Noah Syndergaard

Mets Need To Extend More Than Francisco Lindor

Now that Francisco Lindor is a member of the New York Mets, the team now has to try to find a way to sign the 27 year old superstar to a contract extension. This is the move the Los Angeles Dodgers made with Mookie Betts just last year.

Its also what the Mets once did with Keith Hernandez and Mike Piazza. Those moves resulted in a World Series, two pennants, two NL East titles, and four postseason appearances. Keeping Lindor can very well have the same impact on the Mets going forward.

However, it’s more than just Lindor. The Mets have key pieces of their core ready to hit free agency after this year.

First and foremost is Michael Conforto. In 2020, Conforto emerged as a true leader for this team and a potential future captain. Since moving past his shoulder injury, he’s re-established himself at the plate with a 135 OPS+ over the past two seasons.

Another homegrown Mets player who will be up for free agency is Noah Syndergaard, who will be returning from Tommy John at some point in 2021. Before suffering that injury, he was arguably one of the best pitchers in baseball.

From his debut in 2015 – 2019, Syndergaard was 10th best in the majors in FIP and WAR while having the second best hard hit rate. He’s also a pitcher who thrives on the big stage. He was the last Mets pitcher to win a postseason game, and in the last Mets postseason game he arguably out-pitched Madison Bumgarner over seven innings.

At 28, he’s still young and in his prime. This is the type of pitcher teams usually move to make a part of their franchise for as long as they possibly can.

Joining Syndergaard near the top of the Mets rotation and free agency is Marcus Stroman. Like Syndergaard, the 2017 World Baseball Classic MVP was born to pitch in the big game and on the biggest stage.

What truly stands out with Stroman is not just his positivity, but his tireless pursuit to improve as a pitcher. That is exactly the type of pitcher who not only tends to improve as years progress, but he’s the type of pitcher who has a positive impact on teammates.

In terms of advanced stats like FIP and WAR, he lines up as a number two starter. However, he’s someone who you trust against another team’s ace. He’s not good, and he’s not getting outworked by anyone.

Right there, the Mets have four extremely important pieces due for an extension. After 2020, their two best position players, and two of their best three starters hit the free agent market. If the Mets truly want to rival the Dodgers, they need to move to lock these pitchers up long term.

That’s easier said than done. Some of these players may want to test the free agent market. Steve Cohen’s pockets aren’t bottomless. There’s also the matter of other players on the team.

Steven Matz will also be a free agent. After the 2022 season, Brandon Nimmo and Seth Lugo will be free agents. Jacob deGrom can opt out of his contract after 2022, and the Mets have a team option on Carlos Carrasco.

Overall, the Mets have to make a number of extraordinarily important decisions on players on their roster over the ensuing two seasons. They need to balancing being able to extend those players with adding another huge contract.

By the looks of it, obtaining Lindor hasn’t completed the big moves for this Mets offseason. Rather, it means their work really has just begun.

Carlos Carrasco Better Option Than Trevor Bauer

When the New York Mets pulled off that surprise blockbuster deal with the Cleveland Indians, they obtained Carlos Carrasco to be a mid-rotation starter. For the Mets, Carrasco is a perfect fit.

The 33 year old pitcher is on an extraordinarily team friendly deal. He’s owed just $12 million per year for each of the next two years with a third year option for $14 million. Historically, he’s outperformed that.

From 2016 – 2018, Carrasco averaged 15 wins a season posting a 3.39 ERA, 1.120 WHIP, 2.1 BB/9, and a 10.1 K/9. He averaged 6+ innings per start.

In terms of advanced stats, he had a 134 ERA+ and a 3.21 FIP. That FIP was the 10th best in baseball meaning he was pitching like a number one starter.

Carrasco struggler in 2019, but that was due in large part to his battling leukemia. Carrasco entered 2020 healthy, and he was great again with a 157 ERA+ and a 3.59 FIP. In essence, he was Carrasco.

Looking at it Carrasco being Carrasco is being a better pitcher than Bauer.

