New York Mets: First move to make once the lockout ends

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The Mets were one of the busiest teams in baseball before the lockout.

That won’t stop them from continuing their high level of activity once the lockout is lifted, though.

New York has some holes to fill on their roster even after adding Max Scherzer, Starling Marte, Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar. They’ve been tied to both pitchers and hitters, and they’re willing to explore the trade market as well as free agency to land upgrades.

The Mets’ lineup looks pretty solid on paper, with Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano, Marte, Escobar, Canha, and James McCann behind the plate. The team also has Jeff McNeil, Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis on the bench, all of whom are capable hitters. Therefore, New York should turn their attention to pitching, especially starting pitching, for their first post-lockout splash.

Starting pitching (or lack thereof) is what did the team in last season, especially after losing ace Jacob deGrom to injury. The shortage of starter depth behind deGrom was alarming, and one would hope the Mets learned their lesson from a year ago as the Braves and Phillies passed them in the standings by August. Atlanta went on to win the World Series.

Scherzer was a good first step towards addressing that deficiency, but more work needs to be done. The Mets’ current projected rotation for 2022 has deGrom, Scherzer, Taijuan Walker, Carlos Carrasco and Tylor Megill. That’s a completely right-handed rotation, which isn’t ideal.

That’s why New York should trade for the Oakland Athletics’ Sean Manaea after the lockout.

Mets should explore a Sean Manaea trade after the lockout

Manaea, 30, is a soft-tossing, ground-ball lefty who puts up consistently good numbers every season. In 2021, he had a 3.91 ERA and 194 strikeouts in 179.1 innings pitched and 32 starts. That’s the kind of durability and production the Mets could use in their rotation, particularly from the left side.

Oakland is reportedly looking to sell off some of their best assets, including Matt Olson and Matt Chapman, so it stands to reason that Manaea would be available in a trade. He probably wouldn’t cost as much as a Luis Castillo, whom the Mets have been tied to, while still giving the team a major upgrade to slot in behind deGrom and Scherzer.

Sean Manaea to the Mets feels like a no-brainer first move post-lockout.

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