I asked this question the other day while on Twitter, with Jenrry Mejia in the bullpen, Nelson Figueroa in Philly, and no major league ready pitching prospects on call, who would be the Mets’ first choice to replace an injured or under-performing starter?
Kelvim Escobar, Hisanori Takahashi and Fernando Nieve were the most popular answers I received. Unfortunately, Escobar may not comeback from his injury and even if he did, he signed on as a reliever, and Nieve and Takahashi are already carving out roles in the bullpen.
The point of my question was to illustrate that the Mets still have the same problem with depth as they had last season. Particularly with the starting rotation.
Joel Sherman of the NY Post ponders this same problem this morning and makes my point,
They lack organizational depth, so they do not have a lot of margin for error.
In his article, Sherman writes that the Mets continue to believe that Pelfrey is going to grow into a No. 2 starter, specifically because of the development of his splitter. I don’t really understand the Mets 4-year long quest to make Pelfrey a number two starter. Just because you slot a pitcher second in the rotation, it doesn’t necessarily make them a number two starter. Didn’t we learn this lesson last season?
What I expect from a true number two starter is the ability to pitch deep into games and give the team 200 quality innings a season. I believe a number two pitcher should execute quality pitches, especially during a critical at-bat, and consistently put the team in a position to win more often than not. A number two pitcher should also be ready to step in and fill the void should injury take out the team’s ace. Basically, I see the number two pitcher as being an ace in the making. I don’t see Pelfrey as an ace and I never have. Maybe he’ll prove me wrong with his new pitch, but every year dozens of pitchers add new pitches and in the end they still are what they are.
In addition to revealing that many in the Mets organization see Jon Niese as no worse than a No. 4 starter, Sherman throws this into the fire,
And if anything happens to that front four, the Mets’ future could become far worse. At this point it is obvious that John Maine and Oliver Perez are not part of any future planning. The Mets like power-armed Brad Holt, but many other organizations are not as high on him. The Mets think Tobi Stoner could be a complementary piece at the back of a rotation, but they felt that way last year about Dillon Gee and he regressed significantly.
Seriously though, haven’t we all entertained that thought about John Maine? And as for Oliver Perez, is there anybody left out there who is still willing to trust him again? Obviously there are…
I read a few glowing endorsements about Oliver Perez this morning that literally left me scratching my head. I don’t know what they were watching, but I ranked Perez somewhere between somewhat bad and really awful. I would ask all of Ollie’s continuing supporters one question…
If Oliver Perez was in the final year of his contract right now, would you negotiate an extension or re-sign him in the offseason?
Yeah… That’s what I thought…
I’ve said it all offseason long and have been very consistent about it. The Mets needed a number two starter more than anything this offseason. The fact they not even pursued a number three or number four only means that this season will be fraught with heart-breaking games like yesterday.
I still don’t see anyone besides Johan Santana that will give the Mets 200 quality innings pitched this season. Luckily, we have a solid offense when healthy. It will lead to some solid high scoring wins at times. At least we have that…