The New York Mets placed struggling pitcher Carlos Carrasco on waivers on Tuesday. A free agent at the end of the year, Carrasco had no future with the team. By moving on now, New York can give his September starts to a younger pitcher with more upside. The Mets can replace Carrasco with many young arms with the potential to impact the 2024 team. The final few weeks of 2023 mark a perfect opportunity to evaluate and audition younger components with higher upside than Carrasco.
Players Already On The 40-Man Roster
Denyi Reyes: The Mets signed Reyes to a minor league deal this offseason. He performed well in Spring Training and could become a quality depth piece this year. However, the 26-year-old struggled in seven games with the Mets and has spent most of the season in Syracuse.
New York should give Reyes only a few innings in September with younger, higher-upside options available. However, this organization gives opportunities to Danny Mendick, Jonathan Araúz, and Abraham Almonte instead of Carlos Cortes, Luke Ritter, and Ronny Mauricio.
The #Mets are giving Kodai Senga extra and pushing his start back.
Denyi Reyes will start tomorrow, per Buck Showalter. pic.twitter.com/EH3OL4HRs6
— Metsmerized Online (@Metsmerized) August 30, 2023
So, almost predictably, the Mets will call Reyes to start Wednesday night’s series finale against the Texas Rangers. This start is meant to give Kodai Senga extra rest and isn’t impacted by Carrasco’s departure. However, with Carrasco gone, the Mets could easily keep Reyes in the rotation to finish the year.
Reyes is an optional arm already on the 40-man roster. Putting him on the active roster is easy, and the Mets have shown a desire to give journeymen with no future opportunities over talented young prospects.
It’s also possible he starts Wednesday, then gets demoted and replaced with an extra bullpen arm. The Mets will only need a fifth starter in the second whole week of September, and this is when they can give a higher upside arm an audition to finish the season.
Joey Lucchesi: The Mets could have called up Lucchesi to start Wednesday’s game. He is scheduled to start Wednesday for Triple-A, so calling him up wouldn’t have disrupted his schedule. Instead, he will continue to wait for his opportunity.
The 30-year-old has the most major league experience (and possibly upside) among the options in the organization. In 365.2 career innings, the lefty has a 4.18 ERA with 371 punch-outs. His career ERA+ of 97 indicates he’s been a slightly below-league-average pitcher.
He has spent 2023, his first year back from Tommy John surgery, splitting time between Triple-A and the majors. In limited action, Lucchesi performed well with the Mets. In six starts, he tossed 28 innings with a 3.54 ERA in 28 innings. He has looked good at times, including being the first Met in the team’s 21 games to toss seven innings.
José Butto: Butto signed with the Mets as an international free agent in June 2017 and made his major league debut last season in Philadelphia. A soft tosser with limited upside, Butto relies on his great changeup to fool hitters. He has a career 3.86 ERA in 541.1 minor league innings with 8.9 strikeouts per nine.
Butto looked good. He walked someone but he seemed to have good stuff. I know it seems like a 2nd guess but I thought he should have given Butto a chance to get out of it. And I didn't feel good about putting Hartwig in with the bases loaded. I know the bullpen is depleted
— Lori Rubinson (@LRubinson) August 16, 2023
Butto has yet to prove in the minors but has only appeared in four major league games this season. Some in the organization think his overall stuff, specifically the fastball, will play up in the bullpen. The Mets could give him Carrasco’s spot in the rotation to evaluate if his future should be in the process or bullpen. An analysis could also determine that the team shouldn’t spend a roster spot on him at all.
September represents a chance for the Mets to audition Butto and get clarity on his future.
Mike Vasil: If fans get their way, New York will call up Mike Vasil. Among the top pitching prospects in the system, Vasil is closest to the majors. However, the 2021 eighth-round pick can be added to the 40-man next offseason. Additionally, many scouts feel he was rushed to Triple-A (hence his 4.63 ERA in 12 starts).
Do you agree with me? The Mets should DFA Carlos Carrasco
Bring up Mike Vasil
August MILB Stats:
29 IP | 2.79 ERA | 26 K | WHIP 1.03
— MetCast (@MetCastPod) August 28, 2023
Even though the 23-year-old has pitched great recently, there’s no reason to rush his development or start his service time. He will likely be a long shot to make the 2024 Opening Day roster but will surely make his debut sometime next year.
Justin Jarvis: Jarvis came over in the July trade that sent Mark Canha to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Mets have to put him on the 40-man roster this offseason to protect him in December’s Rule-5 Draft. They could choose to do that now instead of in November to get a look at the youngster.
Jarvis’ struggles with the Mets make a potential call-up extremely unlikely. He has thrown 14.1 innings with a 5.65 ERA in four starts. Although it’s intriguing to see how his 10 K/9 would translate to the majors, his overall numbers and high 5 BB/9 seriously dampen the intrigue.
“We haven’t really developed that many pitchers, which is actually pretty shocking,” Steve Cohen said earlier this season. With @WillSammon, how the Mets are trying to change that, finally opening a pitching lab that was three years in the making: https://t.co/h4s7LTcw4M
— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) August 22, 2023
The Mets likely will examine Jarvis this offseason in their new pitching lab and hope adjustments make him a legitimate option in 2024.
Options Not Currently in the Organization
Lucas Giolito: The chances of the Mets claiming Giolito off waivers are slim to none. There’s no need for a team with no postseason opportunities to take on the remaining salary on his expiring contract.
However, it’s an exciting concept to think about. New York will likely add at least two established starters this offseason and focus on youth. Giolito will be only 29 on Opening Day and might have the most upside among available starters.
However, Giolito has a 5.47 ERA in his last 12 starts. Though it once looked like he’d be a top earner this winter, his recent struggles could depress his market. It might make sense for Giolito to sign with a team like the Mets on a one-year deal to recoup his value.
Under this logic, the Mets could claim Giolito and begin building a relationship with him. It will be necessary for the Mets to prove they have what it takes to fix a struggling pitcher and turn his career around. New York needs a track record or reputation as a team like the Dodgers or Rays. So, working with Giolito in September (ideally turning that into signing him this winter) will help establish the Mets’ ability to develop arms.
Main Photo Credits: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports