Yesterday, we started running down the list of free agent starting pitchers who might be able to help the Mets, a need that new general manager Billy Eppler acknowledged in his introductory press conference later in the day. So let’s continue working our way down the list with the next four top pitchers by 2021 fWAR.
Clayton Kershaw (3.4 fWAR): While it would be shocking to Clayton Kershaw pitch even an inning for a major league team other than the Dodgers, the 33-year-old is a free agent right now. And while injuries and performance have combined to keep him from matching the best work of his career, he has been effective in recent seasons, putting up a 3.55 ERA in 2021 and a cumulative 3.06 ERA since the beginning of the 2019 season. Again, it’s hard to imagine the Mets or any other team could persuade him to by anything other than a Dodger, but at least for now, that is technically a possibility.
Marcus Stroman (3.4 fWAR): Coming into the 2021 season, Stroman had his doubters, but he proved them wrong by pitching incredibly well. Strikeouts have never been the focal point of Stroman’s game on the mound, but even with just under eight strikeouts per nine innings this year, he finished with a 3.02 ERA in 179.0 innings of work for the Mets. Having accepted a qualifying offer from the team coming off the 60-game pandemic season, from which he opted out, Stroman was the team’s clear number two starter when Jacob deGrom was healthy and was easily their best starter when deGrom was on the injured list. The 30-year-old Long Island native figures to get a sizable contract, but the Mets should be able to afford such things with Steve Cohen providing the funds.
Anthony DeSclafani (3.0 fWAR): If you’ve played fantasy baseball at any point over the past several years, there’s a chance that you’ve rostered DeSclafani at some point. With a few very good stretches to his name, the 31-year-old righty never really had everything click for him over the course of five full seasons with the Reds. In 2016, for example, he had a 3.28 ERA but only threw 123.1 innings. But like many of his peers on the 2021 Giants, DeSclafani had a career-best 3.17 ERA and threw 167.2 innings.
Steven Matz (2.8 fWAR): The Mets were linked to Matz just a couple of days ago, and the longtime member of their organization pitched pretty well for the Blue Jays in 2021 following the Mets’ trade that sent him there back in late January. Having struggled mightily in just 30.2 innings in 2020, Matz basically bounced back to the pitcher that he was in 2018 and 2019, finishing this season with a 3.82 ERA in 150.2 innings of work.