As Dellin Betances struggled in the eighth inning on Wednesday night in Miami and the Mets' 3-1 lead eventually evaporated, Seth Lugo remained in the bullpen, seemingly a confirmation of the rumblings that started on Tuesday: Lugo would be moving to the starting rotation.
Lugo is moving to a rotation that has been decimated by injuries and an opt-out, and Steven Matz is heading to the bullpen.
What happened on Wednesday night, when the pen without Lugo couldn't hold a lead, was perhaps a perfect and ironic example of why moving Lugo to the rotation is so risky. But the Mets have deemed it necessary, and will look to stretch Lugo out to be a part of the rotation for the rest of the season.
The ripple effects of the move, both this season and beyond, are wide-ranging.
The most immediate domino to fall, even though Rojas would not commit to it on Wednesday night, is that Edwin Diaz is almost certainly the closer again.
Yes, the Mets have options with Justin Wilson, Jeurys Familia, and Dellin Betances, but Wilson is not ideal for the role and both Familia and Betances have had their share of struggles this season -- including Betances' stuff coming and going.
Diaz, who walked in the tying run on Wednesday and then finished the game in dominant fashion -- striking out the last four batters he faced -- has been incredibly impressive aside from an early-season hiccup, with a 2.53 ERA and 1.31 WHIP and a ridiculous 20.3 K/9 in 10.2 IP.
While there should be confidence that Diaz can succeed, there will be a trickle down effect on the rest of the bullpen now that Lugo isn't in it -- especially with both Lugo and Robert Gsellman not able to provide much length yet in the rotation.
That the Mets are opting to remove Matz from the rotation and stick with Gsellman gives you an indication just how bad things are with Matz right now. Gsellman has been both ineffective and unable to provide length in his two starts, failing to get out of the second inning his last time out.
When it comes to Gsellman, the expectation is that he'll be back in the bullpen when Michael Wacha (who recently threw a simulated game) and David Peterson are ready to return, but the Mets are taking a huge gamble in the interim.
In addition to relying on Gsellman and Lugo to go along with Jacob deGrom and Rick Porcello, the Mets -- until they're at full strength -- will need to continue cobbling together one other spot in the rotation while relying on pitchers such as Walker Lockett, Corey Oswalt, and perhaps Franklyn Kilome. That's not ideal.
Lugo moving to the rotation (and Matz moving to the pen) could also have an enormous impact on the Mets in 2021.
If Lugo succeeds in the rotation, a place where he's clamored to be for years after moderate success there in the past, it could be hard for the Mets to move him back to the bullpen. And why would they?
The above, coupled with the uncertain future of Matz, could mean the Mets enter the offseason with three givens in the rotation -- deGrom, Lugo, and Peterson. There is also Noah Syndergaard, who could make a potentially huge impact if/when he returns from Tommy John surgery.
As far as Matz, perhaps he pitches well in the bullpen and finds himself back in the rotation at the end of this season or is ticketed there to begin 2021. But the Mets clearly aren't counting on that.
As was the case before Wednesday night, the Mets have a lot of work to do when it comes to fixing the rotation. While some of the chess pieces have been moved around, the heavy lifting remains. And a hole in the bullpen has now been opened.