Canó’s big day at the plate, Scherzer's status still in doubt, and examining who else could pitch on Opening Day
Robinson Canó had three line drive hits in a 4-for-4 showing at the plate on Sunday. Plus, who will start on Opening Day if Scherzer isn't ready?
What’s Up with the Mets? 🌴
Robinson Canó slugged four hits and Starling Marte doubled, stole a base and drove in two runs in the Mets 8-4 win in their final spring home game on Sunday
The Mets acquired LHP Joely Rodríguez from the Yankees in exchange for RHP Miguel Castro (Story)
Max Scherzer’s Opening Day availability depends on how well his bullpen session goes later this week (NY Post)
Jacob deGrom is disappointed in his diagnosis but it hasn’t changed his plans on opting out at the end of the season (Newsday)
Tylor Megill is one of the options the Mets have to replace deGrom in the rotation (NY Post)
Despite the need for pitching, Steve Cohen could not justify the expense of the Eric Hosmer/Chris Paddack trade (NY Post)
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets at Astros
Where: The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches — West Palm Beach, FL
Starters: Carlos Carrasco vs. Jose Urquidy
When: 12:05 PM EDT
Where to Watch: MLB.tv
All hands and arms on deck as the Mets review their pitching options for opening day 📝
Once the lockout ended, all eyes turned to the dynamic duo of Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer atop of the Mets pitching staff. With five Cy Young Awards between the pair, it was natural that a palpable buzz surrounded the two aces. That buzz got even louder when the twin aces pitched back-to-back against the Cardinals and matched every bit of the excitement from the offseason.
And then it all came crashing down.
deGrom will be shut down for up to four weeks with a stress reaction in his scapula, and what seemed like a minor hamstring injury for Scherzer now puts his Opening Day status in doubt. The best laid plans unfortunately veered off into familiar territory for the Mets where injuries delay the hope from the offseason.
Hopefully in this case, unlike in past seasons, it is hope delayed not hope denied. Scherzer’s hamstring injury appears - for the moment at least - to be minor and still has a chance to start Opening Day. Even if he is unable to take the ball on day one, he should be on track to pitch in the season’s first week, and the Mets actually have depth behind him to withstand any time missed.
The most likely candidate to get the ball on Opening Day is Tylor Megill, who has had a strong showing so far this spring. Unfortunately with the delayed start to spring training, Megill has yet to be stretched out - he has thrown just 6 2/3 innings over two appearances in camp with no time left to get any additional competitive work in.
So what else can the Mets do?
Buck Showalter mentioned a bullpen game is on the table for Opening Day, a less than ideal way to start the season (hard to believe, considering where the team stood just a week ago). With the Mets playing a full week of games before their first off-day to start the year, such a scenario right out of the gate would put a lot of strain on the bullpen especially since the rest of the starters aren’t expected to go deep into games through the first turn or two through the rotation.
Instead, their best option might be to piggy back Megill and either David Peterson or Trevor Williams to save the big arms in the bullpen. It’s worth mentioning the Mets did stretch Williams out to three innings and 60-plus pitches on Sunday against the Marlins, setting him up to possibly pitch 3-4 innings on Thursday against the Nationals. But like Megill, Peterson has thrown just 6 2/3 innings over two appearances so far this spring, allowing three home runs in the process. So he would seem a less likely option due to a lack of innings and effectiveness in camp.
None of this is what anyone in the organization envisioned at all after the off-season, or after last Sunday for that matter. But the team has the depth to survive this pitching crisis over the short-term until their aces return and bring the dormant buzz back to the mound with them.
Around the League 🚩
The Padres acquired LHP Sean Manaea and RHP Aaron Holiday from the Athletics in exchange for 2B Euribiel Angeles and RHP Adrian Martinez
Carlos Beltrán addressed the Astros cheating scandal for the first time since news broke about his role in it (The Athletic)
White Sox starter Lance Lynn will miss about four weeks after undergoing knee surgery (MLB.com)
The White Sox and Blue Jays traded their backup catchers to each other (ESPN)
The Orioles traded two relievers to the Marlins in exchange for prospects and a player to be named later (MLB.com)
Baltimore came to a contract agreement with Trey Mancini that includes an option for the 2023 season (MLB.com)
The Cardinals and Harrison Bader agreed to a two-year deal to cover the last two years of arbitration (Rosenthal)