Is Pelfrey Worth $7 Million To Be A Fourth Starter?

An article by posted on August 20, 2011

Last night at rain-soaked Citi Field, Mike Pelfrey let up four runs on eight hits and four walks in a 6-1 loss to the Brewers. It was just another forgettable start for Pelfrey whose record dropped to 6-10 with a 4.61 ERA – worst among all starters. Only Ryota Igarashi and D.J. Carrasco have worse ERAs than Pelfrey this season for the Mets. “I’m frustrated, it sucks”, Pelfrey said after the game.

Pelfrey, who was tabbed the Mets Opening Day starter and the de facto ace before the season began, is currently the highest paid starter in the rotation, earning (for lack of a better word) about $4 million dollars this season. I bring that up only because with Pelfrey entering arbitration this offseason, his agent Scott Boras will most certainly look to up his salary to $7 million dollars or more. That’s a scary thought.

After six seasons as a major leaguer, Pelfrey is pretty much the same inconsistent and oftentimes maddening pitcher that he was when he first came up. There has been no signs of development, no learning curve, nothing. In fact, I would argue that currently he is at his all time worst as a Met. His sinkerball is now a thing of the past and it was the main reason he was first drafted in 2005 in the first place. His 19 home runs allowed are a career high and he still has 6-7 starts left.

I’m actually tired of hearing how electric and dazzling Pelfrey looks when he’s on because the truth is that Pelfrey has never once been anything more than mediocre at best even when he’s on.

His skills are a complete mess – changing arm angles and pitch selection from game to game. His execution is just flat out awful,and he’s the first to admit it. If he hasn’t figured it out after six seasons, he never will. He’s already been passed up by teammates Jon Niese and Dillon Gee who exude confidence on the mound – a confidence that has never been seen with Pelfrey.

He’s been passed up by many pitchers who were selected after him in his draft class. For a 6-foot-7 pitcher who was selected 9th overall in 2005 and could throw in the mid-90s, we all expected to see a lot more from him. In that regard Pelfrey has been a total bust as a top-ten pick.

I came across this quote in an article by Joel Sherman of the NY Post who spoke to a few MLB executives and scouts about the right-hander.

An NL baseball operations head called Pelfrey “fourth starter-ish” because of “his lack of punch outs and so-so toughness.” An AL personnel chief said, “He is the kind of guy you don’t want starting the first three games of a playoff series. And that is not as valuable as his salary increases.”

“He profiles as more of an innings guy than a big-time impact starter,” said an NL scouting head. “He has never exhibited a true pitcher’s feel and this dates back to college.”

That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it?

If this is how scouts and executives see Pelfrey, his trade value is nothing to speak of and almost non-existent, though the same article says he could draw interest from a second-division team looking for a cheap pitching-project.

 Which brings us to the reality that Pelfrey may very well be back with the Mets again next season, only this time with a much higher salary and of course increased expectations…. and we all know how Mike Pelfrey responds to increased expectations. But seriously, do we really want to spend more than $2-3 million dollars on a pitcher who is looked at by most as “fourth starter-ish”?

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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