For that same 2016 – 2018 period, Bauer averaged 14 wins per season posting a 3.57 ERA, 1.257 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, and a 9.7 K/9. He also had a 125 ERA+ and a 3.45 FIP. Basically, across the board, Carrasco was better.

Now, if we shift the three year period to incorporate Bauer’s Cy Young winning 2020, things change a bit.

From 2018 – 2019, Bauer had a 3.18 ERA, 1.116 WHIP, 3.0 BB/9, and an 11.2 K/9. He had a 144 ERA+ and a 3.38 FIP. Across the board, these stats are better than Carrasco, and more to the point, Bauer showed a level in 2020 which Carrasco has never come close to reaching.

It should be noted that Bauer’s 2020 season came against really poor competition, and it was over the course of a 60 game season. Still, it did happen, and Bauer is four years younger.

The question is what is that worth.

With Carrasco, he’s being paid a relatively paltry $12 million per year. According to projections, Bauer is seeking to make north of $20 million more than that.

Yes, the Mets parted with players in the deal to get Carrasco and Francisco Lindor. Looking at that deal, Carrasco was almost treated as a throw-in. Of course, given his ability as a mid to top of rotation pitcher, you can never say he’s a throw-in.

And yet, the deal the Mets made to obtain him and Lindor was such a bargain you could perceive it as such. Taking that into account, Carrasco is a far better option than Bauer.

That goes double when you consider that $20 million difference can be utilized to try to extend Michael Conforto, Lindor, Noah Syndergaard, and Marcus Stroman.

Taking everything into account, Carrasco was a far superior option for the Mets than Bauer. Not only is Carrasco arguably a pitcher who will provide similar production, but he will also do so at a much cheaper price.

Getting Carrasco over Bauer means the Mets have the ability to keep their core as well as add to this team. Every way you break it down, obtaining Carrasco was a stroke of genius and a far, far better move than signing Bauer.

Mets Corey Kluber/James Paxton Plan

The New York Mets are in an interesting position with their rotation. They’re set at the top with Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman. That could be the best 1-2 combination in all of baseball.

When Noah Syndergaard returns, that’s a tremendous top three. The question is what the Mets should do for the last two rotation spots.

Given the presence of Steven Matz and David Peterson, you could argue the Mets have the luxury of taking a shot at pure upside there. That brings us to Corey Kluber and James Paxton.

Both pitchers are coming off injury riddled seasons. Instead of cashing in on free agency, they’re having showcases to prove they can return to form. Those forms are better than anything on the market.

Before being traded to the Rangers and suffering a tear of the teres major muscle in his right shoulder, Kluber was one of the best pitchers in the majors.

In 2017 and 2018, he had a 172 ERA+, 2.82 FIP, and a 7.0 K/BB. If he can be anything close to that, he’s taking the Mets to the World Series.

However, there’s no knowing if he can get anywhere close to that. He struggled in his six starts before he suffered a broken arm from a comebacker. He never made it back that season due to injuries, and he lasted one inning in 2020 before the muscle tear.

If Kluber can get anywhere near his 2018 form, he’d be great. That 2018 form makes him well worth the gamble.

The same thing can be said about Paxton.

When the Seattle Mariners did their great sell off, Paxton went to the New York Yankees. In 2019, he had a 117 ERA+, 3.86 FIP, and a 3.38 K/BB. He showed he can handle the stage not just in that regular season but also with a big win in Game 5 of the ALCS.

Over a three year period (2016-2019), Paxton had a 120 ERA+, 3.26 FIP, and a 4.1 K/BB. That’s a very good pitcher.

What wasn’t good was Paxton’s 2020. He had a 6.64 ERA in five starts in an injury riddled season before shutting it down with a flexor strain. At the moment, his velocity isn’t all the way back with him throwing 94 MPH in a throwing session. Still, he’s getting there.

If Paxton’s ready by Opening Day, you want him in your rotation. Unfortunately, the only way you can really figure that out is by signing him. Teams have the right to be leery, but he’s well worth the risk.

