Jenrry Mejia, Daisuke Matsuzaka, John Lannan and a group of prospects are expected to compete this spring to be the team’s fifth starter, behind a rotation that includes Jon Niese, Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee and Bartolo Colon.
“I’m here. I feel good. I’ll be ready for whatever they want me to do, but I want to be in the fifth spot,” Mejia said this week (New York Post, Feb. 11).
RHP pitching prospect Jacob deGrom, who is on the 40-man roster, considers himself among the competition.
“It’s all about the competition; that’s what the game is about,” deGrom said (TC Palm, Feb. 10). “There are a lot of young arms and guys who have a chance of being in the big leagues this year. I’m just going to come out and do my best and see what happens.”
Matsuzaka, who had a 1.47 ERA during the final four starts of 2013, re-signed with the Mets and is confident he can win the job.
“I thought I would have to compete no matter what organization I went to, so that was a non-factor for me,” said Matsuzaka, who returned to the team in large part because of his relationship with Dan Warthen and Terry Collins (ESPN, Feb. 11).
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
I’m not in St. Lucie yet and I haven’t seen anyone throw this year, so I’m undecided on how I hope to see this competition play out. My instinct is to want Mejia to get the job, mostly because he’s young, homegrown, looked amazing at times last year, has SO much potential and, I mean, that hair is worthy of a big-league job all by itself. But, from an overall roster point of view, he may not make the most sense, especially since Lannan and Matsuzaka can refuse assignment and become free agents at varying points in the spring and early season.
In the end, it could be a short-term position anyway, since it is widely expected that top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard will be promoted after July, at which point – assuming everyone is healthy – the fifth starter will either be demoted, released or sent to the bullpen.