The New York Mets’ next target this offseason could be a second-tier starting pitcher. Rumors have continued to swirl about an acquisition of another infielder but this continues to seem less and less likely as the offseason continues to drain on. Many prominent infielders still remain in the market, however, Sandy Alderson recently downplayed the idea of the signing of Mike Moustakas, stating that the front office was unwilling to endanger the future of their team due to their already “less than robust” farm system.

2017 was a rough year for the Mets’ young pitching staff. Constant injuries and struggles kept Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler all under 20 starts, seeing the last four post ERA’s all above five.

The 2018 team needs an anchor for their rotation, Alderson needs to turn the clock back to 2014 and make a Bartolo Colon-esc signing. The team should be able to rely on Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom to lead the charge, but finding a reliable number three should be their next goal. The club should set their eyes to finding an innings eater, someone guaranteed to start 3o games and throw 180-200 innings. As seen from the last few years, Harvey, Matz, and Wheeler have shown that they are prone to the injury bug. Having three reliable starters will allow the Mets to plug in a mix of those three with Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman, helping to regain the depth that helped the team to the Wild Card Game in 2016.

Reports have indicated that the team has $10-15 million left to spend, more than enough money to acquire a pitcher like Jason Vargas, Alex Cobb, or Lance Lynn. All these pitchers should come at a discounted rate due to the slow moving nature of this offseason.

Jason Vargas is the arm that stands out the most to me. The former Met won 18 games last season, earning the 35-year-old a trip to the All-Star Game. He has worked his last three seasons in Kansas City with new Mets pitching coach Dave Eiland, which should help management gauge on Vargas’ ability to make 30 starts. He also should be a cheaper alternative to Cobb or Lynn, likely only to command a one to two-year deal worth $8-10 million each season.  Matches are never perfect, like with all signings, there are red flags. Vargas struggled through the second half of last season, posting ERA’s above four during each month from July until the end of the season.

Most of the highest valued starting pitchers remain on the market. The market should start moving once the biggest name, Yu Darvish, finds a new home. His signing will set the market in motion as well as the earning potential of his position sharing starters.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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