If you’re the Mets, adding Kluber or Paxton to deGrom and Stroman is awfully enticing. That goes double when they would slot into the rotation as a three or four.

Adding both allows them to put Peterson in the minors as insurance and to permit him to improve in the areas where he needs to improve. In the event, Kluber or Paxton falter or aren’t quite ready for Opening Day, the Mets have Peterson.

If they work out and Syndergaard returns as planned, Matz becomes a weapon out of the bullpen. Alternatively, the Mets can cycle through all of these starters to keep them fresh and to the finish line much like they did in 2015.

Of course, the Mets can sign a more reliable option like Masahiro Tanaka or Jose Quintana to pair with one of Kluber or Paxton. You can understand that path.

That said, if you really believe Kluber and Paxton are healthy, and you believe in Jeremy Hefner, you roll the dice and add both. You give them the incentive laden deals they merit/want, and you allocate your funds towards George Springer, Brad Hand, and third base.

Ultimately, that’s just one of many paths before the Mets. Fortunately, they have the people in charge and the resources available that you can trust they’re going to make the right decisions to make the Mets a real contender.

Reasons Why Mets Not Signing Tomoyuki Sugano Isn’t A Big Deal

With reports the New York Mets are not one of the finalists for Tomoyuki Sugano, there has been some consternation about fans for missing out on a big name in free agency which could have fulfilled a real need.

Yes, Sugano could’ve helped, and chances are he’d be very good. Still, there’s a number of reasons why the Mets failing to sign Sugano isn’t that big of a deal. In no particular order, here they are:

  1. Trevor Bauer
  2. Masahiro Tanaka
  3. Jake Odorizzi
  4. Corey Kluber
  5. Jose Quintana
  6. Taijuan Walker
  7. Alex Wood
  8. James Paxton
  9. Martin Perez
  10. Felix Hernandez

All of these pitchers and more are still available in free agency. There are also other pitchers possibly available via trade like Joe Musgrove.

There are still plenty of options remaining, and that doesn’t even include Noah Syndergaard who is likely to return at some point this season.

The moral of the story here is Mets fans need to calm down. The vast majority of the best free agents are still available, and it does not seem like they’re flying off the board just yet.

We just need to let this glacially slow offseason play out and trust this front office. Come Spring Training, this will very likely be a team which can contend for the division. At a minimum, this team is already vastly improved.

Dawn Of A Potential Mets/Dodgers Rivalry

The New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers have an interesting history. For fans of the original Mets team, many of them were originally Dodgers fans.

That includes Fred Wilpon, who built a ballpark in testament to those Dodger teams. Of course, that was resented by younger more modern Mets fans who have zero recollection of those Brooklyn teams.

For Gen X fans and younger, the history of the Mets and Dodgers is quite different.

There was the Dodgers upsetting the 1988 Mets. That was a painful series highlighted by David Cone perhaps riling up the Dodgers, Davey Johnson leaving in Dwight Gooden too long with the ensuing Mike Scioscia homer, and Orel Hershisers virtuoso performance.

The 2006 Mets got some measure of a payback in the NLDS sweep. That was a total beatdown with former Dodgers Shawn Green and Jose Valentin relaying to former Dodger Paul Lo Duca who tagged out Jeff Kent and J.D. Drew at home plate.

Things between these two teams really ratcheted up in the 2015 NLDS. That all began with Chase Utley living up to his reputation as one of the dirtiest players ever with his tackling Ruben Tejada at second thereby breaking Tejada’s leg.

Utley would go on to cowardly duck the Mets in New York. Ultimately, the Mets won that series behind the brilliance of Jacob deGrom and the postseason heroics of Daniel Murphy.

The bad feelings of that series carried forward into the next season when Noah Syndergaard was ejected during a nationally televised game after throwing a pitch behind Utley. Utley would get the last laugh with Terry Collins being revered years later when the ejection video was released.

After that, things calmed down. That was due in large part to the Wilpons ineptitude taking the Mets out of contention. During that time, the Dodgers became the model franchise finally breaking through and winning the 2020 World Series.

