Mejia Now Open To Late Relief, Mets Judging Him Start To Start

An article by posted on May 7, 2014 0 Comments

jenrry mejia

May 7

A team insider told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, that righthander Jenrry Mejia is being judged on a start-to-start basis. There are some in the organization who have viewed Mejia as a reliever all along.

Mejia previously had communicated to the front office that he would prefer working in Triple-A as a starter rather than working in the majors in relief.

However Rubin adds that the belief is that he would back off that preference if he were bounced from the rotation.

Mejia now tells Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal that he would be fine working as a late inning reliever

Diamond points out that in 91 professional starts, Mejia has only lasted into the seventh inning twice, despite averaging over 100 pitches per start and adds:

Granted, it has only been a month. That said, as a closer, Mejia could concentrate all of his effort into one crucial inning, rather than pace himself for an 100-pitch game. The evidence suggests he might be better suited to be a closer than a starter. If Mejia succeeded, he would almost certainly make the Mets a better team.

“Everything is on the table,” said Assistant GM John Ricco. “We have a lot of good young arms, it’s our job to manage them.”

Shifting Mejia to the bullpen would open up an opportunity in the rotation for Jacob deGrom or Rafael Montero in the short term and perhaps Noah Syndergaard later in the season.

May 5

Terry Collins said that righthander Jenrry Mejia will make his scheduled start on Friday against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field, but acknowledged that the debate over whether he should work as a reliever will continue.

Statistical splits show that opposing batters are hitting .160 the first time they face Mejia in a game and .239 the second time around. However, hitters are scorching Mejia for a .438 batting average the third time through the order.

Asked if that strengthens the case for making Mejia a reliever, Collins responded, “Especially when you have starts where they are five innings, 4 2/3, five innings, it’s always in the conversation.”

Mejia has made it known that he does not want to work in relief.

According to Adam Rubin, Mejia has previously told the Mets that he would prefer being a Triple-A starter to relieving in the big leagues.

May 4

Well that sucked… By now I should be used to a bullpen performance like we saw last night, but for me it never gets any easier. After the way the team battled back from Jenrry Mejia‘s meltdown I was thumping my chest as we headed into the bottom of the ninth. I thought it was going to be a great comeback win in a ballpark that has been giving the Mets fits since… forever. I should have known better.

Mets closer Kyle Farnsworth has now been scored on in three of his last four appearances. Four earned runs on seven hits including two back-breaking home runs in just 3.1 innings pitched.

Mets quasi closers have combined to blow six saves in 12 opportunities so far this season. In other words, whenever we take a three run or less lead into the ninth inning, there’s a 50/50 chance that we’ll blow the lead. How do you like them odds?

Now the buzz is that we should make Daisuke Matsuzaka the new closer. Why not, right? As long as we get him up in the bullpen around the seventh inning so that he can get warmed up we should be fine, right?

The Mets bullpen has allowed 13 home runs through the first five weeks of the season. Only the Houston Astros bullpen has allowed more homers (16) in the majors.

Opposing hitters have a .755 OPS against Mets relievers.

Back on Opening Day, when we suffered our first bullpen implosion of the season, Mets GM Sandy Alderson had this to say about the state of the pen:

“The bullpen has not been good over the last several years. It needs to get better.”

Easier said than done for Sandy who has struggled to put together an effective bullpen since taking over the team at the end of the 2010 season.

Mets National League Bullpen Rankings

  • 2009 – 3.89 ERA Ranked 8th
  • 2010 – 3.59 ERA Ranked 5th
  • 2011 – 4.33 ERA Ranked 15th
  • 2012 – 4.65 ERA Ranked 15th
  • 2013 – 3.98 ERA Ranked 12th
  • 2014 – 4.08 ERA Ranked 12th

Alderson hasn’t run from his track record. “It’s been nothing short of abysmal,” he told Marc Carig of Newsday last month.

Since 2011, the Mets have had only three Mets relievers have logged at least 30 innings and posted an ERA below 3.00, Bobby Parnell did it twice and LaTroy Hawkins was the other. That’s pretty pathetic.

On Friday, Sandy hinted that Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom will be ticketed for the bullpen “sooner rather than later.”

“I think we’re at the point where anything is possible.”

When asked if they would need to begin their transition to relief while still in Vegas, Alderson stated that it’s a ”first step, but not a necessary step.”

Safe to say that the veteran reliever experiment is quickly coming to an end. Those last-ditch effort, scrapheap signings of Jose Valverde, Kyle Farnsworth and John Lannan did little to revamp the bullpen.

I always felt our best options were all internal anyway. So hopefully things will get better soon.

One last thing. Last night on our game thread and on Twitter, Mets fans were unfairly calling Sandy out for not going after Joel Hanrahan. The fact is he won’t be ready to pitch and contribute at least until June at the earliest. Even if we had signed him, it wouldn’t of helped us in the least last night.

Anyway, lets try and avoid the sweep tonight.

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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.