How 2014 has affected the Mets’ 2015 starting rotation

Reverse LogoIn 2015, the Mets expect to have Matt Harvey back in the starting rotation. They also expect to call up Noah Syndergaard from Triple-A Las Vegas and place him on the Major League roster. This leaves them with the dilemma of having more than enough pitchers to try and fit in a five-man starting rotation: Harvey, Hefner, Rafael Montero, Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee, Jon Niese, and Jacob deGrom. Therefore, with nine possible starters, four of them will have to be moved one way or another. But which pitchers will be moved, and how will the Mets go about it? Here are reasons for each pitcher to stay and to be moved.

Matt Harvey: After 26 starts and an amazing 9-5 record with an ERA of 2.27, Mets ace Matt Harvey was shut down due to an elbow injury in 2013. During the offseason, Harvey had Tommy John’s Surgery, and has just resumed pitching off a mound late last week.

Why he should stay: Harvey will be back by the start of the 2015 season and it seems obvious that he will be a Met. After all, he was the most dominant pitcher in the National League at certain points in the 2013 season and finished fourth in Cy Young Award voting that same year. There is no telling what he will be like when returning to the Majors in 2015, but if recent history is any indication, he will come back throwing harder and going deeper into ballgames than he ever did before the surgery.

Why he should be moved: No Mets fan wants to see Harvey dealt this offseason, but Alderson may just trade him for personal reasons. It seems as if Harvey and Alderson have an incredibly hard time getting along and Alderson has let players go for personal reasons before (e.g. Justin Turner). Also, moving Harvey could bring the Mets good fortune. Despite what I wrote earlier, Harvey could come back and be a bust, so it may be for the best that the Mets move him before the season begins. Think of it this way: if the Mets could trade Carlos Beltran for Zack Wheeler and R.A. Dickey for Travis d’Arnaud, Syndergaard, and others, what talent could the Mets possibly receive for the man that started the 2013 All Star Game?

Rafael Montero: Just before the 2014 Subway Series, the Mets brought up Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom, claiming both were ready for the big leagues. However, after just four starts and a 0-2 record, the Mets demoted Montero to Triple-A Las Vegas to try and get his stride back. By season’s end, Montero was recalled and finished the season with a record of 1-3.

Why he should stay: Montero may not have met expectations in his short stint in the MLB, but it could just be that he was brought up at the wrong time. The Mets seemed very confident that Montero was going to be a force to be reckoned with, and his Minor League numbers show no difference. When he was recalled, he showed a little bit of dominance, which may just be enough for him to stay.

Why he should be moved: He may not have panned-out right this season, but Montero is still a top prospect. Therefore, he could have the potential of being traded in a prospect for prospect type deal this offseason. Montero could help a number of different teams, but it seems like the Mets may not be one of them.

Noah Syndergaard: Before the beginning of the 2014 season, rumors were flying that Syndergaard would break into the Majors around the All Star break with the Mets. However, Syndergaard spent his season searching for his stride in Triple-A with the Las Vegas 51’s. At the moment, Syndergaard finished with a record north of .500 and had over 100 strikeouts, so he definitely showed improvement.

Why he should stay: Despite a shaky 2014 season in Triple-A Las Vegas, Syndergaard is yet to pitch in the Major Leagues, so who knows what is in store? He seems to have a lot of potential, and will probably be brought up for Spring Training next year, if not sometime this season. He has a K/9 rate around 10, and a BB/9 rate around 3. Therefore, it seems like there is no doubt that the Mets will keep Syndergaard.

Why he should be moved: The Mets and Rockies have agreed to resume Troy Tulowitzki talks this winter, and the Mets said they would be willing to give up Syndergaard. This may not be a Mets fan’s favorite thing to hear, but think about it…isn’t Tulowitzki replacing Ruben Tejada and Wilmer Flores worth giving up one pitcher?

Zack Wheeler: Wheeler was thought to be the Mets’ second ace to support Harvey in an extremely dominant one-two punch. However, Wheeler struggled mightily this season and finished with a .500 record and an ERA of 3.54.

