Lucky 13: Mets SP ready to throw 150 IP in 2015

Recently, John Zakour wrote an article entitled, “Mets could do worse than Bronson Arroyo.” In my mind, the worst thing the Mets could do would be to sign a starting pitcher to a multi-year deal, which by all reports is what it would take to land Arroyo. By my count, the Mets have a baker’s dozen of pitchers that will be ready to deliver at least 150 innings for the 2015 team. So, why would you spend any money on a long-term contract for a starter?

Here are those Lucky 13 SP, what I see as their ceiling, my 2015 role for them as GM and what I expect the Mets to do with them.

Pitcher My ceiling My 2015 role What Mets do
Matt Harvey #1 SP #1 SP #1 SP
Zack Wheeler #1 SP #2 SP/Trade #2 SP
Noah Syndergaard #1 SP #2 SP/Trade #3 SP
Dillon Gee #3 SP #4 SP/Trade #4 SP
Jenrry Mejia #2 SP #5 SP #5 SP
Rafael Montero #1 SP #2 SP/Trade Trade bait
Jonathon Niese #2 SP #4 SP/Trade Trade bait
Carlos Torres #4 SP #5 SP/RP RP
Jeremy Hefner #3 SP #5 SP/RP RP
Jacob deGrom #5 SP RP/Trade RP
Michael Fulmer #3 SP RP/Trade Trade bait
Darin Gorski #5 SP RP/Trade Lose in Rule 5
Cory Mazzoni #5 SP RP/Trade Trade bait

The Mets seem determined to keep Wheeler and Syndergaard but either of those top of the rotation guys should be available in a trade for an impact bat. It’s not that they don’t have great potential – both have #1 ceilings in my book – but rather that my opinion of Montero and Mejia makes trading one of those players a realistic option.

If dealing Syndergaard or Wheeler makes Giancarlo Stanton or Troy Tulowitzki a Met – that’s a trade that needs to be made. At the end of the day there are only five spots in the rotation. The Mets need to ask themselves which one is preferable – a rotation filled with pitching studs and no big hitter behind David Wright or a pitching staff that still contains three potential aces and a feared one-two punch of hitters in the middle of the lineup?

Lucky 13Of course, not everything is going to break right. Some pitchers will be overvalued and others will get hurt. But even if you think it’s ridiculous that a #5 SP like Montero is considered to have a #1 ceiling – you will at least think him worthy of a spot in an MLB rotation. If you think three pitchers are overrated and not worthy of a shot as a starter and three more will get hurt – that still leaves seven pitchers ready for spots in the 2015 rotation.

And it’s not like the cupboard is bare behind the Lucky 13, either. In alphabetical order the system has Bowman, Cessa, Church, Diaz, Flexen, Gsellman, Koch, Lara, Mateo, Matz, Meisner, Robles, Tapia, Verrett, Whalen and Ynoa. It seems reasonable to think that two or three of those 16 names will develop into SP capable of throwing 150 innings in the majors by 2018.

At some point, the Mets are going to have to let their rookie pitchers, you know, pitch in the majors. There’s no room for a multi-year deal and no need to pick up the next Shaun Marcum injury-reclamation type. Give Gorski and/or deGrom shots, instead. The last time the Mets gave a rookie pitcher a shot early in the year, it was Gee. Perhaps if given a shot, one of the #5 SP upside guys might turn around and surprise you.

To me, it’s better to take a shot with deGrom and fail then hope a Josh Johnson-type can stay healthy or give a muli-year deal to a baseball senior citizen. When it comes to the Mets’ young pitchers, it’s time to take the chant from The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training and “Let them play!”

34 comments for “Lucky 13: Mets SP ready to throw 150 IP in 2015

  1. blastingzone
    December 1, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    I agree 100% your not going anywhere this year anyway so let your young pitchers pitch! Mejia
    did not have TJ surgery so he should be ready and if he pitches like last year he will be our
    4th starter barring a trade and let Montero and all the other young pitchers compete for the
    5th spot! Don’t waste the money on a has been old pitcher that will break down and won’t be a part of there future anyway and block Montero etc from getting experience!

    • Herb
      December 1, 2013 at 10:55 pm

      Going into the 2014 season with a rotation of Niese, Wheeler, Gee, Mejia and Torres (which is the most probable if no starter is signed) would be a disaster. We need an innings eater in the middle of the rotation, and some depth, in the likely event of an injury. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in Torres and think he could be a quality starter if given the chance. But I strongly believe that Terry (and the front office) view him as a reliever. Come April, you’ll see a rotation of Niese, Wheeler, Gee, Arroyo, (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) and Mejia or a retread placeholder that they have signed, like Dice-K or Harang.

