and the Mets have a logjam at first with Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith. Putting Arenado alongside Gimenez would possibly even surpass Robin Ventura and Rey Ordonez.

While Arenado may be considered a pipe dream, that’s the direction the Mets should be angling. That’s not just because of Steve Cohen’s deep pockets. Rather, it’s because the Mets should be maximizing their defense.

Part of that will include moving on from Wilson Ramos. Ramos is a catcher of a different era. That’s not his fault, but rather one of Brodie Van Wagenen’s front office. Moving on from Ramos to another catcher better at framing, whether that be J.T. Realmuto, James McCann, or someone else entirely, the Mets will be much better poised defensively.

They will also be better poised to handle a pitch to contact sinkerball staff. That will help Peterson succeed in his second season.

This will also help Stroman, who for reasons previously detailed, should be the Mets priority right now. The question is who should then round out the Mets rotation with Noah Syndergaard rehabbing from Tommy John.

There is an argument to be made for Rick Porcello to return on another one year deal. Certainly, Porcello will be driven to have a better 2021 after his 2020 was terrible. It’s quite possible he wants that chance to return to the Mets, a team he grew up loving, and prove to them he’s a pitcher who can help them win.

Now, Porcello’s stats were a very mixed bag last year. His ERA+ was a career worst 75. He let up an inordinate amount of barrels last year too.

Behind that was a 3.33 FIP, which is quite good. Porcello was also above average in terms of hard hit percentage, and he posted very good exit velocity rates.

You could argue with a vastly superior infield defense Porcello could very well be a good stopgap for Syndergaard and/or insurance for a Peterson sophomore slump. In the end, if the Mets are moving in the direction of a pitch to contact staff, they should really lean into it and make their team the best suited they can to head into that direction.

As we’ve seen in years like 1999 and 2006 building a superior infield defense can help your team overcome pitching deficiencies. It can help ground ball pitchers be reliable, post strong numbers, and pitch deep into games.

For the Mets, there are many directions they can head towards with a new owner and front office. Given the presence of Peterson and what’s available on the free agent market, this is a direction the Mets should seriously consider pursuing.

6 thoughts on “Mets Should Lean Into Sinkerballers By Re-Signing Marcus Stroman And Rick Porcello”

  1. Chris says:

    I think Arenado is a pipe dram. But if they did pursue, I think I’d offer Alonso over Smith. When you look at Alonso for the second half of last year and this year (when pitchers got a book on him) his numbers are less exciting. Smith is a better hitter all around, maybe not quite as much power as Pete but better overall and his glove is much better. If the NL keeps the DH then put Cano at 3rd and have Pete DH. Also maybe see if Guillorme can play 3b as well.
    Catcher and a real CF are badly needed. SS I think is now Gimenez’s. Rosario might be an option at 3b as well OR package him with some combination of Nimmo, Matz maybe Davis for a good young starter if possible.

    I like bringing Porcello back but I am not a fan of Stroman.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      No team will give up anything of value for Davis or Matz right now.

      With Matz, he’s a non-tender candidate, so they’ll wait. As for Davis, who wants a ground ball machine who is the worst fielder in the majors at two different positions?

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