As the Mets explore possibilities to manage workloads for starting pitchers this season, a six-man rotation could be in play.
In discussing his rotation Friday, manager Luis Rojas said team officials may contemplate in spring training whether a “five or a six” is needed. But he said those discussions have not occurred yet.
The Mets have the option for six after reaching agreement with free agent Taijuan Walker, who slots behind Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco and Marcus Stroman. The possibilities behind that group include David Peterson, Joey Lucchesi and Jordan Yamamoto. By June, the Mets hope Noah Syndergaard (who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery) will join the mix.
After last year’s pandemic-shortened season, teams will be vigilant of ensuring starting pitchers — who didn’t build up workloads as normal — aren’t overextended.“My whole life I have seen myself as a starter, and that is what I truly believe,” Lucchesi said. “I have tunnel vision, and I am ready to help the Mets compete and win us ballgames, so that is all I am focused on.”
The left-hander Lucchesi, who arrived from San Diego in a three-way trade that included Pittsburgh, has worked as both a starter and reliever during his major league career.
Dellin Betances has been playing catch, according to Rojas, but is among the pitchers who hasn’t yet thrown a side session (some players were delayed getting cleared for workouts due to intake testing).
The veteran reliever missed much of the final month last season with a lat strain, but returned for the season-concluding series in Washington.
“He [has] looked great and he worked in two different places in the offseason,” Rojas said. “He is here and showing in great shape. He is feeling good. He is ready to go.”
Sam McWilliams will stretch out as a starter in camp, just to ensure he’s built up if needed for that role, according to Rojas. The right-hander is viewed as a “multi-inning” pitcher.
Lucchesi provided clarification on the pronunciation of his name.
“Lu-CASEY,” he said. “Usually people mess it up, but it’s OK because I am used to that. I have heard “Lu-CHEESEY, Lu-CHESSY … but I am so used to that, so it’s all good.”