Now, with Steve Cohen at the helm, things promise to be different.

With Cohen comes real financial heft which arguably surpasses what the Dodgers have. We’ve seen early on what that means with the Mets already signing Trevor May and James McCann as well as being in the market for George Springer and Tomoyuki Sugano.

But, it’s not just the financial strength. It’s also the scouting and analytics. The Dodgers have used that to identify players like Max Muncy and Justin Turner who have become relative stars. They’ve also developed an enviable pipeline of talent with young players like Gavin Lux and Will Smith.

The Mets have started heading in that direction by bringing back Sandy Alderson. They’ve also hired Jared Porter as GM and Zack Scott as Assistant GM.

Of course, the Mets have retained perhaps the best draft scouting with Mark Tramuta, Tommy Tanous, Drew Toussaint, et al. That group is responsible for great talent like Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Seth Lugo, Brandon Nimmo, and Dominic Smith. That’s nothing to say of the talent still left in the system and traded away.

The Mets have the core, financial resources, burgeoning front office, and now the right ownership for the Mets to become a juggernaut like we haven’t seen from this franchise since the 1980s. They will very soon rival the Dodgers on and off the field.

That is going to lead to some more postseason run-ins. With that will be the heightening if tensions between these franchises which have already had their moments.

If the Mets make the right moves, we’ll see an epic postseason clash between these teams come October not just this year but in each of the ensuing seasons. The seeds are already there, and so, with more epic postseason series, we’ll see the makings of a bitter Mets/Dodgers rivalry.

Mets Only Have Three Untouchable Players

The concept of the untouchable player is a fallacy. That goes for any player including Mike Trout. For the right price, even he could be traded.

That said, when we talk untouchable we mean a player who can’t be replaced on the roster. In terms of the Mets, there’s only three such players on the roster.

First and foremost, Jacob deGrom is untouchable. Not only has he established himself as the best pitcher in baseball, but he’s also on a very reasonable contract. There’s nothing on the free agent or trade market available where you can replace him.

The next untouchable player is Seth Lugo, and last season is exactly the reason why. In Lugo, the Mets have one of the best and most versatile relievers in baseball. He can pitch multiple innings, get a key out, and get the save.

If you’re in a jam, Lugo can also start. No, he is not nearly as dominant as a starter. However, he can be stretched to be either a dominant opener or a competent fifth starter. Looking across baseball, there really isn’t another pitcher who offers that, not even Josh Hader.

Finally, the Mets last untouchable is Jeff McNeil. He’s that mostly because his versatility allows the Mets to build the best possible roster.

McNeil is a good defender at second and left. He can hold his own at third and right. He’s a unique batter in this era in that he’s up to hit, and he puts the ball in play. In McNeil, you’re getting a modern day Ben Zobrist in the field and a slower version of Ichiro Suzuki at the plate.

In these three players, the Mets have truly unique players whose skill sets cannot easily be replicated. In fact, you can argue, their skill sets cannot be replicated. At their relative prices, it’s nearly impossible.

As for the rest of the roster, while there are extremely good players across, they just don’t rise to this level.

While you may want to argue Pete Alonso or Dominic Smith, they are both first baseman. In fact, they’re both All-Star caliber first basemen. Unfortunately, there’s just one first base, and there’s no DH.

Andres Gimenez is very promising, but this is an organization with a lot of shortstop talent. That includes Amed Rosario, who is a capable MLB starter, and Luis Guillorme, who deserves a fair shot to play everyday.

Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo are approaching free agency soon, and the corner outfield position is one which can typically be filled easily. On that note, McNeil can fill one of their spots if necessary.

Like Conforto, Marcus Stroman and Noah Syndergaard are pending free agents making them more movable than they otherwise would be. Also on the pitching front is Edwin Diaz. You’ve seen reason to believe in him and believe he can’t handle New York. At the end of the day, he’s a good closer, but the Mets can always obtain one of them in free agency.

So, overall, the Mets have a deep and interesting roster. However, there are many holes across the roster. Looking at this roster, short of deGrom, Lugo, or McNeil, any of these players should be on the table to address any of the deficiencies this team has.

