How long is the leash for Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom?

Jacob deGromAfter losing yet again last night, falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3, the Mets find themselves once again in last place. After a decent start to the season, they were 15-11 on April 29, the Mets have lost 14 of their last 19 games and are now five games under .500, while occupying the NL East basement all to themselves.

Several factors weigh heavily into the Mets recent funk. Notably, the offense has been wretched and even worse has been the performance of the bullpen. Among the factors hindering the Mets thus far this year, starting pitching has been the least of their problems.

However, that’s not to say that the rotation hasn’t been a problem.

Who knew losing Dillon Gee would be so devastating?

At the same time the Mets shifted Jenrry Mejia to the bullpen and Gee going on the DL on May 14, the team has gone 1-6. We have documented the struggles of Bartolo Colon and Zack Wheeler enough already here. So it begs the question, are Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom ready for prime time?

Collectively, they have made four starts, and while three of those have been quality outings, they still have combined to allow 12 earned runs in 23.1 innings pitched while giving up 20 hits and 11 walks. More alarming is the six home runs they have allowed in those 23.1 innings. Between the high number of walks and home runs, it has been an inauspicious start for Montero and deGrom.

Surely, this is a small sample size and they definitely need more time to mature and grow into their roles. Besides, with Gee set to come back sometime next week, one of them is either being demoted or moved to the bullpen. It was supposed to be deGrom that was pushed to the bullpen, but aside from the home run binge on Wednesday night, he has looked the better of the two. Nevertheless, both have shown some holes in their pitching.

Most rookie pitchers will have their usual set of ups and downs and that’s ok, it’s perfectly natural. But can they be able to keep the Mets afloat while the team continues to flounder?

The Mets are on the brink of breaking down completely, and if they don’t show signs of life soon, the season may collapse from beneath them. It should be interesting to see how the team responds and how long of a leash Montero and deGrom get and what exactly their roles will be going forward. Also of note is, when do the Mets bring up the most-heralded prospect on the farm in Noah Syndergaard and make the rotation even more crowded? The Mets at some point this season will have seven quality starters (excluding Daisuke Matsuzaka and Mejia) for five spots.

Obviously, the Mets need to get back the services of Gee and fast. Maybe it will all be for naught, as the Mets may be headed for another losing season. But it should be interesting to see how long Montero and deGrom will last (not to mentioned how they’ll be used) with the Mets while they are up here.

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12 comments for “How long is the leash for Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom?

  1. May 22, 2014 at 8:11 am

    I think it hurts more not to have a veteran catcher to calm the kids down. Montero at times is just rearing back and grooving his fastball. You can get away with that in AAA but in the majors good hitters always catch up to your fastball especially when it’s left out over the plate. Neither one is a pitcher yet. As for keeping the Metantic afloat? Good luck with that illusion. We continue to be underwhelmed by the bullpen and lack of managerial skills at the top. So what’s going to be different in 2015?

  2. blastingzone
    May 22, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Its not going to matter for this year at least as the mets season just slips deeper and deeper away! In a week or two the mets season will be over and then they should keep both
    Montero and Degrom in the rotation and then trade Gee, Niese, or Colon or maybe even Wheeler(at least two) so Syndergaard will have an opening too and let them get the experience they need for next year and for years to come and then fire Terry Collins!!

  3. Patrick Albanesius
    May 22, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Of the two, I think deGrom has looked more polished. He also has the better fastball to set up his other pitches, he just doesn’t use it aggressively enough at times. Montero’s fastball doesn’t have enough life or location at the moment to consider him a realistic competitor in the starting five. With more seasoning, he might be. I think Montero will be sent down when Gee comes back, and if everything stays the same, deGrom will probably head to the bullpen once Thor comes up. To be fair though, even the bullpen hasn’t been as bad as the Mets Slugging and RISP hitting. 6-41 with bases loaded is not professional hitting. The look on Keith, Ron and Gary’s faces during the postgame still shot says it all most nights.

  4. Jim OMalley
    May 22, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Right now….the Mets are just cannon fodder.

    Love ‘em. But heart-breaking to endure. We should strongly consider bringing up Backman.

  5. May 22, 2014 at 10:55 am

    It’s not just the return of Gee but of Germen, too. It’s an interesting decision or three that the Mets have on their hands with what to do with their future while the present slips away.

    I don’t think there’s any one right answer but it will be significant if the Mets end up keeping both in the majors or if they send both back to the minors.

  6. Chris F
    May 22, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Im beginning to wonder if we really need to be asking the question, “how long is the leash on Sandy Alderson?”. Overall the team, if you could call it that anymore, is a collection of shifting faces with little hope for building the type of stable architecture requisite to win at this level. It is quite possible the Mets could be out of the season in the next couple weeks. The season’s data can no longer be classified as “small sample size”. What we are seeing is exactly the same problems that have existed in every season under Alderson:

    1. The Home Field Disadvantage. The Mets play in NY is an abomination. As it stands, Atlanta is not the house of horrors, nor is that monstrosity in Miami. The House of Horrors is Citi Field. Where opponents bats are magically transformed into titanium, while our Louisville Sluggers seem to be closer to balsa wood. Grade by the FO: F.

    2. Bull Pen. Whether its Beato, Rauch, Frank Frank, Valverde, Farnsworth, Edgin or any others on the list of shame, Alderson has failed to create a decent in 4 tries. It’s my feeling he actually doesnt care about the pen, which is sad given the total fetish the field skipper has for relief arms. Grade by the FO: F.