Why he should stay: Wheeler is signed through the 2020 season, and still has room for improvement. With Harvey coming back from Tommy John’s Surgery next year, he may have some words and tips to share with Wheeler about the ups and downs of being a big leaguer. Wheeler has the potential to be a double-digit game winner and possibly a contender for the Cy Young Award in the future. He has a solid arsenal of pitches, and just needs to find all of them in order to succeed, which he could easily do by next season.

Why he should be moved: Although he is looked at as a piece of the Mets’ future, Wheeler may be able to bring in some new talent if the Mets decided to move him. Wheeler has the capability of being a solid number two pitcher on any team, so he could probably be swapped out for a top pitching prospect and maybe a few other players. Even though it may not seam like the ideal situation, it may be worth it to throw Wheeler’s name out there and see what the Mets can get in return.

Bartolo Colon: As the trade deadline was approached, Colon’s name was linked to teams like the Baltimore Orioles, but he was never traded. Now, he has hit the 200-win milestone, and finished with a 15-13 record on the season with a 4.09 ERA.

Why he should stay: In a staff full of young arms, Colon gives a veteran presence for the players to rely on. He is 41 years-old, and still has another year left on his contract. But despite his old age, Colon seems to get better every year. Including this past season, he has managed to win at least 10 games and pitch over 140 innings. Also, he had over 100 strikeouts this season so he seems to be getting more dominant as time goes on.

Why he should be traded: Three words: he cannot bat.

Dillon Gee: Try and wrap your head around this: at 28 years of age, Gee is tied with Jeremy Hefner as the second oldest pitcher on this list. But either way, Gee is under 30 and has already established himself as a legit starting pitcher. Most of his seasons have been cut short due to injury, but he still has a career record above .500.

Why he should stay: His record may not show it, but Gee had an amazing season so far in 2014. He went 7-8 with an ERA of 4.00, which does not serve him justice, but he still has proven he can be a secret ace of the Mets staff. In the future, Gee will be able to serve as a possible number 2 starter behind Harvey, unless Wheeler and Syndergaard pan out. Still, Gee is a fan favorite and it would be a shame to watch him go.

Why he should be moved: Although Gee has done an amazing job with the Mets so far in his career, he may end up being moved this offseason. Gee can serve as an amazing pitcher on any staff in the Major Leagues and allow the Mets to get a star and/or a few prospects in return. In fact, Gee would probably be a good throw-in for the Tulowitzki deal, as he has pitched well when visiting Coors Field.

Jon Niese: Niese has been on the Mets big league roster 2008 and has been nothing but great every season. Niese went 9-11 with a 3.40 ERA in 2014 and struck out 138 batters.. There were few talks about Niese around the deadline, but enough to make a splash in the trade rumors.

Why he should stay: In 2014, Niese gave up 17 homeruns in 187.2 innings pitched, which was good enough for a 0.8 HR/9 ratio. He has also had over 100 strikeouts in each of the last four seasons and did not fail to impress this past season. Needless to say, it would be a huge loss if Niese were to leave the Mets, but could it be worth it?

Why he should be moved: Niese is 27 years-old and has an extremely bright future ahead of him. Therefore, there is no saying what the Mets could possibly get in return for Niese. Personally, I think he would be a great fit with the Detroit Tigers, as it would give them a rotation of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, David Price, Anibal Sanchez, and Niese.

Jacob deGrom: It seems that in 2014, deGrom truly was the Mets ace. Earlier in the season, I wrote an article explaining why he should be the National League Rookie of the Year. This past season, deGrom pitched quite a gem, taking a no-hitter into the 7th inning, and he also pitched a game in which he struck out the first eight batters he faced.

Why he should stay: deGrom finished the season with an ERA of 2.69 and led all National League rookies with 144 strikeouts. He ended the season 140 innings under his belt, and yet he only gave up only 7 home runs. If the Mets were to move him this offseason, it may even go down as one of the most regretful moves they have made in recent history.

Why he should be moved: Just like almost every other pitcher on this list, the main reason the Mets should consider moving deGrom is because he would bring a plethora of prospects to the team. deGrom is 26 years-old, and is signed through the 2020 season with the Mets. Therefore, whatever team he would end up with would be extremely lucky to have him, and should be willing to give up a few top prospects in order to get him.

