MMO Mailbag: The Vargas Effect, Pitching Inside, Contending in 2018

We are changing the way we do our MMO Mailbag feature and giving it a bit more structure. We are going to run a weekly mailbag each Wednesday, featuring 2-3 of your best questions or commentary. We hope it will become one of our most lively features ,and it’s our way of giving you a stronger voice while reinforcing the community feel we encourage on MMO.

Shane H. asks…

How does the addition of Jason Vargas effect the Mets starting rotation and bullpen (assuming that everyone stays healthy)? Syndergaard and deGrom are locks but where do Matz, Harvey, Wheeler, Montero, Gsellman, Lugo, and Vargas fit in?

John replies…

First and foremost, it’s really difficult to ascertain what will happen when everyone is healthy because the proverbial Five Aces have yet to even make one successful turn through the rotation.

If this year proves to be the outlier, it appears Harvey is going to get one of the three rotation spots.  Right off the bat, Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland have been really high on him, and with an agent like Scott Boras, it is difficult to see the Mets putting him in the bullpen in his walk year.

After that, we probably will see Matz get the fourth spot with Wheeler going to the bullpen.  As injury prone as Matz has been, Wheeler has been worse.

With Jeurys Familia, Anthony Swarzak, AJ Ramos, and Jerry Blevins already locked into bullpen spots, there are about three spots up for grab in the bullpen.  With his being out of options and still somehow a part of this organization, Rafael Montero is likely getting one of those spots.  Also much to the chagrin of some Mets fans, you would have to think Hansel Robles gets another one leaving just one spot for a starting pitchers, who at the moment, appears to be Wheeler.

However, with a slip up this Spring, or the Mets looking to go with an eight man bullpen, we should see both Lugo and Gsellman in the mix.

Bails4Nails asks…

Any chance MMO staff can talk to Eiland about pitching inside? I’d be very interested to see if that will be emphasized this season. I think it could really help Harvey, so long as the velocity is there.

John replies…

I think the chances of Eiland taking advice from our staff is about as good as the chances as the Wilpons doing an extensive and in-depth interview interview with any media outlet.  With that said, you bring up an interesting point and an area Eiland stresses.

Back in 2015, when Eiland was the pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals, he said, “If you don’t pitch in, make them aware in for effect and for strikes, they’re going to get to good pitches away.”  (Kansas City Star).

Over the past few seasons, I have seen Mets fans carp about the team’s seeming unwillingness to really pound the ball inside.  For those who believe it really was an issue, it seems as if you have the pitching coach who is going to emphasize it.  Ultimately, we are just going to have to let the results speak for themselves.

Harvey Ks You asks…

Will the Mets win the World Series in 2018?

John replies…

Personally, I’m not ruling it out.  In 2015, we watched what happens when the Mets got a healthy Harvey, deGrom, and Syndergaard in the same rotation.  We should reasonably expect deGrom and Syndergaard to be healthy in 2018 leaving the Mets looking for one more ace to join the fray.  As noted above, the Mets have Callaway, Eiland, and a new training staff to get one or more pitchers healthy and effective.

Ultimately, the Mets are going to need health and some luck.  The team needs Adrian Gonzalez to find the fountain of youth, Amed Rosario to make a dramatic improvement over his rookie year, and for Michael Conforto to be Michael Conforto when he returns from the Disabled List.

If the Mets get some health, which is a big if, this team is a World Series contender.

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Hopefully, you enjoyed this mailbag as much as I enjoyed answering your questions.  Keep the questions and comments coming and make sure to send them to AskMMO@metsmerizedonline.com.

About John Sheridan 553 Articles
John was raised to be a Mets fan by birth, and now he is raising a Mets fan of his own. He also uses Sabermetrics to either confirm the proverbial eye test or to see if we're seeing things with Mets colored glasses. He looks forward to bringing this perspective to MMO. His work, including the tales of raising his son a Mets fan, can also be seen at MetsDaddy.com.