Taking Stock: The 2014 Starting Rotation

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

The Mets have used eight different starting pitchers in 2014. They have combined for a 3.62 ERA, which is slightly above average and good for seventh-best in the National League at the All-Star break.

Overall, the rotation has been good, not great. Their collective performance is commensurate with the names on the list. That said, I actually think they are capable of being better than what they’ve shown the first half of the season. I’m not sure how Noah Syndergaard fits in. But, if he does, and he does well, and if everyone stays healthy, look out, because these guys have the potential to be heavy rocks, just rolling through the first 6-7 innings of every game.


Here are random thoughts on the five guys expected to be in the rotation when the second half fires back up…


USATSI_7922244_110579513_lowres


Bartolo Colon: I’ve been impressed with his arm and entertained by his bat. Yes, he’s had his struggles, especially in Anaheim. However, he was incredible through late May and most of June. He’s been exactly what the Mets hoped he would be when he signed their two-year, $20 million offer. That said, if the Mets struggle to jump over .500 by early August, I bet Colon is traded through waivers. Otherwise, I think he’s here through at least July…


Jon Niese: He has pitched like a Cy Young candidate… when he’s on the mound. The thing is, a) he’s missed sporadic time, and b) the Mets don’t score when he’s on the mound, so no one in baseball is aware of how well he’s been doing. He’s an asset, especially as an affordable, young, left-handed starting pitcher with experience in this city, which is why I expect him to be talked about in trade rumors, but never actually moved…


Dillon Gee: He’s underrated. He had let up three runs or less in six of his eight starts before missing roughly two months with a muscle strain. Before going on the DL, he had the fourth-best ERA since June, 2013, among pitchers with at least 175 innings. He started the year 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA. His one issue is hitting a wall around 90 pitches. But, those 90 are always incredibly consistent, even in his first start back from injury…


Zack Wheeler: I’m a bigger believer in him every time he goes out there, especially on nights he struggles. Why? Recently, he’s showing an ability to adjust, not just start to start, but inning to inning. He’s last three starts have been terrific. He’s going to have his fair share of clunkers, that much is clear. However, if they’re randomly tucked in to a mostly dominant portfolio then he can settle in to being a clear No. 2 to Matt Harvey‘s No. 1…


Jacob deGrom: As long as he keeps pitching the way he’s been pitching, he should stay in the rotation for as long as he can. According to multiple reports, he can start every fifth day and still not reach his 185 team-imposed innings limit. He flirts with disaster, which makes me uneasy. But, he also strikes guys out and has strong defenders behind him. So, I should probably calm down and just enjoy the show…




273 comments
Vic Scarpelli
Vic Scarpelli

Dealing Colin is the right thing to do w young arms and the team needing bats

Ron W. Davis
Ron W. Davis

is it fair to call Niese . A Jon Lester lite . i think at his age and expierience and mental toughness should tell you he is a must keep but he is one throw away from TJ surgery he has jumped the shark a could times and only lefty. i also like to keep onto Gee as well from 1-5 i put our rotation against almost all but the Nats on talent of 1-5 . I am not in any hurry to trade anybody but Colon and Dice K . 


Tarheel11
Tarheel11

Colon will probably be dealt as soon as SA can get a decent return. If nothing else they will want to clear the 11M from next year's payroll. 

As Steve said below Syndergaard needs to stay down at AAA and refine his control/breaking pitches. No sense in bringing him up here to struggle with command. Let him refine his stuff with much less hype and scrutiny in Vegas. Let alone the fact of approaching his innings limit. Don't bring the kid up here for a handful of starts and then move him to the bullpen because of innings. That doesn't do him or any young pitcher with command issues any good. 

matmil
matmil

I agree with Mustang, trade Colon while you can. De Grom has been better than anyone could have reasonably expected. Niese and Gee are very steady middle rotation guys. When Harvey comes back and Wheeler gets more consistent this staff will be looking really good. Maybe one of the best in the league.

mustang66
mustang66

Higy opinion Bartolo must be traded us soon as possible before his early ending troubles make his value so low that they would get nothing in return. Jacob has been tremendous and it's getting even better. His poise is that of one who is been in the league for more than a few years.he has the makeup and stuff to be an upper rotation picture.wheeler in my opinion is becoming more and more steady. Him and Jacob among the young guys will fall in right behind Harvey. Gee and niecehave turned into a wily young veterans who can be counted on to give what I would consider a quality outing every time. I consider quality as seven innings send three runs or less. The number 5 position for now can be fillLd by either dice que, Montero or possibly Thor down the road. I think part of his problem is that he is out AAA and is bored. I ve had similar problems towards the end of his AAA Run. To summarize, we must get rid of Bartolo ASAP for that High end player and the fifth spot will work itself out

thwacker
thwacker

Watching Noah in the minor league All-star game, he looked like a beast with his power.  But a number of pitches were way off the strike zone and he does not have complete control.  I dont think he is ready yet.  Cant walk a lot of guys.  And Wheeler? My feeling is he will be a very good starter in a year or two for a long time.