      Sandy has already stated that Thor and Montero will follow in the paths of Harvey and Wheeler, coming up in mid season. If Montero is still with us in 2014 (and I dearly hope he is) Gee or Arroyo might be a candidate for a deadline trade. If Mejia has a great year, you could see the one who wasn’t traded in July, shipped out in the off season. To me, the most likely and most desirable 2015 rotation id Harvey, Wheeler, Niese, Syndergaard and Montero, with Mejia moving to the pen. But you could even see Niese traded, with Mejia taking his place in the rotation. What a haul this team could get for its wealth of pitching.

      Now, to the rest of your Lucky 13:
      Hefner will not be ready for opening day 2014, and he is just not in a class with our other starters. Trade him.

      deGrom may get a shot in 2015 if he has a stellar 2014 in Las Vegas and if Mejia is injured or falters and Montero has been traded. But it is unlikely because Niese and/or Gee could still be here.

      Fulmer, as you suggest, is trade bait. And Gorski and Mazzoni are relievers if they are still around.

      • December 1, 2013 at 11:13 pm

        Why would this be a disaster? What’s the logical argument to term it that way?

        • Herb
          December 3, 2013 at 12:08 am

          Perhaps terming it a disaster was an overreaction. I mean that Mejia is always an injury risk and putting Torres into the rotation takes one of the bulwarks of the pen away. Moreover, we are putting a burden on Wheeler that he may not be ready to handle and it could have negative results. Arroyo in the middle of the rotation would be a stabilizing force, and he could be an effective mentor to all those youngsters.

          We need some depth to the rotation and a veteran presence would help. Additionally, if Parnell is not at 100% to start the year, Black might be the closer and we would need Torres as the 8th inning guy. So, even though Niese, Wheeler, Gee, Mejia and Torres could be a very effective rotation, it is too risky and it could hurt the club in other areas.

          • December 3, 2013 at 12:26 am

            The starting rotation always takes preference to the bullpen.

            The idea that Torres is too valuable as a reliever is backwards thinking. A decent SP is way more valuable than a good RP. You never want to put a player capable of pitching 175 IP in a role where he only pitches 65 innings. The bullpen is a place for guys who can no longer hack it as a starter and Torres hurled a Quality Start in six of his nine starts.

            In a world where Phil Hughes gets 3/$24 there’s absolutely no reason to buy on the FA market what you can get in house for essentially minimum wage.

            • Herb
              December 3, 2013 at 1:15 am

              Perhaps we can agree to disagree. Of course the rotation takes precedence over the bull pen, but if we bring in a decent mid rotation FA we can have both. If we throw a bunch of guys who couldn’t hack it as starters into the bull pen, we’ll wind up where we were a couple of years ago, taking leads into the 7th inning and then blowing the game.

              As I said previously, I really like Torres and think he could be valuable as a starter, but it is much too risky to start the season with Mejia and Torres as #s 4 & 5. Who is there when the almost inevitable injury sidelines one of our starters for 2 month?

              Sure, the market is overpriced. I wouldn’t touch Arroyo if we have to go to 3 years to get him. We’d have to find another option. While having an ace at minimum wage is attractive, (and I am usually the one who argues for frugality) this is a case where I think we need to open the purse, at least a little.

              • December 3, 2013 at 8:04 am

                If only we had two young pitching prospects like Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard ready to step in if one of our pitchers got hurt. If only we had some older pitching depth like Jacob deGrom or Erik Goeddel or Darin Gorski who could fill in at a moment’s notice if neither of our stud prospects were ready.

                You need an innings eater when there are no other reasonable alternatives. The Mets have five guys ready to start the year and five guys ready to jump in if needed.

                That alone makes signing an innings eater a redundancy. Then you factor in how much money they are commanding on the open market combined with how little the Wilpons are going to spend and this really becomes a no-brainer.

                And if this particular cake needs any icing – one of Sandy Alderson’s strengths is signing guys to cheap contracts. He’s the one who saw value in Byrd, Capuano, Hairston, Hefner and Torres when no one else did.

      • Jerry Grote
        December 2, 2013 at 8:12 am

        Herb:

        I quite agree with turning the focus from 2015 to 2014.

        That said, players of the ilk of Bronson Arroyo really are unnecessary. Spending $15MM on what amounts to 100 necessary innings of work through the first 90 days of 2014 a bit of overkill on a team without a SS, a LF, a reasonable definition of a #4,5, or 6 hitter, a C that looked overmatched last year. We have what might be framed as some “bigger fish to fry” right now.

        I’m not saying Tommy Hanson is the answer, but the guy had a reasonable early summer last year. He’s going to be non-tendered. There’s bunches of guys like him, starters that have thrown 150-190 innings in the past, some record of non-suckiness.

        Bottom line: we’re looking for a #5 pitcher here, and at that, for three months. Let’s not get our shorts bound up over it.

