Not putting Jenrry Mejia in the rotation is a crime

Jenrry MejiaAh, spring training. The one time when losing is acceptable and the Mets have done a ton of it. Several hours after the loss to the Cardinals on Sunday I read a review of the game on a few websites, as I had not watched it, and there were a couple bright spots; Curtis Granderson doubled, Brandon Nimmo had a hit, and Steven Matz struck out a pair. However, with these bright spots a right hook to the face by Mike Tyson in his prime came: Terry Collins prefers Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lannan to Jenrry Mejia for the fifth spot in the rotation. This opinion by Collins really irked me and here’s why.

To begin, I have agreed with all of Sandy Alderson’s decisions this offseason (with the notable exception of the first base situation), from the signing of Granderson to not acquiring a new shortstop. The acquisition of Matsuzaka and Lannan were good ideas for a fallback option in the case of a Mejia injury or a complete loss of pitching skills. With this comes risk because, of course, Collins and Co. took them as serious contenders for the 5th spot. What is interesting about the possibility of their presence in the rotation is that the Mets tried to avoid over-spending in the offseason. I’m not going to sit here and criticize Alderson for not signing Nelson Cruz – that wasn’t his fault – but why would he not at least attempt to go all-in for two starters if he was going to be serious about filling the rotation? He’s signing two pitchers that are down on their luck and could make up to $1.5 -$2 million if they made the team, but he was trying so hard to go under a $100 million payroll. Why spend more money than is needed? Mejia is going to earn league minimum and will probably be pitching better than either of the other options. While $1 – $2 million is a fraction of the Mets’ payroll right now, the Mets should decide if they want to spend money or save it for a great player next offseason. Stop creating a paradox Mr. Alderson.

I can almost guarantee that Collins’ reasoning for these two pitchers making the rotation is for “veteran leadership.” In all honesty, I love veteran leadership on a young squad (i.e. John Buck), but there is a 40-year old former CY Young award winner on this staff. What more do you want? The clear argument is that Colon can’t speak much English, but he would be tutoring one of his fellow “Dominican Mafia” members so what does it matter? What kind of advice is Zack Wheeler going to receive from pitchers that are the polar opposite of him? Plus, Jon Niese is already considered a veteran and Dillon Gee probably has the most advice anyone can give after overcoming a serious blood clot and then hitting rock-bottom. This is not to say that Matsuzaka or Lannan couldn’t provide leadership, but the position players need advice more than the pitching staff.

As most Mets will remember, the spring of 2010 was the beginning of excellence for Mejia. Unfortunately, Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya decided that it was an absolute necessity to have him make the roster. This caused Mejia to pitch in a very ineffective way and throw off his development. His progress was put on hold until late 2012 when he produced a couple of shaky starts. When Mejia was finally given the chance in 2013, he figured everything out in his first brief five starts. It was all that the Mets had hoped for and to stop him now would be the biggest crime of all. The Mets have wanted the young players they painstakingly developed over the past few years to come up and make positive contributions to the team. How would it look if the Mets chose an outsider that is approaching, or already on, the wrong side the 30 over a homegrown pitcher that could be dominant for about 100-120 innings?

Mejia is not only the best suited for the job, but also he is the favorite of most fans and might become the best pitcher for a few months. The way that I see it, Minaya produced three great things during his tenure; a Cy Young Winner from nowhere, a ton of debt, and lots of foreign talent (i.e. Wilmer Flores & Mejia). Alderson has disassembled two of the three, for the better, and ruining Minaya’s greatest achievement would be just cruel. The Mets haven’t made the greatest decisions over the past decade and they certainly have not picked the right players for spots on the roster recently, but just this once Collins – pick the right man.

