Where Is Nelson Figueroa When You Need Him

An article by posted on May 17, 2010

We could use Nelson Figueroa.  After Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey, he would be our next best starting pitcher.

I was never sold on John Maine after seeing him in spring training.  He’s recently had a few positive starts, though those were against weak hitting NL teams and at the friendly confines of Citifield when the Mets were hot.  It’s a mystery as to why John was striking so many guys out with an 87 MPH fastball which he was throwing 90% of the time.  Now his good fortune has disappeared.  He’s walking guys and giving up home runs.

Jon Niese is injured and probably will go on the disabled list with a bad hamstring.  Mets fans had high hopes for him this year, especially after he pitched so well against the Phillies two weeks ago.  But since then, he’s basically shown us very little.  Too many walks and too many hits means too many baserunners.  That doesn’t add up to many wins for an offensively challenged team.

Oliver Perez is a bum.  What more can you say.  When he is eventually given his unconditional release, he will probably not be picked up by any major league team.

So where do the Mets go from here.  R.A. Dickey and Ken Takahashi will get the first shots to enter and maintain a spot in the starting rotation.  There is no reason to think that Dickey can be successful in the major leagues.  He never has.  And ideally Takahashi should stay a long reliever.

Many laughed at me for campaigning all spring for Figgy to make the Mets roster.  It didn’t appear that they needed him.  The starting pitching was solid, other than Perez.  The relievers were outstanding.  Oh how things have changed.

You still might deride me for championing his cause.  But given the opportunity to start every fifth day, Nelson Figueroa could give the Mets some quality starts and some consistency which Maine, Niese and Perez haven’t been able to do.  And he wouldn’t walk the park either.

I hope that the Phillies ailing pitchers, Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson, can re-join the team soon.  Then Figueroa could be designated for assignment.  The Mets might be desperate enough to resign him and put him in the rotation.  Last year they were desperate enough to give him a shot and he pitched well.

I doubt he will ever play for the Mets again.  However it’s been proven now two years in a row that even if Figueroa is your eighth best option when the season starts, he is good insurance to have.  And certainly the Mets should know that they need plenty of insurance.

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