Brian Costa of the Star Ledger ponders some of the options the Mets might consider as a replacement for Oliver Perez.
Ken Takahashi: The Mets liked what they saw from him Saturday, when he tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings against the Phillies in his major-league debut. He was also lights-out at Triple-A Buffalo, with just one run allowed in 11 2/3 innings. The only question is whether they can stretch him out enough to make him a viable starter. Takahashi, 40, started in Japan last season, and said he threw around 60 pitches for Buffalo in one game earlier this month. When asked whether he would need time to build up his pitch counts for a potential starting role, Takahashi said through a translator that he wasn’t sure.
Nelson Figueroa: He gave the Mets a quality start in place of the injured Mike Pelfrey on April 19. Figueroa gave up three runs in six innings against the Brewers. He was designated for assignment after the game only because the Mets needed a fresh arm in the bullpen. At Triple-A Buffalo this year, Figueroa is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA.
Tim Redding: He went into spring training in the mix for the fifth starter’s job and could find himself back in the mix for a spot in the rotation, but he’s not ready yet. Redding, who started the season on the disabled list with a strained right rotator cuff, is scheduled to make a rehab start Tuesday with Buffalo. And given how badly he struggled before the Mets shut him down in spring training, it’s unlikely they would want to rush him back.
Jon Niese: Competed for the fifth starter’s job in camp and clearly needed more work in the minors. His rough start to the season — 0-2 with a 6.55 ERA at Buffalo — makes him even less likely to get the call this week.
Dillon Gee: Another prospect the Mets liked in camp but who has struggled early this year at Buffalo. Gee is 1-3 with a 4.33 ERA.
Bobby Parnell: Was a starter in the minors last season, and has the potential to be a starter in the majors. But given how important Parnell (1.74 ERA in 10.1 IP) has been to the Mets’ bullpen this season, and the time he spent adjusting to a relief role this spring, to abruptly — and possibly only temporarily — move him into a starting role right now would not be ideal. He also has not been stretched out over several innings since last season, so he appears to be an unlikely choice.
Do any of these options give you an overwhelming sense of confidence?
In my opinion they range from bad to worse. The Mets would be nuts to remove Parnell from the bullpen and risk possible injury by force feeding him into the rotation. Plus, he’s doing a fantastic job, why dig one hole just to fill another?
Takahashi might be a very short term option in that opposing teams won’t be able to figure him out initially. At least until the book is out on him, he might be the way to go.
There is an option Brian neglected to mention… Dare I say it?