With the 2014 season now over for the Mets, is time for the Mets to begin to think about next season. There are still many of questions that need to be answered before next season, such as what next year’s starting rotation will look like. Personally, I believe next years rotation should look like this (and yes…I do realize there is no lefty on the squad):

1. Harvey
2. deGrom
3. Wheeler
4. Gee
5. Syndergaard

21 comments for “How 2014 has affected the Mets’ 2015 starting rotation

  1. Joe Gomes
    October 8, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Which team exactly do you expect to give you top prospects for Harvey when no one knows how he will respond to being a starter again? Did Stratsburg look the same pitcher to you?

    Teams will wait to see how Harvey pitches before they even explore any trade possibilities with the Mets. That might even be the case for Niese and Gee as well.

    Alderson trading Harvey because he dislikes him? I don’t think he is that stupid. He would be crucified after being tarred and feathered. Harvey and deGrom are the biggest reasons right now for Mets fans to come into the stadium.

  2. Chris F
    October 8, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Wow, this was quite a read. You should be aware, Hef re-tore his UCL. He will not be pitching in 2015. Trading Harvey is insane. He and SA dont need to be life partners. Of the “untouchables” (a term I generally dont like), he would be numbers 1-5. In any event the Mets do need to evaluate the staff, but the plethora is never as deep as it seems. Injury takes a toll. Its easy to envision trading Colon, Niese and Gee, and with club friendly contracts (N+G), likely easy to unload. I dont think you get much, but maybe some bench depth or someone way down the pipeline. I have to tell you, trading a pitcher because he “cannot bat” is really sort of short sighted.Most pitchers can learn to bunt, and should be taught to do so. Otherwise letting them get up and hack is fine if they can hurl 21 outs and a couple runs…occasionally a bat finds a double.

    • October 8, 2014 at 4:44 pm

      The Hefner part has been removed.

  3. Rob
    October 8, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    The Mets have a ridiculous plethora of arms who should be starters. Keep Niese and let the young arms battle it out for #5 (Harvey, Wheeler and DeGrom are given). It’s unreal that your list doesn’t even include Matz or Verret, with other great young arms coming.

  4. Metsense
    October 8, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Any two of Niese, Gee and Colon should be traded.
    Montero could be the fifth starter. Then again so could Syndergaard and then again so could Matz. That leaves the Mets with seven starters not including Torres and any other AAA pitcher that excels.
    The Mets should make the best deal they can for a left fielder and/or a shortstop without giving up any of their pre-arbitration pitchers.

  5. October 9, 2014 at 12:36 am

    Dan you need to update your blog. Unless you’re doing a fantasy baseball. Max Scherzer is a FA now so how are you going to envision him in a Detroit uniform? That’s why Dombrowski traded for Price because Scherzer-Boras turned down his offer.
    Before this season I would be all in for Tulo. But his inability to play a full season (47,126.91 the past 3 seasons) should make the FO very hesitant to pull the trigger. I don’t see the Mets taking on Tulo and the 100 million dollars remaining on his contract even if the Rockies were to eat a portion of it.

    • TexasGusCC
      October 9, 2014 at 1:32 am

      Have to agree with Metsense above and I find myself agreeing with Pete quite often, but I disagree in part this time. The Mets would love to see the Rockies eat half of Tulo’s salary, but to give up the boatload of talent to get a fragile superstar that will now be 30 is not easy to do. Would the Mets give up what the Rockies want, say Plawecki, Thor, Niese, Murphy, and Robles? I would rather eat the whole salary of $118 for six years and give them Montero, Murphy, Tapia, and Niese

      Tulo’s is the best SS in the game, but is always hurt. Murphy has one year left, Montero is a good pitcher but a prospect, Niese is a good pitcher but you have to give something, and so is Tapia.

      • October 9, 2014 at 3:17 am

        Niese and Murphy add up to 16 million or so. Maybe add Mejia as a young SP along with Montero and the Rockies will bite? How much do the Rockies take back from Tulo’s contract? If any? And now that the Rockies have made a change in the front office does that affect any talks moving forward?

        • TexasGusCC
          October 9, 2014 at 3:36 am

          Tulo’s is only making $19MM per year, not earth shattering in today’s market. So, Wilpon crying aside, you have to give better than a good reliever with Niese and one year of Murphy. How about your three guys and Leathersich or Yona or Mazzoni?