25 comments for “Not putting Jenrry Mejia in the rotation is a crime

  1. pal88
    March 4, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    I agreee…mejia is owed a shot especially how jerry Manuel & company affected his career

    • Herb
      March 4, 2014 at 10:05 pm

      IMO, the decision to pass on Mejia for the #5 spot has nothing to do with veteran leadership. It soesn’t even have to do with who has the best spring or who is best for the job. It’s all about keeping 2 valuable, inexpensive assets for much needed depth. Both Dice-K and Lannan have opt out clauses in their deals, and I strongly believe that Alderson wants to keep them for depth. Hence, you’re gonna see Dice-K starting and Lannan in the pen come opening day. Once they are in the fold, I think you will see Mejia move into the rotation with the first trip to the DL by a starter, maybe sooner if Dice-K falters.

      • Name
        March 4, 2014 at 10:12 pm

        “It’s all about keeping 2 valuable, inexpensive assets for much needed depth”

        -This couldn’t be more false.

        Valuable? Guys who can’t get MLB contracts are not valuable.
        Inexpensive? Mejia is making the min. Dice-K/Lannan both have a 1.5 million base + incentives.
        Much needed Depth? Lannan can be sent to the minors with an opt out mid-June. The Mets have 7 other capable starters come opening day and more ready by mid-June.

        • March 6, 2014 at 12:14 am

          I feel Lannan should make the team if he has a good spring mainly in the bullpen. The Mets only have one dependable lefty in the pen now, in Scott Rice. Also possible start against teams with dominating lefty hitting line up. I believe Mejia time has come. Also early in the season possibly go with 6 starters, since they limit some pitchers inning every year.

      • Chance2
        March 5, 2014 at 10:12 am

        I hope that Mejia is handled carefully, but I agree with Herb.  I would not let Daisuke or Lannan get away (assuming they pitch well, which they may do since injuries may have caused their earlier sub-par performances).

        There’s so much to consider in making these decisions, but I wonder how often a team has gotten through a season with only five starters.

        The depth they provide would also give us more freedom to trade pitching talent when the time comes, whether it’s one of them, Colon, or a young guy.

      • Carlt
        March 5, 2014 at 6:11 pm

        Herb could not have said it better. IMO you are dead on.

    • brettg
      March 6, 2014 at 4:26 pm

      a crime would be starting niese and mejia. neither one should be rushed and should be starting slowly. i wouldnt pitch wheeler either until at least the 8th or 9th game. hes on an innings limit. why waste his innings immediately?

  2. March 4, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Couldn’t agree with you more. If Mejia is healthy he needs to be in the rotation. Quite frankly Collins indicating he slots in better as long reliever is baffling. Isn’t that supposed to be Carlos Torres role? I’d rather see Mejia in AAA and his innings limited to start the year as a starter than even consider putting him in the bullpen. It’s early in camp so all this could change but not sure Valverde or Farnsworth have anything left in the tank and it is looking like Lannan might have to be second lefty as Edgin has taken a step backwards and Leathersich needs serious help with his mechanics. Unless Mets sign or trade for a veteran I’d like to see bullpen as Parnell (CL), Lannan (Lefty), Rice (Lefty), Torres (long man- righty), Vic Black (8th inning -rhp), Jeurys Familia (8th inning – rhp) and one veteran to be named later or if I had to choose between Farnsworth and Valverde I would choose Valverde. Hears hoping that Mejia is the Mets 5th starter as he is option with highest upside.

    • March 4, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      I would actually like to see Gonzalez Germen be given a shot. He had a 2.82 ERA before a four appearance blow-up, and then proceeded to have a 2.25 ERA afterwards. In my humble opinion, the opening day bullpen should be:
      CL) Parnell
      SU) Black
      LOOGY) Rice
      MR) Familia
      MR) Germen
      LR) Torres
      Final Spot battle; Edgin, Lannan, Farnsworth, Valverde, Walters

      If Edgin figures everything out, he should earn the spot. However, it is all going to come down to whether or not Collins wants another 1-inning guy, or a long relief. Farnsworth is pretty much gone but Valverde has formed a little group- giving him a small edge. Walters should be considered, but he needs to at least touch AAA.

