According to New York Daily News Mets beat writer Andy Martino, Mets manager Jerry Manuel has indicated that talented rookie Jenrry Mejia’s role will not include pitching in the 8th inning going forward this season.
So where does Mejia go from here?
It’s a dilemma that the crosstown Yankees have battled too. Their prized prospects, Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, have been treated with kid gloves and the handling of their precious arms has been dissected by the media ad nauseam.
What situation is best for both Mejia and the Mets?
In my opinion, the uber-talented Mejia is best served by pitching in the minors and stretching out his arm while getting more confidence. The experience he receives in the minors can be a major asset to the Mets in the long run. We’re talking about a 20-year-old kid here. The Mets should think of the future. Put the proverbial cart before the horse.
Currently, Mejia has proven to been inconsistent in the bullpen, producing pedestrian numbers (0-2, 3.13 ERA). However, like Martin pointed out, Mejia gets in a lot of jams and sports and unhealthy 1.65 WHIP (Walks+Hits per Innings Pitched). He has not caught anyone off guard like other young pitching phenoms around the league have done (see Neftali Feliz).
So it begs the question, how much longer can we expect Mejia in the Mets bullpen? That could hinge on the relative health of both John Maine and Jonathon Niese. If both come back healthy in the near future, perhaps a guy like R.A. Dickey gets a spot in the bullpen.
Also, as I indicated in Tuesday’s post, perhaps Mejia is a chip in a ploy to get someone like the Mariner’s Cliff Lee. If the Mets can conceivably take the NL East or grab a wild-card spot, then GM Omar Minaya might be too tempted not to pounce on a reasonable offer from the Mariners for Lee, which would almost certainly include Mejia.
June will certainly be a telling month for Mejia, and may ultimately decide which direction his career goes in. Barring a trade, I think once Maine and Niese come back healthy, Mets brass should feel comfortable enough with the bullpen (also realize the Mets still have Sean Green and Bobby Parnell on the 40-man roster) and allow Mejia to develop in the minors and perhaps make him part of the 2011 rotation.
It’s certainly a dilemma that the Mets have to address — quickly.