James McCann Makes Sense For Mets Even At Four Years

In a vacuum, a four year deal for the 30 year old James McCann is a curious one. Essentially, the Mets are giving McCann a fairly long term contract deal off a career year.

If you’re doing that, you better believe his 2020 breakout is real. As has been well documented, it very well might be.

As broken down very well by Dilip Sridhar of MMO, much of McCann’s transformation was due to his working with Jerry Narron. This led to McCann altering his stance behind the plate helping him go from a very poor framer to becoming an elite framer in 2020.

In addition to the significantly improved defense, McCann has been steadily improving at the plate.

In each of the past three seasons, McCann’s exit velocities have improved. This coincides with an improved launch angle and barrel rate.

McCann has been increasingly hitting the ball harder and further, and he’s going it while walking more. Sure, he’s likely to regress from his 144 wRC+ for a few reasons, but that said, we can reasonably expect McCann to be an above average hitter.

That’s important because among catchers with at least 500 PA, there are only nine with at least a 100 wRC+. Nine in the entire sport. Not only is McCann one of them, but he’s also third overall.

In McCann, you’re getting a catcher in his prime who has put it all together. He’s become elite defensively and at the plate. Arguably, he’s one of the best catchers in the game.

Still, he’s not viewed as THE best. Routinely, that title is either bestowed upon Yasmani Grandal or J.T. Realmuto. Grandal is the catcher who has supplanted McCann in Chicago, and Realmuto is arguably the top free agent available this offseason. Certainly, Realmuto is the top catching target.

When you have a hole at catcher, and you have the deepest pockets in the game, you still have to wonder why the Mets are jumping the gun on McCann when Realmuto is out there.

There’s a number of very good reasons.

First and foremost, there’s no guarantee the Mets get Realmuto. It’s eminently possibly there is a bidding war for Realmuto and another team makes an offer the Mets don’t feel comfortable matching.

During this time, maybe another team has already swooped in to nab McCann. That leaves the Mets with a massively steep drop off to where they’re debating borderline starting options like Yadier Molina or Mike Zunino.

If you’re the Mets, you can’t put yourselves in that position. They need to do all they can to upgrade their catching position, and they can’t get flat footed where they’re stuck with Molina, Zunino, or even the return of Wilson Ramos.

It’s far better to act fast on McCann than being in a position to effectively get nothing or really overpay Realmuto.

In terms of Realmuto, there are issues. First and foremost, he had hip issues. That’s not something likely to improve now that he’s on the wrong side of 30.

Perhaps more of an obstacle than that is the price tag. There are rumors Realmuto is looking for a $200 million contract. Chances are Realmuto isn’t going to get that, but he may press for a $20+ million AAV.

Given his abilities at and behind the plate, he’s very likely well worth that. You can imagine there’s going to be at least one team willing to come close or surpass that.

Unfortunately, the Mets are not a team in position to do that. This is a team who still has a lot to do even assuming they’ve signed McCann.

The team still needs at least one other starter and another reliever. They also need a center fielder. In terms of center, George Springer appears to be the only truly viable option meaning the Mets will need to go that extra mile for him.

Cohen has deep pockets, but even he will have his limits. Keep in mind, that’s just this offseason. There’s still the matter of extensions for Michael Conforto, Marcus Stroman, and Noah Syndergaard on the horizon as well as arbitration raises for much of their roster.

In the end, it’s better for the Mets to secure McCann now to ensure they get a significant upgrade at catcher than to lose out all together. We should also consider this could very well be part of a larger plan both for this year and the ensuing years.

For some, McCann may be disappointing, and they may still believe the Mets should’ve pushed for Realmuto. To that, we just need to see what happens. The key will be what Realmuto receives in free agency, and more importantly, what the Mets do from this point forward.

Regardless of where you land on this and what happens, one thing is abundantly clear – the Mets are significantly better with McCann than they were previously.

