Rafael Montero, RHP
Player Data: Age: 27, B/T: R/R, Free Agency: 2022
2017 Primary Stats: 5-11, 5.52 ERA, 4.37 FIP, 119.0 IP, 67 BB, 114 K, 1.748 WHIP,
Rafael Montero got yet another “last chance” to make a difference on the big-league club early in the season due to (another) slew of injuries to the pitching staff. He was unimpressive once again and after allowing 18 earned runs in 19.2 innings across April and May, he was sent to the minor leagues. That was it — he failed his last test with the Mets and we would never see him at the Major League level in a Mets uniform again, right?
He was called back up in June due to, of course, injuries. Lo and behold, he pitched well in June posting a 1.46 ERA in 12.1 innings. He was featuring a sharper slider that Las Vegas 51s pitching coach Frank Viola worked with him on extensively — and it seemed to be working.
But then July came around and it was more of what we have come to expect from Montero. He pitched to a 5.84 ERA in 24.2 innings in July before posting mediocre numbers in August- and, yes, mediocre is an improvement. Across 34.2 innings in August, he went 2-2 with a 4.15 ERA. The month culminated in the best outing of his career when he took a one-hit shutout into the ninth inning against the Reds. He ended up pitching 8.1 innings in that game allowing three hits on eight strikeouts and four walks.
He then went back to being not good at pitching in September and October when he posted a 6.83 ERA in 27.2 innings.
Montero has gotten more “last chances” than I can count on one hand. I sincerely hope he does not pitch another game in a Mets uniform, but history tends to repeat itself. The Mets rotation is aiming to come into 2018 healthy, maybe even augmented by a free agent. A long list of names should stand between Montero and the Major Leagues.
It is possible Montero compiled just enough value to be worth packaging in a deal for a difference-maker. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw him traded to a struggling team to serve as an “innings-eater with potential,” but on the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pitching in a Mets uniform once again. In all likelihood, he will remain in the Mets organization, lurking in Las Vegas until the injury bug bites the Mets rotation and they need an arm.