    3. Lack of Offense. Where oh where is the critically needed offense. Sure we score runs in big bouts occasionally, and the just short come-back runs pile on like mad, but futility at bringing the ducks in is unbearable. Three on, one out? You can bet money a base clearing double is not coming, but a looking K followed by a pop up to the first baseman in foul ground has a high chance. The FO has failed to really address hitting, unless you call paying CY 7+M$ the solution to the problem. Grade by the FO: F.

    4. Line up…what line up? The FO fails to build a team that respects the home park (build a team based on where you play) and holistically fits the requirements to have a synergistic active roster. Instead of addressing actual holes in the field and in the batting order, Alderson seems to just fill the grocery cart by knocking things off the shelf. In the end there is a lot of stuff, but non of the ingredients to make a whole meal. That we dont have a lead off hitter or a number 4 bat, but 4 outfielders and a regiment of first basemen is shameful.

    5. The Kids. We have been sold on a future of the coming generation. Yet much of the sucess generated so far is hang over from the Minaya days. Alderson’s dealings have mostly been busts. Furthermore, the failure to season the youth properly, and bring them up in a meaningful manner defies explanation. Whether it be Kirk, Flores, Mejia, Edgin or whoever, I have little confidence that the FO is doing anything other than waiting out super 2 and then promoting people in the hopes that more “loyal fans” show up at the House of Horrors. Grade of FO: F.

    6. Marketing. Not solely on baseball operations, but surely part of it is that this team cannot walk and chew gum at the same time. Every single action looks like its being carried out by rank amateurs, whether it be Harvey and rehab or his twitter acct, the loyal fan letter, banner day, the lack of a Mets-centric ball park, Mookie-gate, or anything at all, this team has absolutely no sense of connection with its fans or how to even talk with the fans. Jay Horwitz is a complete failure. Team grade: F.

    7. Coaching staff. Ugh. The list is too long. Grade by FO: F.

    All in all, the Alderson adminstration has seen the exact same thing year after year with the exact same results. The only “winning” aspect of the team is that this FO has saved the team from forced sale by the owners. In the end, that may be the only thing that matters. The Wilpon’s have no interest in the Mets, but interest in being in the little fraternity of franchise ownership…that is the “win” regardless of what happens on the grass.

    • Metsense
      May 22, 2014 at 11:46 am

      Well thought out response Chris F. I concur wholeheartedly. The results have been abysmal.
      Dan, in the article you state that starting pitching is the least of their problems. 19th place in ERA for a heralded staff means that the starting pitching is not as good as we fans believe.
      Montero and deGrom should only be in the rotation if they are better pitchers than who is now starting. The best of the two can start when Gee comes back and when Syndergaard comes up after Super 2 then maybe it is time to reevaluate the Colon and Wheeler production. Even the starting pitching is not producing to our expectations.

      • Dan Stack
        May 22, 2014 at 3:23 pm

        True Metsense. It’s just that the bullpen and offense is masking their (staff) struggles I guess.

    • Jerry Grote
      May 23, 2014 at 9:15 am

      Well said.

      Press and the fans (Me? Guilty) give Alderson an awful lot of credit for his trades.

      We have an incredible paucity of talent that is above average in Queens. Sandy has dispensed with four talents that were better than league average (another that was about league average) when he traded them away. What help has he brought to QUEENS?

      Reyes: Nothing. In two full seasons since he’s left, Reyes has produced 6.6 WAR.
      Beltran: right now, a #3 pitcher that has contributed about 1.0 WAR. Beltran? Almost 6 WAR.
      Byrd: Nothing. Byrd has produced nearly 3 WAR over less than a single season.
      Dickey: Actually a *negative* WAR. Dickey has at least produced 2.0 WAR in Toronto.
      Davis: Nothing. Not even an authentic AAA player so far.

      Stop with the magic beans and hopium; stop telling me that we’ve built a great funnel. Sandy Alderson has literally drafted nothing that will play in Queens until 2016. He’s raped the roster and replaced it with nothing that not only has played in Queens but also likely will NOT deliver WAR in Queens in substantial numbers until 2015 (if that).

      He’s actually been terrible at acquiring major league talent, and to my understanding that is his main task.

      • Name
        May 23, 2014 at 7:44 pm

        It seems like Sandy has more fun in building a farm system, and he does that at the expense of the major league team rather than with the major league team. It’s not impossible to do both, the Braves are one example.
        It seems like the Mets could head on one of two outcomes right now. They could break out like the Rays did in 08 with their homegrown talent, or they could continually push back “ETA for winning” like the Royals, who have been prospect-rich for quite a while and filled with young talent but cant win.

        It’s really the safe strategy out there. If you fail, well you just blame the prospects for failing. If you don’t win, you just tell people to look at the farm and the future. If you win, you’re lauded.

        No one called Sandy out in 2011 when we were 55-51 on July 29th and just 6.5 games out of a wild card spot and could have used a bullpen piece.
        No one called him out in 2012 either when we entered the ASB 46-40 with good morale and again needing maybe just a bullpen piece or some minor pieces. He chose not to act and we fell apart after the break.
        I’m glad that people are finally starting to get frustrated with Sandy in 2014.

  7. Name
    May 22, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Don’t give the SP a free pass either. They’re equally, if not more, to blame for this slide as well. Over the last 30 days, they are 2nd to last in ERA in the NL. Over the last 14 days, they are last.
    SP wins games. Ours are not producing right now.

    • Dan Stack
      May 22, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      Yep, almost everyone is to blame these days.

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