Mets Need To Be Careful Pursuing Blake Snell Trade

With reports the Tampa Bay Rays are willing to entertain trades for Blake Snell, this would seemingly be the perfect time for the New York Mets to act. When you look at it, Snell would presumably fill a short and long term fit for the franchise.

Even with Marcus Stroman in the fold, the Mets need to find at least one more starting pitcher. Ideally, they would want two more. Snell would not only fill that need, but he could help make the Mets rotation once again the envy of all of baseball.

Snell also would fill another starting pitching need. After the 2021 season, Steven Matz, Stroman, and Noah Syndergaard will be free agents. That will leave the Mets looking to fill at least 2/5 of their 2022 starting rotation. If you have Snell in the fold that will lessen that burden. The question for the Mets is how much Snell would be worth pursuing.

When many look at Snell, they see the pitcher who won the 2018 Cy Young Award. Our lasting impression of him was his dominant performance in Game 6 of the 2020 World Series before he was inexplicably lifted early. When you look at him from that lens, Snell is an ace level pitcher. When an ace level pitcher available, you need to pursue that pitcher heavily.

However, there are real questions if that is what Snell truly is. Really, when you break it down, Snell’s 2018 Cy Young award winning season has been a complete outlier in his career.

In Snell’s first two seasons, he had a 108 ERA+, 3.87 FIP, 4.5 BB/9, and an 8.9 K/9 while averaging 5.0 innings per start. In the two seasons since winning his Cy Young, Snell had a 111 ERA+, 3.65 FIP, 3.3 BB/9, and a 12.0 K/9 while averaging 4.2 innings per start. Certainly, these past two years have been a significant improvement over what he was over his first two years, but those stats are not remotely indicative of an ace level pitcher.

Of course, this is the Rays, so the analysis is not that simple. Remember, the Rays focus on not allowing their pitchers to go through the rotation a certain amount of times, and they are very strong believers in bullpenning. As a result, it is very arguable their handling of Snell has stunted his ability to again be what he was in 2018.

Taking a deeper look, Snell does have good stuff. Looking at his Baseball Savant page, Snell has elite to near elite fastball velocity and spin, and he has terrific whiff numbers. However, that is only part of the picture. When you dig deeper, you see his spin rates on his change and curve have significantly worsened since his Cy Young season. That said, after struggling with his slider in 2019, he was able to regain his slider spin rate in 2020.

All told, it is really difficult to ascertain what Snell’s trajectory will be. You could argue this is a pitcher who needs to get away from Tampa Bay to permit him to really focus on being able to become the ace level pitcher he can be instead of a five inning starter. You could also argue the Rays know his limitations and that their handling of him allows him to put up such high strikeout numbers, and as a result, with another organization, he may truly suffer.

In some ways, when you see the Rays dangling Snell, you can’t help but be gun shy due to the Chris Archer trade. For many, Archer was a pitcher who could thrive away from Tampa Bay. He was a pitcher with a similarly team friendly contract, and as a result, the Rays were able to extract a kings ransom for him. Now, Archer had his option declined due to TOS issues, and the Pirates are routinely chided for giving up Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, and Shane Baz.

That’s not to say or suggest the Rays knowingly traded damaged goods. That is an unfair and unsubstantiated claim. Rather, this just highlights how well the Rays self scout their team, and it shows their ability to extract a significant price in return for their players. Assuredly, if the Rays do in fact trade Snell, they are likely going to try to command an Archer like return, and really, they should do that.

If you are a team like the Mets, and you want Snell, you better be right. You need the utmost confidence in Jeremy Hefner, Jeremy Accardo, and Phil Regan in their ability to not only return Snell to his 2018 form but to keep him there for the ensuing three seasons. If you are not, the Mets as an organization should not be pursuing Snell. Instead, they can look towards a very interesting starting pitching market which still has Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, Jose Quintana, and others available.

Better yet, they could be using their financial capital to give Stroman and Syndergaard extensions while keeping their player capital in place to swing deals for other areas of need. That said, adding Snell to those two starters and Jacob deGrom is awfully enticing . . . .