Daniel Diffin
Daniel Diffin

DeGrom has been the real revelation this season. We knew that Niese and Gee were very good, very consistent pitchers--not exactly Aces, but very solid, dependable pitchers--when healthy.


Wheeler has struggled to adjust in his second season, but seems to be turning it around. But, at the moment, I can't say that he is a better pitcher than DeGrom. Perhaps his ceiling is higher--he probably has more raw talent than DeGrom. But look at what DeGrom has done: he only started pitching as a junior in college, then he had one season of low A ball before Tommy John surgery; and since then he went from A to AAA in 2012-2013, AAA to MLB in 2014, and he has been one of the best pitchers on the staff.


He is in an elite group of Rookie starting pitchers since 1933 who entered the All-Star break with at least 70 innings, a strikeout rate of 8.5/9, a strikeout/BB rate of 2.5 and an ERA under 3.50: Hideo Nomo, Dontrelle Willis, Gary Nolan, Masahiro Tanaka, Jose Fernandez, Dwight Gooden, Shelby Miller, and Colin McHugh. That's it. On top of his statistics, the kid has just flat out shown guts. During his last start, when he gave up a run on a mis-played routine outfield pop-up and some questionable hits, he buckled down and closed the door. And he has been doing that sort of thing all season. With better run support, he'd have 6 or 7 wins. I'm really excited to see what he can do, now that his spot in the rotation is secure.

Carl Home
Carl Home

With the abundance of starting pitching, especially next year, how about some innovation - a six man rotation. What do you think? 

John Schod
John Schod

There was a mid-season report card in The Daily News yesterday that gave deGrom a "C" for the first half.

I do not know which player this writer was watching, but it wasn't Jacob!

He is an "A" in my book!

Fantastic and getting better!!

Doubleday
Doubleday

For all the hype about Colon and the young guns, where would this team be without the contribution of Daisuke Matsuzaka?

hashburry
hashburry

That said, if the Mets struggle to jump over .500 by early August, I bet Colon is traded through waivers. Otherwise, I think he’s here through at least July…

Huh?  Redundant department of redundancy!

Dean Austin
Dean Austin

What do you guys think it would take to get Stanton from Miami? Based on needs and Miami's budget I proposed Murphy, Plawecki, Wheeler and Montero. What do you think Miami would require. Please remember that they are going to have to shell out 25-27 million to Stanton for the next two years if they do not move him and they cannot afford to take on other big salaries in a trade. 

Steve Finelli
Steve Finelli

@thwacker Syndergaard is nowhere near MLB ready.  Plus he is on a strict innings limit and only has 70 left.  He will need that to sort things out in Vegas.  U won't c him this yr.

Steve Finelli
Steve Finelli

@Dean Austin Your thinking is flawed on both sides.  He is their top player u r not going to get him w/o ur top prospect.  Even 30 mil over the next 2 years is small in comparison to his production.  They would NEVER make that trade even if Syndergaard was included.

C.K. Dexter Haven
C.K. Dexter Haven

@Dean Austin I think every indication from Miami management (including them coming out and definitively saying Stanton nor McGhee were on the block) is that Stanton isn't available.  That said, the amount the Mets would have to OVERpay in prospects....near ready prospects....is way too much to give the idea much thought.  

I think the Marlins will spend as long as they can see the money back in the first year (as evidenced 2 seasons ago).  With Fernandez, Eovaldi and Alvarez at the front of the rotation, Stanton, McGhee and Yelich as the position players to build around, some could argue the Marlins are in the same place the Mets are.  So why would the Marlins cash in their biggest asset?

dooley
dooley

The main problem is outbidding other teams when he becomes available. Think of the bidding for Santana, except many more teams

frankpdeeg
frankpdeeg

@Dean Austin Stanton rumors will pop up more and more next year near the trade deadline.  I don't think they'd want Murphy who would be on track to start earning serious dough, seeing as they'd be dumping Stanton for that same reason.  I'm fine with trading some pieces for him, although it will take A LOT.  


