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 https://www.tigersedges.com/detroit-tigers/nick-castellanos-jersey 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 https://www.tigersedges.com/detroit-tigers/denny-mclain-jersey 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.
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