Mets considering entering 2020 season with unconventional fifth-starter plan, report says

Major League Baseball’s regular season will kick off in a month’s time. When it does, the New York Mets might have a nontraditional rotation in place. That’s because the Mets are debating entering the season without a fifth starter, and instead letting the opponent dictate their pitching plans for that turn in the rotation, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Barring an injury, the Mets will enter the season with Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, and Rick Porcello entrenched as their first four starters. From there, the Mets could deploy either Steven Matz or Michael Wacha, depending on if they’re going against a team that’s better versus righties or lefties. The team, now under the watch of first-year manager Luis Rojas, could also turn to an opener, with Matz or Wacha later checking in as the game’s “bulk” pitcher.

As Sherman noted, the Mets structured Wacha’s contract with this possibility in mind. He can earn incentives by hitting various relief appearance thresholds, and by accumulating “points” given for each relief outing in which he threw at least three innings. The Los Angeles Dodgers have since signed Alex Wood to a similar contract, suggesting this could be a new fad.

Of course, there’s no guarantee this plan is enacted. The Mets seem as prone to misfortune as any team in the league, and it’s possible that someone will go down with an injury before the season starts. It’s also possible the Mets conclude all the planning and micromanaging required to make a concept like this a reality is be not worth the advantage they would gain. The Tampa Bay Rays, the opener’s progenitors, moved away from it last season.

Whatever the Mets do (or don’t do), give them some credit for thinking outside the box. 

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