When we signed journey-man Carlos Torres to a deal in the off-season, I was somewhere between disappointment and apathy, honestly. I thought that he would serve no purpose on this team and that he was wasting space in a Triple-A rotation. I made comments akin to, “This is exactly the reason no other Triple-A affiliate wants to take the field for the Mets.” And yes, as he struggled to pitch in the PCL, I was perhaps his biggest critic.
Of course, something weird happened along the way and Carlos Torres suddenly started throwing quality starts and complete games for Las Vegas — and that’s doubly impressive when you consider exactly how hitter friendly the PCL is. So I took back my venom and gave him his due for pitching his heart out, but even my colleague Matt Musico still couldn’t see a way for Carlos Torres to hit the MLB roster. However, it was built into his contract all along — his potential opt-out. It forced the Mets’ hand and he ended up with the MLB team as a bullpen arm.
But then injury struck, as it tends to do with this team, and Torres was handed an opportunity. In the most unlikeliest of scenarios, Torres not only found himself tossing five innings of one-run ball against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but also battling through six innings of one-run ball against the Atlanta Braves. Neither of those teams were pushovers, yet Torres found a way to get through them in just his seventh and eighth career starts in the MLB.
So you can imagine my disappointment when all I heard in last night’s broadcast was talk about moving Torres back to the ‘pen. Look, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that we found the next RA Dickey here in this guy, but he has pitched himself to an 0.94 ERA in 28.2 innings with the team so far, and his first two starts have been relatively successful.
Why should we mess with a good thing right now? We let an injured Marcum trot out there for one too many starts before finally cutting him loose yesterday, so I think Torres deserves the same right. I know that if Jenrry Mejia has a good showing against the Nationals, it will probably spell “bullpen” for Carlos Torres yet again, but I’d like to believe we might have caught lightning in a bottle with a scrap heap pitcher once again.