The Mets always seem to be very indecisive these days. They waited too long to fix the outfield and nobody currently on the team is even assured of a starting role in 2014.
The Ike Davis saga lasted about a month and a half too long and the team paid the price with a dead out in the heart of their lineup for the first-third of the season.
On Tuesday, Terry Collins announced that he would go with a six-man rotation. At least for now, it buys him a week or two to decide who between Jeremy Hefner, Shaun Marcum and Dillon Gee will go to the bullpen to make room for Zack Wheeler in the rotation.
More indecision to be sure, but this time I can hardly blame the team for buying themselves some additional time. Lets examine all three…
With $4 million worth of bonus escalator clauses built into his contract, mostly based on innings pitched, you can bet the MLBPA would raise a stink if they try sending Marcum to the bullpen. Even though he delivered one of the best relief outings in franchise history during the 20-inning loss to the Marlins, his spot in the rotation is pretty secure whether that stature is deserved or not. He has been wildly inconsistent and in his last six appearances dating back to May 10, he has allowed 6, 2, 4, 2, 4, 1 earned runs. His 4.95 ERA reflects just how inconsistent he has been, and for a pitcher who initially presented as a No. 2 type starter, he’s been more of a No. 5 starter on a bad team and has the highest ERA among all Mets starters.
Then you have the good yet underrated Hefner. Nobody expected much from Hefner and saw him mostly as place holder for Zack Wheeler. But of the three pitchers on the line he has been the most consistent by far. It’s hard not to root for the Moore, OK native who is sitting atop a 1-6 record, with a 4.11 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. He’s currently riding a streak of four quality starts in a row, allowing just seven earned runs in his last 25 innings pitched while striking out 21 and walking four. What’s not to like? Like Matt Harvey, Hefner has been victimized by some bad Mets defense and lack of run support. He could easily be 7-2 for the year.
That brings us to Dillon Gee, fresh off a gem that saw him go 6.2 innings and allowing just one earned run while striking out seven. Gee has finally begun to make some strides after a horrid start to his season. In his first 10 starts, Gee posted a 6.34 ERA with an MLB high .909 OPS allowed. For the year, Gee has posted a 5-6 record with a 4.84 ERA, 1.53 WHIP in 70.2 innings while walking 20 and striking out 63. However, after his last start, manager Terry Collins revealed that Gee has been battling tendinitis in his right elbow and in fact was almost going to be scratched from his last start.
As I said, I don’t believe there’s any chance that Marcum gets pulled from the rotation so it basically comes down to Gee and Hefner. If you want to base it on merit or 2013 results, then Hefner is your man. If you want to base it on seniority and past results, then you go with Gee.
Personally, in a season that has spiraled out of control for the Mets, I would like to see them get into the habit of rewarding players who perform the best and keep Hefner in the rotation. It might not be a bad precedent to set.
Plus, we already know what we have in Gee. I’d like to see more of Hefner and find out what we have in him before shuffling him off to the side. What do you think?