With Gee Inching Closer, Who Loses Their Spot?

New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies

ESPN’s Joe Kaiser posed this question earlier today, and it’s an interesting one:

Whose spot will Dillon Gee take in the Mets rotation?

It appears that the two most obvious candidates are Jacob deGrom and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

deGrom, one of the Mets top pitching prospects, was promoted from Las Vegas in mid-May, has yet to notch his first win for the big club. Despite that, he has shown some flashes of brilliance in his time with the Mets, including his seven shutout innings last night that netted him his first win. However, he’s had some downs as well, with the most obvious being his previous start that saw him surrender six earned runs in 4.1 innings against the Cardinals. Overall, deGrom is 1-4 with a 3.75 ERA in 48 innings. He’s struck out 41 and walked 21 in that span.

Matsuzaka on the other hand has had success all season, whether it be coming out of the bullpen or being thrown into the rotation. Dice-K started last nights game for the Mets, and probably pitched well enough to earn a win. However as usual the Mets offense was nowhere to be found. So far in 2014, Dice-K has pitched to a 3.18 ERA in five starts and a 2.22 ERA in 17 relief appearances. All told, the 33-year old has a 2.68 ERA in 47 innings.

Manager Terry Collins weighed in on the topic:

“When Dillon comes back I think there will be discussions about a lot of guys,” Collins told Mike Puma of the New York Post. “Dillon is going to go back in the rotation and we don’t know who it is that we’re going to put back in the bullpen. There will be discussions, and when that time comes, we’ll see which names are brought up.

Collins then went on to talk about an interesting possibility– deGrom to the bullpen?

“Certainly [deGrom’s] stuff could play in the bullpen. The issue is his durability. Can he get up every day? Can he get up three days a week? That becomes the question — any time you’re looking at a young pitcher who has not pitched out of the bullpen, are they going to be able to get up and get their arm ready? And if they get up, how long is it going to take to get their arm ready, because sometimes they’ve got to speed it up.”

My Thoughts:

I think it’s been quite clear that Dice-K has been better out of the pen. Although he’s worked around them, the amount of walks he’s piled up when starting is troubling. One has to wonder how many more times he can walk that tightrope successfully. deGrom, despite his struggles, has been pretty solid. He’s 26 now, and I think it’s time to see what he’s got at the highest level for a prolonged amount of time. One of the goals of this presumably lost season has to be to determine which youngsters are going to fit in with this team going forward. If deGrom can’t hack it as a starter he can always go to the bullpen next season. But first let’s see how he handles the rotation. However Terry is managing for his job so I’m sure he’ll side with the veteran.

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