By Dan Lagnado
The Mets have decided that the time is right to begin bringing up their top young pitchers. Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom will start the two Subway Series games at Citi Field. Montero was recalled and Jenrry Mejia pushed to the bullpen when Gonzalez Germen was placed on the DL with a virus. deGrom was supposed to make his debut out of the bullpen but in a surprising twist, the Mets placed Dillon Gee on the disabled list as well, creating an opening for deGrom in the rotation. These decisions are both aggressive and surprising.
In years past, the Mets have lasted into later in the season before calling up their top pitcher. This was the case in both 2012 and 2013 when the team was handling Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler very carefully. In addition to potential innings limits, the delayed call-ups also delayed free agency for the player by a year. With both Montero and deGrom coming up in mid-May it is likely that they will both face arbitration a year early.
These moves, along with the promotions of Wilmer Flores and Eric Campbell show that the Mets want to be competitive this year. This is another stark difference from the past few years. There was no reason to rush Harvey or Wheeler to the bigs because there was nothing to play for. So despite the team’s struggles (though the permanent struggles didn’t set in until later in the year) were not as big of a deal. The Mets have been planning for the future for a long time and the facts are that the future is almost here.
Despite the arrivals of Montero and deGrom, don’t expect to see the biggest gun around Queens just yet. With the arrivals of two young pitchers, the need for arms has been filled. That means Noah Syndergaard is destined for a few more months in Las Vegas. Of course his arrival could be accelerated if an injury occurs, even then it is unlikely as the Mets have both Mejia and Daisuke Matsuzaka who are capable of starting in an emergency.
When Gee and Germen return from the DL, the Mets will have a decision to make. Two players will need to be removed from the roster if to make room for Montero and deGrom. The likely targets will be the struggling veterans in the bullpen: Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth. They earned an extra two weeks in Queens but only time will tell what Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson choose to do.
Dan Lagnado is studying communications, law economics and government at American University. He’s a fan of both the Mets and Jets and has been writing about sports for four years. You can follow him on twitter at @dlag1995
By Sam Iryami
Matt Harvey who? After his season-ending torn UCL, he is now out for the entire 2014 season. Harvey put up outstanding numbers with the Mets this past season, having a 2.27 ERA, 191 SO, and winning nine games in 178.1 innings (26 starts). To add on to these great stats, he was the starting NL pitcher in this season’s All-Star Game. As it is was first “real” major league season, he really showed what he was made of in the time that he pitched. Harvey was “lights out,” throwing on average nine and a half strikeouts per nine innings. The Met offense had to do a lot better of a job, after leaving Harvey with twelve no decisions. Now that Matt Harvey will not be pitching for the 2014 season, the Mets have to put up big stats on the other side of the game. The other option besides offense is another pitcher to fill the “Harvey” role on the ball club.
Who’s left to fill that role? Well, there’s that guy named Zach Wheeler, the number one pitching prospect last year. The rookie had an ERA of 3.42, won seven games, and had only 84 strikeouts. Evidently, his stats last year were not nearly as outstanding as Harvey’s, which ranked in the top ten of all pitchers. Is Wheeler a solid number one starting pitcher? It seems like Wheeler is the only pitcher on the Mets that has a chance to become the number one pitcher in the Mets’ starting rotation.
Jon Niese, Zach Wheeler, and Dillon Gee are solid starters for the Mets, but they are not anywhere near Harvey. On average, they have a combined 3.89 ERA, 115 strikeouts, and eight wins. In a significant less number of innings, Harvey was able to crush these numbers. Without Harvey in the rotation for the upcoming 2014 season, it leaves the Mets rotation as follows:
4-Jeremy Hefner (TJ)
5-Carlos Torres (FA)/Jenrry Mejia (FA)/ Daisuke Matsuzaka (FA)/ Aaron Harrang
The Mets have to rely on these pitchers in place of superstar Matt Harvey. It’s going to be hard, especially with not a top offense in the league and awful relief pitching.
This offseason, the Mets are left with a ton of cap room, being so because of the absence of Mr. Johan Santana, or should I say “No-han.” His skyrocketing $24 million is no longer a burden for the Mets. This extra cap room could now be used to acquire some top prospects, or even some all-star free agents. Jose Reyes is not a free agent, but he has shown his interest in playing for New York once again, already buying a home in Brookville, NY. He would be a great addition to the roster, adding tremendous speed and enthusiasm to the Mets’ offense. Justin Morneau, Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Robinson Cano are also possible free agents that the Mets could look into to boost the Mets’ offense and gain the runs they will give up in the field due to the loss of Harvey this year.
Although no one on the Mets’ roster could fill the spot of Harvey, multiple pitchers have a chance to be on the Mets. Pitchers on the market: Bartolo Colon, Masahiro Tanaka, Bronson Arroyo, and Tim Hudson. However, these pitchers may not be interested in playing in the big city or even on the Mets. The organization could definitely look into them, along with many others, to help fill the role of Harvey and add some extra experience and skill to the team as well. The Mets have to be cautious on spending when attempting to procure these great players.
Prospects are not ideal for the Mets. Since Harvey is out for next year, they need offense and pitching quick! Some pitching prospects the Mets have right now: Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero. These great players should be starting for the Mets in the near future. However, Signing some free agents or making some trades for big players might be the route the Mets want to take with all the extra cap room they have from Johan’s contract expiration.
Who do you think the Mets should be interested in this offseason? Leave comments and stay tuned to dabuzzza.com to learn about the Mets’ offseason pickups and trades. Dabuzzza is a great way to learn about many other sports besides baseball such as basketball, football, and hockey. Like us on Facebook and follow us on twitter to learn more.
Sam Iryami is a die-hard Mets, Jets, and Knicks fan. His favorite athletes are David Wright and Carmelo Anthony. Sam is looking for a future career in business and finance.