Will Mets Regret Not Adding A Starter?

An article by posted on February 20, 2012

With Mets pitchers and catchers set to report later this morning, lets take a look at a couple of things Sandy Alderson said over the weekend when he spoke to reporters in St. Lucie.

I was a little taken back by what he said when he was asked where he’d like to see the team do better?

“Well, just in a general sense, we need to pitch better than we did last year. The starting rotation was healthy and pitched on a regular basis. Hopefully we can maintain that with some better quality performances than we had overall last year”

That’s an odd thing to say considering he made no improvements to the rotation this offseason. In fact, the best pitched game of the season last year, came from Chris Capuano who will not be back this season.

There’s an old saying that seems very appropriate here. If you continue to do the same things, you’ll get the same results.

Johan Santana, R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese, Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee make up the projected rotation heading into the season. But whether Santana will be ready to start the season is far from certain. The backup plan? Take your pick between Miguel Batista, Chris Schwinden and Jeremy Hefner (who?).

Compounding matters is a down-sized Citi Field… That will certainly impact the rotation’s performance, a rotation that already ranked at the bottom last season.

All five projected starters have significant concerns:

  1. Santana – No explanation needed…
  2. Pelfrey – Those sinkers were flying out of the park at a record pace last year.
  3. Gee – He had an ERA north of 6.00 in Aug/Sep with a 1.712 WHIP
  4. Niese – First Half: 3.88 ERA / 1.356 WHIP – Second Half: 5.67 ERA / 1.543 WHIP
  5. Dickey – Okay, only four have significant problems, I forgot Dickey was a Jedi.

Alderson is banking on improved performances because he believes “they all have something to prove.” That’s funny… I was of the belief that intangibles like that didn’t hold much weight with the new breed of GMs, but hey maybe he is evolving or just coming around. ;-)  But seriously, don’t all teams that finish at the bottom of their divisions have something to prove? It’s not a strategy.

I would have bet anything when the regular season ended that Pelfrey wouldn’t have been back and in his place a bona fide No. 2 starter. Gio would have been nice… Cahill too…

On the bright side, don’t worry about the possibility of prospects such as Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jeurys Familia being rushed to the major leagues.

“The temptation with those guys doesn’t really exist at the moment,” Alderson said. “I’d be very surprised if we broke from that sort of timetable.”

So to answer my own question, yes, I believe the decision not to add a starter may be a regrettable one when you consider:

The unlikelihood that the starting five can be relied upon for 150 starts.

The safety net includes weak and unreliable options.

Best minor league options are not major league ready.

Hey, nobody’s perfect, but the front office definitely dropped the ball here… big time.

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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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