It appears that Jenrry Mejia, who was previously considered a lock for the fifth spot in the rotation, is now clearly behind behind veterans Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lannan who were signed to minor league deals two weeks ago.
“I’ve always said those veterans can really get you out of the blocks,” Terry Collins said Friday. “Then, when those kids are ready, they’re the ones a lot of times that bring you that extra energy, especially late in the summer.”
Mejia, 24, impressed fans and scouts alike with a dominant showing late last season before shutting it down to have a pre-planned procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow. Here’s a video of his dominating season debut:
The homegrown righty posted a 2.30 ERA and 1.17 WHIP with 27 strikeouts and just four walks in 27.1 innings pitched after his promotion from the minors where he posted a 2.55 ERA and 9.5 K/9.
Mejia was one of the first arrivals to camp last month and showed up feeling great and ready to compete.
“The only thing I know is that’s going to be a competition,” Mejia said this week. “I am here, my arm feels good. I’ll be ready to be there. Whatever they want me to do, that’s what I have to do. But I want to be in the fifth spot.”
If Collins gets his way, both Lannan and Dice-K will likely make the team, meaning a certain trip to Triple-A for Mejia and a couple of cuts from the team’s 40-man roster as well.
The Mets manager also sounded like Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde were virtual locks for the bullpen, which would likely mean that Jeurys Familia will also be heading to Las Vegas along with Mejia. Familia wowed the scouts at Winter Ball and his fastball frequently clocked in over 100 mph.
I don’t usually put a lot of credence into anything Terry Collins says, except for when he’s waving his “I gotta go with my veterans” flag. He usually means business when he’s touting that malarkey.
Of course it would be a real shame if both Mejia and Familia were to pitch well this Spring only to end up on a plane to Nevada when the Mets break camp. But given the recent history and track records of these veterans that were supposedly here only to provide some competition, Mejia and Familia should keep their suitcases handy.