published by Keith Gendron March 24, 2014.
It became official today, as manager Terry Collins named Dillon Gee the opening day starter next Monday at Citifield against the Washington Nationals. He has pitched well against them in his career and was 4-2 in 2013. But, after Gee no announcements have been made. The thinking is Bartolo Colon will be the #2, followed by Zach Wheeler and either Daisuke Matsuzaka or Jenrry Mejia to pitch game 4. With the off day on April 1st, the Mets won’t need 5 starters the first time through. On April 6th if Jon Niese is finally healthy, he is supposed to get slotted in the rotation against the Cincinnati Reds.
Mejia and Matsuzaka have made the decision harder to make who will get penciled in as the number 5 in the rotation with their most recent starts in Florida. Yesterday, Mejia pitched 5 innings versus the Nationals giving up 1 run on 2 hits, striking out 6 and walking one. Today, Matsuzaka pitched 6 innings against the Cardinals giving up 1 run on 3 hits, walking 3 and striking out 5. I have been in Mejia’s corner to be in the Mets’ rotation since last year when he pitched 5 effective games before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow. Unfortunately, Mejia will likely begin the season in Vegas as Matsuzaka would get $100,000 retainer if he isn’t on the Mets major league roster or released by noon tomorrow. With that in mind, expect Dice-K to be the number 5, but if an injury occurs Mejia will get the call.
At some point in July, the rotation will have the additions of Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard. This graduation will most likely lead to Niese(if he has been healthy and pitched well)and possibly Colon(if he hasn’t hurt himself running bases)to be trade chips. Montero, Mejia or Syndergaard could possibly end up in the bullpen when approaching their innings cap.
This season should remain entertaining deeper into summer than in recent seasons, but 2015 with the return of Matt Harvey will be one in which the Mets may have the best rotation in the league.
Published by Keith Gendron
His 2013 ended prematurely in San Diego last August, while pitching in his most succesful stretch of big league starts. Jenrry Mejia was in the midst of his fifth start after being promoted in July from the minors, mowing down batters as he had the previous 4 starts. But, this one ended much sooner than expected as he could no longer pitch through the pain from bone spurs in his right elbow. He has had multiple shoulder and elbow issues since he made his original major league debut in 2010. He has had rotator cuff strains and Tommy John surgery previously and earlier in 2013 battled elbow tendintis.
But this time around through the starts and stops he seemed to learn something along the way. With patience and perserverance, Mejia was “pitching” and not just throwing. His fast ball and 2 seamer were electric and was throwing his curve where it was supposed to go, in either setting batters up or putting them away. He also showed a change up in which I recall hearing that Terry Collins knew nothing about him having prior to Mejia’s promotion. Jenrry was throwing strikes and had an heir of confidence on the mound, which was a pleasure to see after previous call ups.
In Mejia’s five starts he threw 27.1 innings giving up 28 hits, but he only walked FOUR batters while striking out 27 pitching to a 2.30 era. This preceded by his minor league starts before promotion of 24.2 innings, 24 hits, 10 walks and 26 strikeouts and 2.55 era. Not too shabby for the projected number 5 starter in this years Mets rotation. The experience appears to have caught up with the talent and if Jenrry can stay healthy and thats a big IF then the Mets rotation is absolutely solid 1 through 5.
But what happens when the likes of Montero and Syndergaard are promoted sometime in July? What will happen to Mejia’s shot then? I’m assuming Mejia may be on an innings restriction even if his arm is healthy this season. The same goes for Montero and Syndergaard. So, maybe one or 2 of them move to the bullpen at some point. Syndergaard pitched 117.2 innings last year and Montero 155.1, making him most likely to come up first if he continues progress. So, maybe Mejia moves to the bullpen in August since he has yet to throw more than the 108.2 innings he pitched in 2012.
What will Mejia do with this opportunity? The Mets are looking to sign a veteran pitcher(John Lannan on Jan. 18th)to a minor league contract to compete with Mejia for the number 5 spot, but if Mejia is healthy and hasn’t forgotten what he’s learned, it should be no contest. Obviously, we will have to see how it all plays out and this conundrum of having too many quality arms is something I can learn to deal with and certainly the rest of the die-hard Mets fans too.