  6. October 9, 2014 at 3:58 am

    Sounds fair for both teams. Now if our GM has the cojones to make a trade like that.

  7. jmhammer
    October 9, 2014 at 8:32 am

    This article is more about not liking Harvey. The so -called sportswriters here think Harvey has too much of an ego so they badmouth him. Last year it was the same with Ike Davis. If you get on the bad side of these guys, they write this kind of garbage about the player. A real sportswriter would set his personal feelings aside. Not these guys, if they don’t like you, your fair game. You can answer all there questions but if they don’t like you…watchout !

    • Chris F
      October 9, 2014 at 11:47 am

      I see some truth to that. Harvey has his media moments, but hell, Id think the press would love because he drums up so much! Nevertheless, get on the wrong side and there will be issues. I will disagree with linking Harvey and Ike though. THe main difference being that Harvey performed like a Cy Young nominee, whereas Ike was batting and fielding in the toidy. I had plenty bad to say about Ike, not because of him as a person, but because he evolved into a failure between the lines. Im glad he was traded and we got anything in return. Otherwise I would have given him an unconditional release.

      • jmhammer
        October 10, 2014 at 8:35 am

        The Davis thing is not about performance. Last year in spring training, Mike Vacarro and Davis had an argument because Vaccaro printed something Davis asked them not to. Every sportswriter on this site pummelled Ike every day until he was dealt. It’s beyond whether or not Ike played well or not. It’s about having some integrity.Today, these so-called sportswriters have none. Anyone is fair game in their eyes, even if you cooperate on every question asked.

    • Name
      October 10, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      I fail to see how this article is about not liking Harvey. The writer here explained the situation as it is without giving his opinion: There is a tension between Harvey and the Mets and that is a reason to trade him. How is that an attack/garbage on Harvey?

      I think you need to put your personal feelings aside and actually read the contents of the article

  8. eric
    October 9, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Wheeler struggled mightily with a .500 record and 3.54 ERA, while Niese, who was 9-11 with a 3.40 ERA was nothing but great. Colon keeps getting better even though his record and ERA declined – in the NL – from previous seasons, and Dillon Gee had an amazing season with a 7-8 record and 4 ERA and would be a number 2 on any staff. Okie.

    • Chris F
      October 9, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      “…Dillon Gee had an amazing season with a 7-8 record and 4 ERA and would be a number 2 on any staff.”

      Like say, the Dodgers, No. Nationals, No. Orioles, No. A’s, No. Royals, No. Cardinals, No. Marlins, No. Phillies, No. Braves, No. and so forth. In reality, Gee and Niese are end of rotation guys on a competitive club. Gee, really more like a 6 or 7 guy.

      • eric
        October 9, 2014 at 3:27 pm

        My post was meant as sarcasm in response to some pretty amazing statements in the article.

        • Chris F
          October 9, 2014 at 5:02 pm

          ahhhhhhhhh, sorry about that…..looks like were rowing in the same boat then! accept my apologies!

          • Eric
            October 10, 2014 at 2:34 pm

            none necessary – i still haven’t mastered the fine art of written sarcasm. Glad to know there are others rowing in the same direction.

  9. Raff
    October 9, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Dan- I love your enthusiasm, but your proposed staff pitched 595 innings in 2014. Lets even assume that Harvey returns with 140 innings, or so- That’s optimistic, but it yields 735 innings. There are 1460 innings to cover, including the relief staff. Additionally, you’ve got Gee, with a somewhat “wobbly” arm- Can we count on him to give us the same 140 innings? Niese and Colon accounted for 389 innings, at an avg era of about 3.80. If I’m wishing for 6 innings per start, I need 972 innings from my starters.You’ve got, at best- 750. You’re at least 1 starter short of a bare-minimum. You need more horses. You’re *not* my GM 😉

  10. Phil K
    October 13, 2014 at 2:17 am

    The Mets 2015 Starting Rotation, in my opinion should look this:

    1. DeGrom
    2. Harvey
    3. Wheeler
    4. Niese (don’t trade him – he’s a lefty)
    5. Gee*

    * I’m not sure Syndergaard is ready yet

    Colon is gone either way

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