Just as soon as the Mets put Jason Bay (ribs) and Mike Pelfrey (elbow) on the disabled list, the Mets go ahead and win two straight games over the Miami Marlins while also ruining the Jose Reyes homecoming in the process.
Everything is right in the world, correct?
Not so fast.
I’d like to think that the the old saying “You don’t know how much you miss something until it’s gone” may take precedence here.
While, of course, these two players have brutally underachieved and have been whipping boys for several Mets’ fans over the years, they might be missed more than people think.
For the better part of their Met careers, Bay and Pelfrey have been maddeningly inconsistent, while never living up to their full potential or in Bay’s case, more particularly his contract. And that’s what irritates Mets’ fans so much. However, they were off to decent starts this season and you must view things in a vacuum.
Although Pelfrey has not won a game this season, he has kept the team in games and had a 2.29 ERA through 19.2 innings while allowing no home runs and issuing just four walks. As for Bay, yes, he only has a .240 batting average, but his power stroke was coming along –albeit slowly-and he was showing a bit more confidence at the plate before his injury.
Now the Mets will be void of two veteran players who will be replaced by players who don’t offer that much promise.
Scott Hairston, Mike Baxter and Jordany Valdespin will play left field on most occasions and once Andres Torres comes back, Kirk Nieuwenhuis will man left with Torres going back to center. Outside of Nieuwenhuis, are any of these candidates really an improvement over Bay?
Hairston has his usefulness, but is best left as a power bat off the bench. Baxter is nothing more than a role player. Valdespin, who was recently been called up, has some upside, but there will probably be a learning curve when it comes to his game.
With Bay, at least you had a ‘presence’ in the middle of the lineup and he was good for breaking up all the lefties in the middle of the lineup. Also, Bay was vastly underrated for the way he played defense in left. It’s safe to say, that none of his possible replacements can play as good a left as Bay did.
When it comes to Pelfrey, almost of all of us have come to expect what he is: an average pitcher who up until this point has been durable. Pelfrey always ate up a lot of innings and that will be hard to replace.
Pelfrey will now be replaced in the rotation by Chris Schwinden and possibly down the line by Chris Young. Schwinden is a mid-tier prospect with limited promise. In four starts last year, Schwinden went 0-2 with a 4.71 ERA. Schwinden is the “he’ll have to do” choice as neither Matt Harvey nor Jeurys Familia are ready to be called up just yet.
It’s not so much that Bay and Pelfrey will be missed, it’s more about who will be replacing them at this juncture. Fans may soon realize that Bay and Pelfrey at least served a useful purpose for the team.
While the Mets won their first two games without Bay and Pelfrey, we’ll see if they will be missed in the long haul as these next two to three weeks could prove to be a pivotal stretch for the club.
For now, they are not being missed, but if they miss an extended period of time (and Pelfrey visiting Dr. Andrews is never a good thing) Mets’ fans may be singing a different tune come the end of the season.
Follow me on Twitter @Stacdemon