What is Mike Pelfrey? Is Mike the guy who won 15 games for us in 2010? Is he the guy who we saw being anointed as our “ace” for 2011, only to end the season as essentially our number 5 starter? Is he somewhere in between both of the prior questions? It is quite simply one of the biggest questions the Mets front office has to answer this off season.
2011 was not the season we expected from Pelfrey. Since the day he was tabbed as the opening day starter it was a disaster. Collins came in and did what anybody else would have done in naming Mike Pelfrey the “ace” in Johan’s absence. He had the greatest potential of anyone on the staff and was coming off an outstanding season in 2010. I myself had visions of a 17 win season for Big Pelf coming into this year. Yeah you read that right. As bad as he pitched this season, it still isn’t the worst season of his career. His 5 ERA and 1.51 WHIP of 2009 get that award. However, while it wasn’t his worst season to date it kind of was in a way. At age 27 he is supposed to be getting better, and to have a season like this off a season like the one he had in 2010 is just alarming to me. Has he learned nothing in his 6 seasons in the bigs? Is this really what we drafted 9th overall in 2005? A guy who is a sub-500 pitcher, never had a WHIP below 1.36, is a sinker ball pitcher without a sinker, and a guy who licks his hands more than he gets outs???
Who’s Breathing Down His Neck? The short answer to this question is a lot of people. Our 1st round pick Matt Harvey has front of the rotation stuff and dominated at both single-A and Double-A this season. According to Alderson, there is a chance Harvey could force his way up by the end of next season. Jeurys Familia also had a great season, and experience wise has more time in the Minors then Harvey and should also be making his debut in 2012.
Pelfrey’s Contract Situation. According to Cots Baseball Contracts it appears that Pelfrey has two years of arbitration left until he becomes a free agent. He made a shade under $4 Million this past season and that will most definitly go up over $5 Million for next season. Oh yeah and did I forget to mention that his agent is Scott Boras?
Potential Outside Replacements: C. J. Wilson is the class of this years free agent crop. He really is the only guy who could be a top of rotation type starter that the Mets covet, but with the pitching needs of teams like the Yankees he will mostly likely be out of our range. Other intriuging options include Edwin Jackson, Mark Buehrle, Hiroki Kuroda, and Roy Oswalt if his option of $16 Million is not picked up by Philadelphia.
My Thoughts: As bad a Pelfrey was this season, he still has potential. If you are going to replace him it needs to be with a guy who has the potential he does, and it also needs to be someone who will give you 200 innings. Looking at the free agent class there are a few of these guys available and we have some young guys who are up and coming. I am really tired of seeing the bad Mike Pelfrey, but I definitely don’t mind seeing the good MIke Pelfrey. The problem is we never know from year to year which Pelf we’re getting.
So Keeping Big Pelf, THUMBS UP OR THUMBS DOWN?