Brown: Mets Need To Aim High, Sign Keuchel Or Kimbrel

Team In Desperate Need Of Pitching Help

Jake Brown
May 07, 2019 - 11:26 am
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Let me preface all of what I’m about to say with the fact that the Mets are only 35 games into a 162-game season. While they are losers of four straight and now at 16-19, there are still 127 games to go. There’s so much baseball left in the season that writing a team off right now is ignorant and beyond foolish. To say the Mets’ season is over is an idiotic overreaction.

That being said ... this team needs help.

After getting swept by the Brewers in Milwaukee over the weekend, the Mets lost their fourth straight game Monday, falling 4-0 to the Padres in San Diego. Their offense is definitely a point of concern, scoring just seven runs in their last six games. They are fairly healthy offensively, though, and should be getting infielder Jed Lowrie on the field finally in the coming week or so. The bats will probably come around at some point.

The Mets are slowly starting to get banged up and quickly realizing they don’t have the pitching depth right now to be considered a favorite to win the National League East. Trading for reliever Wilmer Font on Monday is obviously not the answer. Could it help the bullpen? Maybe, but his 5.79 ERA so far this season in Tampa and 6.51 career ERA isn’t oozing any kind of excitement into the team or the fan base.

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Jacob deGrom is coming back around but has not been the Cy Young-winning pitcher that we saw last year. While Noah Syndergaard was sensational against the Reds in his last start, he’s been wildly inconsistent so far this year. Steven Matz has been up and down and is now dealing with nerve irritation in his left forearm. While the Mets don’t consider it serious, it’s alarming considering he’s been prone to injuries his whole career so far. Zack Wheeler has been up and down through the first five weeks. Jason Vargas has been terrible, and now he’s on the injured list with a hamstring injury.

What about the Mets starting rotation would make anyone confident that this will be a playoff team? You’re trotting Vargas out there every five days to either get lit up or go no more than five innings. Either way, it taxes your bullpen and puts pressure on the offense to put up 10 runs. Now Matz will miss a start and there's a chance he'll miss more time. How many more times are you going to throw Corey Oswalt or Chris Flexen out there for a spot start? They both are disasters. You’re asking for an automatic loss when you throw these minor leaguers out there for starts or in long relief. They can’t be trusted for more than mop-up work. The only option that has any sort of logic is giving Seth Lugo starts, but then you’re losing your best middle reliever and long man out of the bullpen. You’re filling a hole temporarily while creating a hole. That option has pretty much been thrown out the window, as the Mets haven’t even tried it yet.

If general manager Brodie Van Wagenen is truly in win-now mode, he's going to have to act like it at some point. It’s going to take more than trading cash considerations for a relief pitcher nobody has heard of. It’s going to take actual cash. It’s going to take money to throw at a free-agent Cy Young winner. It’s going to take big bucks to throw at a dominant free-agent relief pitcher.

I'm, of course, talking about Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel.

Dallas Keuchel
Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Images

Both guys are still out there waiting for a team to sign them. It’s unrealistic to expect the Mets to sign both of them, but it would be a disservice to not sign one of them. Those two names are difference-makers. Those names shake things up in the standings. Finding spot starts for scrubs and hoping you get lightning in a bottle will result in the same old Mets.

Signing Keuchel ensures that you won’t see Vargas out there every five days. Instead, he becomes a fill-in starter if someone gets hurt and a long man if you need him. What allegiance should the Mets have to Vargas, who they are paying $8.5 million this season? They aren’t committed to him long-term. Speaking of long-term, Wheeler is going to be a free agent after this season. After signing deGrom and still potentially needing to lock in Syndergaard at some point, it’s far from a given that the Mets give Wheeler a long-term deal. Adding Keuchel would be a wise move for this year and beyond for their rotation.

Craig Kimbrel
Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Images

Adding Kimbrel gives you a back end of Kimbrel, Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz. With Familia’s struggles this season and him now being on the IL, that bullpen is not the strong point the Mets thought it would be. With starters struggling to get deep into games, Kimbrel gives them a dominant chip to pair with Diaz and makes you less concerned with having to use the likes of Tim Peterson, Daniel Zamora, Tyler Bashlor, Drew Gagnon and Oswalt. The Mets shouldn’t have to use any of those guys in any close games. Most of them shouldn’t even be on the big-league roster.

This team needs help, and they can’t keep waiting around. Manager Mickey Callaway hasn’t exactly helped himself with his puzzling managerial moves, but he hasn’t had the best hand dealt to him. It’s going to take a Keuchel or a Kimbrel or a trade for Mike Minor to turn things around. Van Wagenen already missed out on a simple move in signing Gio Gonzalez, who would have been a perfect low-risk, high-reward pick-up for a few million bucks. It’s going to cost a lot more to get Keuchel or Kimbrel, but it’s also would benefit this team in the long run.

If you want to win now, then go get an arm -- and not one from the minors or from the scrap heap. There’s too much talent for the season to be wasted because of a missed opportunity to get better.

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