Amid a series of questions about the 2021 Mets rotation, the team plans to put right-handed Marcus Stroman on a qualifying offer before the Sunday deadline, a source said on Saturday.
Right-handed Brad Brach was exercising his player option for the next season, according to a source. He is due a salary of $ 2.075 million.
Both developments were expected and are the type of off-season housekeeping that all clubs deal with this time of year. The only similar decision the Mets will have to wait for is whether Dellin Betances will take their player option ($ 6 million salary) or a buyout ($ 3 million).
The qualifying offer is a one-year contract for $ 18.9 million. Stroman and other players who have been extended a qualification offer have 10 days to make a decision.
Marcus Stroman # 0 of the New York Mets stands on the field during summer camp at Citi Field in the New York borough of Queens on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. Photo credit: Jim McIsaac
If he accepts, he will return to the Mets at that price for 2021 and fill one of the several holes they have in their rotation.
If he refuses, he will remain a free agent and the Mets will receive bonus choices in the 2021 draft if he signs with another team.
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The fact that Stroman receives a qualifying offer answers the first of a series of questions relating to the rotation that are being raised by new owner Steve Cohen, new team president Sandy Alderson and the front office.
Currently, the Mets have only one pair of starting pitchers to rely on at the start of next season: ace Jacob deGrom and left-handed David Peterson, who had an ERA of 3.44 in 10 games in 2020 as a rookie.
Noah Syndergaard, who was operated on by Tommy John in March, is unlikely to be ready for opening day. Steven Matz experienced a year of disaster, earning an ERA of 9.68 in nine games (six starts). Seth Lugo’s role is uncertain after his de facto audition with seven starts. Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha are like Stroman free agents.
Marcus Stroman # 0 of the New York Mets pitches during an intrasquad game at Citi Field in the borough of Queens in New York City on Friday, July 17, 2020. Photo credit: Jim McIsaac
Hence, the mets may need to add three starters to fill the rotation.
At the top of the market is right-handed Trevor Bauer, who led the National League with 1.73 ERA and is likely the NL Cy Young Award winner.
In addition to Stroman, among others: Charlie Morton, who grew up in southwest Connecticut and has Long Island roots on his father’s side; the Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton of the Yankees; Injury-prone Rich Hill, who turns 41 but has an ERA of 2.92 for the past six seasons, and Taijuan Walker, a former top prospect, who is only 28 years old and did it last season Mariners and Blue Jays seemed to be figuring out.
Stroman, a former Patchogue-Medford star, joined the Mets with the Blue Jays in July 2019, with Anthony Kay (a Ward Melville alumnus) and Simeon Woods Richardson going the other way.
He has had an ERA of 3.77 on eleven starts this season, which was his career average. But he has not served since then.
After missing the start of the shortened 2020 season due to a left calf injury, Stroman spent the first two weeks in rehab. On August 10, shortly after earning enough service time to become a free agent this off-season, he announced to the Mets that he would be canceling the 2020 season, citing concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.
In six major league seasons, the 29-year-old Stroman has an ERA of 3.76 and a whip of 1.29. He has hit the 200-inning mark twice (204 in 2016 and 201 in 2017) and was an All-Star in 2019.
Stroman recently wrote on Twitter that he is “taking my mind and body to new heights” with a new Pilates routine, and he often expresses great expectations of himself.
When he signed an Instagram video of a catch session on Saturday, “Look at these next 5-7 years.”