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MLB 2018: Mets must add to habitually unhealthy rotation to reach contender status

The Mets have a chance to contend in 2018. They really do.It may not seem like it after a 92-lo s season that was preceded by similar sentiments, but if all goes well this team can at least make a run at a wild card.Of course, the Mets have a history of things not going well, especially on the injury front. It’s why 2017 went from hopeful to tragic in the blink of an eye. It’s why sticking with the rotation they have now, one filled with talented but often-hurt pitchers, would be a disappointing waste to what has otherwise been a quietly succe sful offseason.MORE: Why the MLB offseason still has a ways to goIt’s technically no longer the offseason, with players reporting to camp in best shape of their lives, but there are still a few high-quality starters on the market. Let’s not pretend Jake Arrieta is someone the bargain-loving Wilpons are going to splurge on after the starter reportedly turned down a Yu Darvish-type deal from the Cubs. But what about Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb, two cheaper alternatives who arguably had better seasons than Arrieta?The Mets must be all in on them, no?Eh, not exactly. Instead, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that New York is looking at some le ser talents, such as Andrew Cashner, Jason Vargas, Jaime Garcia, Jeremy Hellickson and John Lackey. Sure, they bring depth, but not the talent a team on the bubble of contention needs. Of course, those pitchers were cheap before spring training started at this point it can only be a sumed the Mets are salivating at the thought of such savings.Lynn and Cobb would cost more. But they would also make an impact even if the Mets’ incumbents stayed healthy.That’s as big an if as there is in baseball.Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard should be considered the only sure things in New York’s rotation. deGrom, to the Mets’ delight, threw a career-high in innings last season, but he had elbow surgery in 2016. Syndergaard, meanwhile, mi sed the majority of last season with a lat injury.Then there’s Matt Harvey, who hasn’t thrown a complete season since 2015. He also had a 6.70 ERA last year. He’s penciled in as the Mets’ No. 3 starter. Again, this team is striving for contention.After him, there’s Steven Matz, whose career-high in innings pitched is 140.2 if you count the minor leagues. Zack Wheeler, after mi sing all of 2015 and 2016 thanks to Tommy John surgery, had a 5.21 ERA over 17 starts in his return last season.FOSTER: 18 things I really want to see during the 2018 seasonSeth Lugo, Robert Gsellman and Rafael Montero fill out the bottom of the depth chart. Not one of them has had succe s as a starter, and Lugo dealt with his own Victor Martinez Jersey health problems last season.These are the pitchers with whom the Mets open spring training.It’s tough to say the team is being cheap after signing Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier, albeit at discounted rates, but if the team doesn’t add Lynn or Cobb, there’s no other way around it. Lynn, an innings eater, makes more sense, as Cobb has his own history of injuries. Either one would be a much-needed upgrade, though. Remember, even when healthy, Harvey, Matz and Wheeler are rollercoasters.Maybe that’s because of all the surgeries and DL stints, but the fact of the matter is this Mets rotation no longer has the sparkling reputation it once did. To take this collection of starters into the season would indicate previous moves were more about shutting up disgruntled fans than they were about winning. There’s talent throughout the Mets roster, but there are also more risks than guarantees in the rotation.Doing something about that should be common sense for a major-market team this close to contention.

MLB trade rumors: Twins interested in Reds closer Raisel Iglesias

Reds closer Raisel Iglesias converted into a full-time reliever last season, catching the eye of at least one reigning postseason team trying to improve its bullpen.According to Fox Sports, the Twins liked what they saw from Iglesias last season, and have inquired the Reds regarding his availability.Iglesias, 27, recorded 28 saves with 92 strikeouts and a 2.49 ERA in just 76 innings last season.Minnesota traded closer Frank White Jersey Brandon Kintzler to the Nationals before the July 31 trade deadline, thinking it was out of the postseason chase. But the Twins ultimately earned the final American League wild-card spot after a red-hot August.Kintzler is a free agent this offseason, but at 33-years-old, the Melky Cabrera Jersey Twins may opt to target a more long-term solution.Iglesias can touchthe high 90s with his fastball. He also proved last season that he could excel in high-pre sure situations late in games. The Reds were not postseason contenders, but Iglesias performed like an All-Star when his name was called.Also financially feasible, Iglesias is under team control for three more years at just $14.5 million. He originally signed a seven-year, $27 million deal before the 2014 season.The Twins are among the most intriguing teams next season dueto their young lineup’s mix of speed and power. Both the rotation and bullpen are major concerns for the Twins, and Iglesias could be a major boost Salvador Perez Jersey for them heading into the 2018 season.

MLB free agents: Yu Darvish adds mystery team to suitor group; some candidates

The competition for free-agent pitcher Yu Darvish was reportedly down to four, maybe five, teams Wednesday. Then Darvish made it five, maybe six, with one tweet.Darvish put a mystery team into the mix after the Fort Worth-Star Telegram reported the Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Astros and Twins are the clubs Darvish is considering. (The Astros are in the “maybe” column, as the Star-Telegram noted, because of their rumored near-trade for Pirates ace Gerrit Cole.)MORE: Gerrit Cole was ‘traded,’then he wasn’tI know one more team is in. (Yu Darvish) (@faridyu) January 11, 2018So which team is lurking? Yuis keeping that a secret. That means it’s time to gue s (in an educated manner, of course).Dodgers:Darvish pitched well for LA (World Series aside) after it acquired him last summer. The Dodgers would be the logical choice most winters, but they’re fighting to stay under the luxury tax threshold this offseason and the average annual value of a Darvish deal would put them over.Phillies: The Fightin’ Philsreportedly have been in pursuit of a big-name starter as they try to get better quickly. Darvish (career 3.42 ERA, 11.0 K/9) will make them better.Brewers: Like Philly, Milwaukee wants to upgrade its rotation, and it has been in the Darvish rumor mill before, but general manager David Stearns is trying to temper expectations.We’re always looking to get better. We remain interested if the right opportunities are presented to us,” he said last week, per the Journal Sentinel.MORE: Ranking the top 101 FAs this offseasonNationals: Washington wants to add to a strong starting group, but Darvish isn’t represented by Scott Boras. That’s a problem.Cardinals: St. Louis needs an arm, but it also needs a bat or two, too. It seemsmore likely the Redbirds will tap their farm system for pitchers rather than spend big for one.Mariners: Seattle regularly is lumped into speculation about Japanese pitchers (see: Ohtani, Shohei most recently). This piece will do the same.So now we wait to see whether Deal Team 6 is uncovered, or Darvish just wanted to add Twitter followers.

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