When the Mets tendered Mike Pelfrey a contract in December, the club went ahead and gave the soon-to-be 28 year old one last chance at glory.
This is make-or-break time for Pelfrey. 2012 will be his last year to prove what kind of pitcher he actually is and salvage his reputation as a productive and trusted pitcher.
Actually, if you ask any Mets’ fans what Pelfrey is, they’ll bluntly tell you who he is. Most portray him as a meandering, inconsistent and at best average picture.
Those definitions wouldn’t be out of line, since Pelfrey has certainly underwhelmed in his time with the Mets. His career numbers don’t scream out prolific front-line material. In his six years, Pelfrey has registered 50 wins (with 54 losses) with a career 4.74 ERA and 1.46 WHIP.
Pelfrey has been at the brunt of most Mets’ fans ire for years because-fair or not-he embodies what the Mets and their flailing ownership represent: broken promises.
After being drafted in the first round (9th overall) in the 2005 Amateur draft from Wichita State, Pelfrey was supposed to usher in a new era in Mets’ lore where the Mets could count on home-grown prospects and not rely on going outside and bringing in like pitchers like Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, Mike Hampton etc. to carry the rotation. (Much like how Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler are being hyped these days).
As Brian Joura pointed out on Monday, offense likely won’t be the Mets problem in 2012. The pitching, well that’s a different story. Pelfrey and his ability to produce is just another in a long line of question marks surrounding Mets’ pitchers.
Can the Mets expect Johan Santana to stay healthy and provide dependable innings?
Can the Mets score enough runs to make R.A. Dickey a consistent winner?
Can the Mets get a good second half from Jon Niese?
Can Dillon Gee cut down his walk ratio?
If you accept Pelfrey at face value, then it’s easier to accept his shortcomings. Pelfrey is a solid innings eater who’ll give you a good number of quality outings sprinkled with some epic meltdowns. After six years with the Mets, he is not going to be an ace. So, this season he will have one last chance to step up or he’ll likely be pitching somewhere else in 2013.
For Pelfrey to be successful, he needs to develop a mean streak and not be so tentative. He has to take the metaphorical bulls by the horn. No more pussyfooting around. However, that has not been Pelfrey’s demeanor and it may never will be.
Pelfrey just doesn’t see like the type of pitcher who can thrive pitching in New York and the scrutiny that comes with it.
Maybe a change of scenery could be the ultimate respite for Pelfrey. If Pelfrey gets off to a good start and the Mets are out of contention, then there stands a good chance he could become trade bait come next season’s trade deadline.
If Pelfrey and the Mets are to coexist in harmony, then 2012 will be his last year to prove so.
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