        • Herb
          December 3, 2013 at 1:03 am

          Jerry:

          If I thought we are signing a mid rotation pitcher for only 3 months, I might agree with you. One big question is whether Alderson might have to trade Montero to get the outfielder or shortstop that he wants. If so, we could need Arroyo to finish the season in the rotation. I am confident that we will get our other corner outfielder and shortstop even if we sign Arroyo. So I’m not getting bound up in my shorts as I fry those bigger fish.

          You mention Tommy Hanson. I’ve given considerable thought to the non tenders, and I decided I would pass on Hanson. He is on a downward spiral. His early summer wasn’t that good, and by late summer he was terrible. Other than Daniel Hudson, who will be out most of 2014 after TJ surgery, I don’t see a worthwhile starter among the non tenders. I’m thinking we should offer Roy Halliday a 1 year, low base deal with significant incentives and a 2nd year option.

          Pete – If we don’t have a reliable 4th and 5th starter we might not be a .500 team next year. The Yankees know that too, and that’s why they are trying to resign Kuroda and are pursuing Tanaka. If I had David Phelps and Michael Pineda to choose from as my #5 starter, I’d be overjoyed. We are far from destitute this year, despite Alderson’s and Wilpon’s statements to lower expectations and create a favorable environment for their off season operations.

          • December 3, 2013 at 3:25 am

            Herb what is your infatuation with Arroyo? He’s not a game changer. With or without him the team is not a playoff team. There comes a point in time when you need to evaluate the kids at the major league level. If Scott Kazmir can get 22 million for 2 years from the A’s, How much do you think Arroyo will hold out for? So Wheeler has bumps on the road and takes some bad losses? That’s how you learn how to pitch in the big leagues. Arroyo is at the end of his career and is looking for a big payoff. The team has 22-23 million left to spend this off season. You think they should invest 13-15 million for a 5th starter? What about upgrades at shortstop, left field, first base and a veteran back up catcher?

          • December 3, 2013 at 3:30 am

            Herb! The Mets are broke! If they weren’t don’t you think they would spend like a team playing in the number market in America? The Minnesota Twins outspent the Mets last year. Think about that. With all the outside revenue ownership gets from radio, television and other sources the budget for this year will be the same as the Kansas City Royals!

          • Jerry Grote
            December 3, 2013 at 9:02 am

            The Mets have more than sufficient talent to trade for that outfielder or SS.

            We have three guys that can play second base (remember, Tejada has in the past put up a 660 OPS and played 2B); we have three first baseman; we have two 3B; we have multiple, lower level pitching prospects that are highly attractive.

            There’s no reason to include Montero in any trades (not to mention, Sandy did say he wouldn’t trade Montero, Wheeler or Thor). Quick example: Ike Davis, Dan Murphy, Wilmer Flores, Fulmer and/or Ynoa and/or Gorski is a sizeable package of youthful, controlled talent.

            Bronson Arroyo is an extravagance this team cannot afford. Do Hanson, Harang, DiceK, and Doc have their fleas? Of course. But they represent only 100 innings.

            Not having a qualified SS and real life cleanup hitter represents 162 games of suckitude.

            • December 3, 2013 at 9:25 am

              Is suckitude in the dictionary? Though I agree with you I was thinking along the lines of no SS and clean up hitter equals no suckcess!

            • Metsense
              December 3, 2013 at 10:43 am

              JG, I like your thinking in this post. I think this team can be improved without trading Syndergaard, Wheeler, Montero, Gee, Niese or Mejia. Balance the offense as best you can, but make sure you improve it so there is only one hole. The pitching will allow the Mets to compete in 2014 and these pitchers should increase in value by 2015 when there should be a surplus. The Mets were 7 games over .500 between 6/22 and 8/28 without Wright, Harvey and Parnell for 1/2 that time. It can be done.

      • December 2, 2013 at 11:53 am

        I would take that disaster anytime Herb. Look around. Even the Yankees don’t have a dependable 4th or 5th starter. Forget Arroyo or any comparable pitcher on the grounds that they’re asking for multiple years at a price too high for the destitute Mets. If Phil Hughes can get 24 million for three years how much do you think it’ll cost for these inning eaters you are talking about? Not worth the investment.

  2. Metsfan 62
    December 1, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Won’t see any disagreement from me. Especially if any are shut down at 150 innings, we can see who cuts the mustard.

  3. December 1, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    I have no desire to sign any starter to a multi year deal, but they do need an established innings eater in 2014. If they do sign Arroyo or someone, maybe they can trade them in July or next winter?

    • December 1, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      Generally, I’m a huge opponent of signing someone to a multi-year deal with the idea of trading him. That sounds too much like the Marlins blueprint for my liking.

      • December 1, 2013 at 5:36 pm

        Gotta get an arm somehow. Would rather a one year deal though.