  3. March 4, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Not to jump ship on this topic but Mejia possibly getting shut out of rotation got me thinking. Which rotation would Mets fan most like to see, the Mets projected rotation of Colon, Niese, Gee, Wheeler, and Matsuzaka or the potential AAA rotation of Syndergaard, Montero, Mejia, DeGrom, and Cory Mazzoni?

  4. since68
    March 4, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Mejia has never pitched over 100 innings. The normal increase is 30 innings.
    What happens in July when he hits 130?

    • March 4, 2014 at 9:27 pm

      He’s 24, he needs to put upon a challenge at this point. I see 90-120 innings for him. After he has reached his limit, I see Montero/Syndergaard taking over his spot. I also see Colon being traded at the deadline (discussion for another day), making the other debut.

  5. March 4, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    Julian I was wondering if you know if Colon speaks English? Colon can teach by example and even if he doesn’t speak English (I’m sure the Mets have bilingual players) can show the kids how to “pitch” out of jams. Mets payroll sits at 75.4 million as of today(Cot’s). Add 13 minimum salaries and you get 82 million dollars. I think SA is waiting for the price to come down on Drew so payroll will come in again this year at about 92-94 million dollars. If Mejia does not win the 5th starter job then send him to Vegas and let him start the season there where he can be called up if and when a starter gets injured.

    • Julian McCarthy
      March 5, 2014 at 7:51 pm

      I am not positive that he speaks only Spanish. However, in all the interviews that I have seen of him, have been Colon speaking pure spanish. That being said, he should have at least a below-average grasp on English after being here for 16 seasons.

  6. Name
    March 4, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    “This is not to say that Matsuzaka or Lannan couldn’t provide leadership”

    If this is the basis of TC’s argument, I couldn’t disagree more. What young pitcher is going to listen to a soft tossing lefty 28 year old AAAA pitcher and a washed up, ultra-slow working, non-English speaking Japanese with very little major league success? What kind of leadership can a guy who most fans don’t think deserves a spot on the roster provide? I also don’t buy Colon’s leadership value; this guy is a convicted cheater and not in the best of shape. People need to stop equating old with leadership. It’s something that is earned.

    If TC’s argument for Dice-K/Lannan is because of depth, i’d understand the rationale but still disagree. I believe(not entirely sure though) Lannan is able to be sent to the minors without his permission with his opt out date being in mid-June. Dice-K can’t be sent to the minors. Even if Dice-K doesn’t agree to go to the minors, the Mets still have 7 viable starters by opening Day (Niese, Wheeler, Gee, Colon, Mejia, Torres, Lannan). By the end of April, Montero and deGrom will likely also be viable options. By mid-June Thor will be ready. There is ample depth without Dice-K in my opinion. Also, if the Mets carry Mejia over Lannan, they are able to option Mejia to the minors, there is no such luxury if they take Lannan first.

    If TC’s argument for Mejia in the bullpen because of innings, I understand the rationale but still disagree. In my opinion, it would be a good problem to have Mejia reach 130 innings. In order for that to happen, he would have had to thrown 130 effective innings, which means he would have had a solid season. An analogy is like worrying about not hiring enough workers for your business when the business hasn’t even opened yet as in order to have that problem it must have meant the business was doing well, something that is not given. I would also point to Matt Harvey as exhibit A for innings limit problem; he solved that problem all by himself.

    All things considered, I still can’t find a reason for not choosing Mejia over Dice-K/Lannan.

  7. Glenn
    March 4, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    I could not agree with you more. I believe that Mejia actually has much more upside than even Rafael Montero and should be given the shot. However, in fairness to Omar Minaya – you left out his greatest achievement of all which was drafting a young pitcher named Matt Harvey in 2010.

