As the old saying in baseball goes, there is no better time to fill out your starting rotation than after pitchers and catchers start to report! I was never worried about when or with who (whom?) the Mets were going to deem as the fifth starter since we actually have people with human brains running the franchise. But I was annoyed having to hear all the debates about Trevor Bauer's online presence and enormous demands, Jake Odorizzi's advance numbers, or Taijuan Walker's injury history as Opening Day inched closer without a clear cut fifth starter.
Now the Mets have signed Walker to a 2 year deal and I'm happy about it. You can point to Walker's 2.70 ERA in 11 starts during last year's weird ass coronaseason or that he put up a 3.49 ERA in his one full NL season before having Tommy John surgery in 2018. All those are fine ways to measure a talented 28-year-old pitcher who just came back from a significant injury I suppose. But I look for smaller things when it comes to my 5th starter and there is simply no denying that Taijuan Walker is an ELITE baseball name. Hell, it's an elite name in general, but especially in baseball where names go a long way. I also love that he has worn numbers 99, 0 AND 00 over the last two years, which is the kind of quirkiness you like to see every five days before the rotation rolls back around to number 48 takes the bump to silence bats and crush souls.
All that is good enough but can you imagine a pitcher with TRIPLE digits on his back throwing darts?
The mere thought of that may kill half of the baseball dinosaurs keeping Barry Bonds out of Cooperstown.
The bottom line is the top of the rotation is set with Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, and Marcus Stroman while David Peterson was pretty damn good last season, with his best games coming at the end of the year. Penciling in Peterson and Walker at the back end along with Noah Syndergaard (hopefully) returning by June and the Mets have themselves some legit pitching depth. I'm not quite ready to say they have oodles of pitching. But they have a pretty good amount and signing Taijuan Walker for the back half of your rotation beats the hell out of signing Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha to compete for the last spot, which should be a subtle reminder of what like used to be like in Metsland for Mets fans who think this offseason has been unproductive and/or underwhelming.
Now I will leave you with a random stat that I plucked off Twitter completely randomly.