Barring injury, the Mets are expected to enter the season with Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, and Rick Porcello in their starting rotation. But the No. 5 spot might not be as simple as deciding between Steven Matz and Michael Wacha.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, among the options the Mets are "internally discussing" is not going with a set No. 5 starter at all.
Instead, the team would choose the best matchup each time it needed the fifth starter -- which will be most of the time once the first few weeks of the season are over.
According to Sherman, that could mean starting either Matz or Wacha or potentially using Robert Gsellman or Seth Lugo as an opener with Matz or Wacha pitching after them.
Shortly after spring training started, Mets manager Luis Rojas singled out Matz and Wacha as the two rotation options who also have relief experience. So the writing has been on the wall when it comes to Porcello being in the rotation along with deGrom, Syndergaard, and Stroman.
After Wacha signed with the Mets, it was reported that his base salary was only $3 million and that he could earn an additional $7 million in incentives -- including many tied to relief appearances. In his report on Tuesday, Sherman noted that Wacha will accumulate one "point" for relief appearances of three innings or more, with each point at seven different point totals resulting in $500,000.
While it's still early and the Mets are certainly discussing a host of different ideas when it comes to the No. 5 spot in the rotation and other roster questions, the idea they're reportedly kicking around definitely raises eyebrows.
It could work, but there are so many moving parts that it could be extremely hard to pull off.
For example, how long in advance would they need to decide which No. 5 starter they're going with for each upcoming game? If Lugo or Gsellman is serving as an opener, how many days in advance do they need to prepare? And how many days prior to their start will they be prohibited from pitching in relief?
In a scenario where the Mets went two or more turns through the rotation without using Matz or Wacha for three or more innings, how would that impact their ability to start soon after that?
Additionally, how many games would Lugo or Gsellman need off after either serving as an opener or piggybacking after an opener?
The Rays are among the teams that have used an opener regularly throughout the season and teams have used six-man rotations. But the idea the Mets are pondering is more involved than the aove. Is it more trouble than it's worth?
That is the question new pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, Rojas, and the front office will have to weigh between now and Opening Day.