  4. Julian McCarthy
    December 1, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    The only thing I disagree with is that Niese could be on his way out soon. Granted, Matz isn’t that far off but in reality he isn’t going to leave unless a tremendous package is offered.

  5. Jim OMalley
    December 1, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    It hate to be the odd guy out but I like Bronson….I think he’d be a good acquisition for the Mets as long as it doesn’t prevent us from picking up a right fielder and a shortstop ….

  6. Metsense
    December 1, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Torres is a very average 5th starter.Mejia starts off as the 4th starter. Montero should be brought up in May and replace Torres in the rotation. Syndergaard should be up in July because of the financial considerations and go to a 6 man rotation.
    The Mets have all these pitchers and they need to be used. A dumpster diving would also be acceptable for depth because a team can not have enough pitching. Sandy needs to spend the remaining $23M on the offense.
    I agree with the concept Brian and the only tweak would be keeping Montero and trading Gee instead.

    • December 1, 2013 at 9:59 pm

      I think you’re selling Torres short. He had trouble with one team (Nationals, I think) but was excellent in his other starts.

      • Metsense
        December 2, 2013 at 8:23 am

        Torres being an average 5th starter was meant as a compliment. I believe the FO does not value him as high. If there are injuries in 2014 I could see him in the rotation all year long.
        Of the 86 NL starters that threw 90 innings here is Torres with his rank. 4.88 FIP (72), 4.89 ERA (70), 1.29 WHIP (45)
        He is a very serviceable 5th starter, a value in fact, that doesn’t cost them a Hughes like 3/24.

    • Jerry Grote
      December 2, 2013 at 8:16 am

      First of all, what is the problem with having an average #5 pitcher on this team, if that guy costs you zippidy-do-dah?

      If Carlos Torres can lay claim to the #5 job this spring, I think that augurs pretty well for the 2014 Mets. I’m certainly less worried about Torres than I am about having four position players with near-negative WARs next year.

  7. Joe Haul
    December 2, 2013 at 9:40 am

    What are they waiting for with Scot Kazmir still available. His 10 wins would’ve been 2nd best on the Mets last year. After coming off his layoff, he only improved as the season went on.His strikeout totals were right where they should be and he should benefit from citified. A left-hander with a huge upside that would also help the Mets from a PR standpoint after they made that awful mistake of originally trading him

    • December 2, 2013 at 11:10 am

      My guess is that Kazmir is looking for a richer deal than Alderson is willing to give.

      FWIW – In his first 20 games last year, Kazmir had a 3.89 ERA and a 1.252 WHIP and in his final 9 games he had a 4.40 ERA and a 1.489 WHIP

      • Jerry Grote
        December 2, 2013 at 11:34 am

        agreed, 100%. There’s nothing about Kazmir that wouldn’t fit … other than the pricetag.

        I mean, even a 4.40 ERA and 1.489 WHip isn’t out of line with what the listed #5 pitcher had for Washington. But Dewiler and Lannon got around $2.4 to $2.5MM last year.

        Kazmir was paid $12MM last year. I don’t think he’s looking to take a $10MM pay cut so he can revisit NYC.

        • Jerry Grote
          December 2, 2013 at 11:35 am

          meant to say, Washington and Philadephia’s #5 pitchers, Detwiler and Lannon.

        • December 2, 2013 at 3:16 pm

          From MetsBlog:

          1:57 pm: The A’s are close to signing LHP Scott Kazmir (Rosenthal). The deal is for two years, $22 million (Bowden).

          • December 3, 2013 at 3:10 am

            And certain Met fans were hoping to sign Kazmir on the cheap side! Amazing what a few extra dollars of revenue can do for a team.(unless you’re the Mets)Do we really need any of the remaining free agent pitchers at those salaries? Do you get the feeling SA is going to wait until the smoke settles and take a flier on whoever is left? Of course he’ll do it at a bargain basement price since everyone else will have filled their needs and there will no competition to raise the price.

    • December 2, 2013 at 11:59 am

      Kazmir was pitching for a new contract. So you’re going to sign him over a guilt complex about trading him? You’re comparing oranges and apples. Plug Kazmir into the Mets lineup and tell me then if he would of won 10 games. If he was that good and that promising why hasn’t anyone picked him up?

  8. NormE
    December 2, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    While I like the idea of a deep pitching staff I truly believe that Sandy Alderson’s top priority has to be upgrading SS. Brian may be correct in his assumptions about the talent level of the Mets’ pitching, but the talent level at SS is poor for the near future. Given the budgetary restraints on Alderson, I think the money that you would give to an Arroyo (or a facsimile) would be better spent on a positional upgrade.

  9. AJ
    December 3, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Well, you can scratch Hefner off the list. Non-tendered, so the front office apparently didn’t see him as worth anything at all.

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