Are Mets breaking promise to Michael Wacha about starting in 2020?
The New York Mets have six starting pitchers for five spots in their rotation, which is not abnormal for many teams in spring training. What is abnormal is telling all six of those pitchers that they intend to be used as starters before considering some unusual options for the fifth rotation spot.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Mets are considering some unconventional options for their fifth starter spot. Among them is using both Steven Matz and Michael Wacha in the role depending on whether a lefty or righty would match up best against that day’s lineup. The Mets are also considering using an opener and then using Matz or Wacha for bulk innings afterwards.
This may come as news to Wacha, who believed he was in a battle with Matz for the traditional fifth starter’s job.
“They told me I’m a starter, so that’s what I’m here for,” Wacha said, via Scott Thompson of SNY.
There may have been reason for Wacha to be suspicious when signing his contract. According to Sherman, Wacha’s deal with the Mets includes various bonuses based on relief appearances. Wacha signed with the Mets believing he’d get the chance to start, and if he didn’t know about those clauses, it’s probably on his agent.
The Mets have something of a reputation of being an organization that can be unfriendly to its players. If the Mets aren’t being honest with Wacha and Matz about what they’re considering doing rotation-wise, it will only add to that narrative.