A Slippery Slope: Mets’ Pitching Is Precarious

An article by posted on December 19, 2012

johan santanaSandy Alderson did it again, speaking on WFAN he said he thought the Mets could compete in 2013. What he didn’t say was how he thought they’d be able to compete, much less define what he meant by compete.

He asked for patience and hoped some of the Mets’ young pitching talent would surface this coming season. Again, hope is not a strong building plan. Without saying so, he indicated this summer will be another long one.

There were no definitive answers as to the make-up of the back end of the Mets’ rotation. Assuming Dickey’s 2012 wasn’t a fluke, the Mets’ top three priorities were building a bullpen, coming up with an outfield, and to acquire catching help.

Now, the top priority must be finding another starter. It always begins with pitching and the Mets have some holes in addition to those elsewhere in the field.

“First of all, you think about how to replace the 240 innings. That’s where it’s got to start,’’ manager Terry Collins said. “Somebody’s got to step up, certainly.’’

Dickey threw 233.2 innings last year, arguably one of his most significant stats. That is 43 innings, or nearly five games worth more than Jon Niese.

Niese’s 190.1 innings were a career high, followed by Johan Santana’s 117, Chris Young’s 115, Dillon Gee’s 109.2 and Matt Harvey’s 59.1. Even had Dickey returned, the Mets had pitching questions.

After a strong first half, Santana lost a career-high six straight decisions before he was injured and again finished the season on the disabled list. Young was not tendered; Gee is coming off surgery and Harvey’s major league window is all of ten starts.

If Dickey turns out not to be a one-year wonder, then where are the Mets going to come up with those innings? If they don’t, and coupled with the rotation’s other questions, we’re going to see a lot of the Mets’ bullpen, which isn’t a pleasant concept.

Alderson spoke of finding the answers from within and didn’t regard Zack Wheeler until the eighth option. Inside options include Jeremy Hefner (a 5.09 ERA in 13 starts); Collin McHugh (7.59 ERA in four); Jeurys Familia (one career start) and Jenrry Mejia, whom they don’t know if he’ll start or relieve.

Alderson suggested the free-agent route, which might include a return of Young, but whomever the choice is he must come cheaply.

First, it was wait until Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo are off the books and the Mets would have latitude to spend for 2013. Now, it is wait until Jason Bay and Santana are gone and the Mets will write checks for 2014.

About the Author ()

I am an active member of the BBWAA and have covered Major League Baseball in several capacities for over 20 years, including ten in New York working the Mets' and Yankees' beat. I covered the Baltimore Orioles for eight years and the Cleveland Indians before that. Today I am a freelance writer and social director for several media outlets and the Senior Editor for MetsmerizedOnline.com.

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