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?
Of 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!”