Mets 'open-minded' about using an opener for 2021 MLB season, says Luis Rojas

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Colin Martin
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Joey Lucchesi prepares to deliver pitch with Padres, close crop eyes visible
Joey Lucchesi prepares to deliver pitch with Padres, close crop eyes visible

Mets manager Luis Rojas spoke on Thursday from spring training and gave some insight into the team's thoughts on using an opener in this season in the rotation.

The current projected starting rotation consists of Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, and Marcus Stroman with David Peterson or Joey Lucchesi in the final two spots.

Noah Syndergaard looked good in Wednesday's bullpen session and is expected to return to the Mets around June, as he's been recovering from Tommy John surgery.

"We haven't had an in-depth conversation, but we've definitely talked about it in the past," Rojas told reporters via Zoom. "We did last year, and we haven't really started to develop those conversations. But we do have individuals on our roster right now that can definitely do something like that.

"And then have a follow up, and use the strategy against certain lineups, against certain teams. Those are conversations that are going to be probably engaged at some point. Once again, we're open-minded, we're open to talk about those and have a feel how they're actually going to work for us."

Whether or not the Mets end up using an opener this season is still up in the air. Rojas and pitching coach Jeremy Hefner are considering all options for how to attack the upcoming season.

In recent years, more and more teams around the league have started to use openers. The Yankees showed how successful this strategy could be during the 2019 season when relief pitcher Chad Green opened 15 games due to the injuries in the rotation.

The Yankees went on to win 11 of the games Green started, as he would throw just one or two innings before a long reliver came into the game.

As they continue to figure out their rotation plan, the Mets are interested in free agent pitcher Taijuan Walker, according to SNY MLB Insider Andy Martino.

Walker could fill the last spot in the starting rotation, as he is 35-34 with a 3.84 ERA in eight seasons with Seattle, Arizona and Toronto. But if the Mets don't sign Walker, then someone like Jake Odorizzi could be the answer.