According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, it will be John Maine following Johan Santana and making the second start of the season.
Maine will then be followed by Jon Niese, then Mike Pelfrey and finally Oliver Perez in the fifth spot.
The move may simply be a reflection of the Mets concern about exhausting the bullpen by having Perez and Maine pitching on back to back days. Both are notorious for expending too many pitches and causing the Mets to turn to the bullpen by the 5th or 6th innings.
In their last starts, Maine lasted just two innings and Perez didn’t fare much better himself.
The moves may also be intended and designed to send Mike Pelfrey and Oliver Perez a message that they need to step up their performance if they expect to hang on to their rotation spots.
This in no way should be looked at as a promotion or vote of confidence for John Maine or Jon Niese, both of whom have not impressed this spring either.
The Mets, and Omar Minaya in particular, are on record as saying that all the pitchers in their rotation were as good or better than any free agent pitcher available this off season.
With Opening Day less than a week away, they are scrambling and obviously frustrated by the fact that not one pitcher has done anything to distinguish themselves this spring. In each of their last starts, Pelfrey, Maine and Perez delivered their worst performances of the spring and allowed an alarming rate of homeruns, nine to be exact in about the equivalent of a nine inning game.
It’s no secret that the Mets are counting on all three to give them 180 innings each. But even if you believed that was possible, the real question is what will the quality of those innings be? Will they continue to pitch good enough to lose, or have any of them turned a corner and be able to pitch good enough to win? So far, the answer is pretty obvious and it’s also pretty obvious that the Mets are now concerned.