Enjoy Retirement Terry Collins

With his contract up and new ownership in place, Terry Collins has departed the New York Mets and has announced his retirement.

There’s a lot to say about Collins and his tenure as Mets manager. More than the wins and losses was Collins the person. He is a good and decent man who connected with everyone, and he’s going to be missed.

We’ve seen it from fans who remember him celebrating with them in Chicago. His players, like Noah Syndergaard, always spoke highly of him and continue to do so

It’s not just what we saw and heard from Collins. It is what he did when no one was looking.

Five years ago, as the Mets were going through a mercurial season which ended in heartbreak, Collins took the time to send condolences to a widow of a family he didn’t know.

For me, that’ll be the lasting memory of Collins. He was a man who took the time to do the right thing even when his job was extremely difficult and tense. He did it when no one was looking.

Overall, Collins is a good man, and you’re never better off as an organization when you lose genuinely good human beings like him.

Being the person he is, he still has a lot to offer the world. No matter what he does, here’s hoping he finds something which brings him as much joy as watching his team win a pennant. As a man, he deserves that and much more.

Jake Odorizzi Is Fine But Mets Should Do Better

In what feels like Omar Minaya taking the helm in 2014, the Mets are real players in free agency, and right now, it appears they’re going to get in touch with every available free agent. That goes double for free agent starters.

Considering the Mets still have two slots to fill in their rotation, at least until Noah Syndergaard comes back from Tommy John, that’s quite understandable. The question is how the Mets attack it.

One rumor has the Mets talking to Jake Odorizzi. In some ways, that’s a move which makes a lot of sense.

In 2019, Odorizzi worked with current Mets pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, who was then a Minnesota Twins assistant coach. That was Odorizzi’s best year as a pitcher.

In 30 starts, he was 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA, 1.208 WHIP, 3.0 BB/9, and a 10.1 K/9. He had a career best 129 ERA+ and a 3.36 FIP. To date, it was his only All-Star appearance.

The hope with Odorizzi is this is the level of pitcher he can be working with Hefner again. There’s the added benefit of having a pitcher on the team who can help translate what Hefner is trying to accomplish to the rest of the pitching staff.

While all positives, there are some underlying problems with Odorizzi.

While he was an All-Star in 2019, he only averaged 5.1 innings per start. Still, if you’re the Mets or any team you take 5.1 quality innings every time. Of course, this would put increased emphasis on not just improving the bullpen, but also adding more multiple inning relievers.

The bigger issue for Odorizzi is he may not be the pitcher in 2019. In fact, that could have been nothing more than a career year. Another factor is Odorizzi attributes much of that success not to Hefner, but as Dan Laurila of Fangraphs wrote, to an offseason training regiment at the Florida Baseball Ranch.

Last year, in what was a bizarre year for everyone, Odorizzi really struggled. In his four starts, he was 0-1 with a 6.59 ERA. Certainly, back issues, blisters, and getting hit with an Alex Gordon liner didn’t help. To that end, for evaluation purposes, this season should be noted but largely disregarded.

On that note, we should consider what he was prior to 2019. Through six full MLB seasons, he was 47-47 with a 3.95 ERA, 1.240 ERA, 3.1 BB/9, and an 8.4 K/9. Looking towards his 102 ERA+ and 4.21 FIP, he was little more than a league average back of the rotation starter.

There’s value in that, but there are far better options in this suppressed free agent market. Certainly, the Mets would be better off with a Trevor Bauer or Charlie Morton.

If the Mets want to gamble on potential upside, Yankees starters Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton are free agents. Tanaka has shown postseason mettle, and when healthy, Paxton has been good with a career 114 ERA+.

All that said, Odorizzi has real value and could help this team. Certainly, there are a number of factors at play like how and where the Mets choose to allocate their budget.

Odorizzi can help, but ultimately, as the Mets enter this new era, you can’t help for a better starter than Odorizzi in this rotation. That said, given the people in charge, if they go and grab Odorizzi, we can probably trust this was the right decision and part of a larger plan.