  8. blastingzone
    March 4, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    This is one example of why I can’t stand Terry Collins and why I think he sucks as a manager! Before spring training TC said Mejia, Dice K, Lannan, etc would compete for the 5th spot now he’s saying that Dice K and Lannan are competing for the 5th spot and next week it will be the ball boy! He said this before Mejia thru a pitch! Let them all compete for the 5th spot plus Montero and Degrom too! If Mejia pitches like he did last year and stays healthy he should win hands down but that’s TC always putting his foot in his mouth! I can give you several more examples of TC’s stupidity but I’ll run out of space! Funny when Syndergaard is
    ready in mid june it won’t matter who the 5th starter is because Thor will take it away! If not then somebody else will go to the bull pen or get traded to make room!!

    • TexasGusCC
      March 5, 2014 at 12:29 am

      They wont get traded because the FO will want an arm and a leg. Further, TC is the most disrespected manager I remember. How he has survived is beyond me. Plus, I don’t buy the respected in the club house crap. It’s a team of young kids that won’t say much because the veterans are always on the field, no matter what, and the veterans are mostly barely able to keep a job in most cases. After David Wright, and before Colon and Granderson, who did the Mets have that had achieved anything and had the status to speak up? No one.

  9. Patrick Albanesius
    March 5, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Even if Matsuzaka or Lannan start the year with NY, does anyone see them ending the year there?

    • Julian McCarthy
      March 5, 2014 at 7:49 pm

      Not even in the slightest, I see them getting traded at the deadline or sent down due to poor production.

  10. Metsense
    March 5, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    Four years after the Minaya/Manual job preservation promotion, Mejia should finally take his place, at age 24, in the Met rotation this spring. In 2013,( with a very small sample size of only 27 innings), he would have ranked: 2.46 FIP (3), 2.30 ERA (4), 1.17 WHIP (22). Of course it would be impossible to expect these numbers over a full season. The point is that when he finally got to pitch, he was able to show his vast potential. The same potential that was misguided and misused in 2010.
    The problem arises that Mejia has only pitched a total of 113 maximum innings in any one season (2012) and only 52 innings in 2013. Therefore, a “generous” expectation for 2014, based on the policy of this front office is 143 innings or 24 starts. I’ll sign up for that.
    If Mejia earns the spot, he should be able to stretch out to 140 innings before the imposed innings limit sets in. In theory, that could be 20 starts (120 innings) leaving 20 innings for long relief outings. The other 12 starts could then go to Syndergaard who would get an “after Super 2″ call up. Syndergaard would need to s on his AAA 5 inning per start limit for this to work.
    Mejia can be a real difference maker for the 2014 Mets, high production from an unlikely source.

    • March 6, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      terry Collins should stop his poor judging of talent, and make mejia the #5 starter and send those grampas to the bullpen or to rest in the minor leagues, we are the fans, we want mejia.

  11. March 7, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Do you think today’s performances will be enough to convince TC that not having Mejia as the 5th starter is a completely daft idea?

    • March 8, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      Last year TC said something that amounted to “sing training was a waste.” So long Collin Cowgill! I have the feeling Tc has never had faith in his minor leaguers. That is why Mejia and Montero probably, won’t make the team at the beginning of the season. In yesterday game with the Cards, Tejada made one excellent play on a relay throw getting the runner at third. He also made two awful plays on ground balls, one which he was charged with an error. He has showed nothing at bat. It’s still early in Spring Training. Davis and Duda haven’t played all week, this has not help making a decision on either one. Next week spring training will be half way over and nothing is proven yet, or even close to a decision to make yet. To me Chris Young doesn’t look all that good in Center Field, and I feel sending Laguares back down to the minors would be a bad decision. Just my reading of thing so far.

  12. brettg
    March 8, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    The opening day roster is not indicative of who are the better players. The same can be said for the entire month of April for that matter. There are innings limits. Minor league innings aren’t the same as major league innings. Hopefully dice k and lannan pitch well enough to trade them. I don’t want to see niese or Parnell to start the year either. Maybe valverde and Farnsworth will prove trade able as well. Start the old guys and bring the kids up one at a time.

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