Sandy needs to trade Colon and get Noah up here.  The world needs to see what he's got so we can choose between Wheeler and Noah (because I cannot imagine we keep them both).  

Brandon Lee
Brandon Lee

@Dean Austin Marlins are going to ask for a ton. I'd rather go after Carlos Gonzalez from the Rockies. They have too much offense and their pitching is terrible. I'd build a package around Niese and Familia. The Mets and Rockies match-up perfectly for a trade. If they can get him and sign maybe JJ Hardy (right-handed bat with some pop) this line-up looks a lot better suddenly. 

Grandy - Murph - Wright - CarGo - Hardy - Duda - TDA - Lagares 

And you still have a rotation of:

Harvey - Wheeler - Gee - Syndergaard - deGrom 

Michael Herrington
Michael Herrington

@Dean Austin Stanton is not going anywhere in my opinion. Disclaimer: Until he starts making a good amount of money then the team will sell everyone off in a one month time frame.

Eddie_Dean
Eddie_Dean

@Dean Austin I really think that right now, any conversation that doesn't start with Wheeler and Syndergaard won't be enough for them. They just have no reason to move him at the moment. He's still in arbitration for a number of years now, I believe.

ken1010
ken1010

@dooley We'd be better off going after Goldschmidt.  Less competition, as so many teams are locked in at first base.  We could send Duda along with a quality pitcher, and perhaps Flores.

Dean Austin
Dean Austin

@frankpdeeg @Dean Austin This does not solve the issue we have. We have plenty of starting pitching depth and not a lot of promise with young outfielders. We have lost a ton of games by one run this year. Would this have happened if we had another big bat in the lineup. A lot less of a chance. If you take away our awful record in one run games we are serious contender for a playoff spot.  

Dean Austin
Dean Austin

@frankpdeeg @Dean Austin Murphy will earn a max of 8-9 million next year. Stanton will get 12-13. Plus under my trade scenario would have Montero, Wheeler and Plawecki. Total cost of less than 2 million for all 3

jenkins
jenkins

@Brandon Lee @Dean Austin I really don't want Cargo. Besides the home court argument, Cargo doesn't hit away from home and I think he's getting pretty brittle. Duda hasn't proved he should play vs lefties, and although Cargo has hit lefties in the past to a degree-it still makes the Mets weaker vs LHs.

Kevin John
Kevin John

@Brandon Lee @Dean Austin I'm an optimist, but I'm also a realist about this season. Trading our farm system for any of these guys, in my mind is a waste. What big bat free agents will be available this winter? Thats when we got to pull the trigger.

Dean Austin
Dean Austin

@Eddie_Dean @Dean Austin He is for a few more years but they are looking at $12 million next year and more the year after and the Marlins are simply not going to pay that amount. He is a game changing bat and we have the pitching depth. I say do it.

dooley
dooley

@Dean Austin Indeed but we were very fortunate, and Santana had to be resigned with the prospect package. Stanton is affordable, so almost any team could bid on him, with or without prospects. Think about a team like the White Sox, poor farm system, to include Chris Sale to nab Stanton

frankpdeeg
frankpdeeg

@Dean Austin @frankpdeeg I don't get your point man.  I'm not disagreeing with you.  I just don't thin they'd want Murphy.  We all know how Loria deals with that team financially.  saving $4million is not enough for him when he gets in his "fire sale" mode.  He will dump Stanton for prospects alone.  He has no need for a $9 million 2nd basemen who is on the wrong side of 30.  Especially if he's trading his big names to acquire more young talent.  


Stanton will take a lot of our young guys.  They won't want Murphy.  Daniel fits the bill of a win now team.


This is the issue with fans who come up with trade ideas.  We over value our own talent, and assume it fits in with other teams.  Murphy has more value as a Met than he does on the block.  Simple as that.  

frankpdeeg
frankpdeeg

@jenkins @frankpdeeg @Dean Austin I think we'd have to.  We have seen recently that teams are locking up their stars for the forseeable future.  Big bats are simply not available on the open market anymore.  When they are, there will be a bidding war that will price the Mets out.  Big moves will come in the form of trades from now on.


To get the game changing bat, you need to offer something big.  We have essentially 7 major leage ready arms.  We only need 5 for the rotation and realistically can get away with 4 and a varying 5th starter from year to year.


Gee, deGrom, and Montero will not command the value we need, and Niese is the only lefty we got.  We sure as heck are not trading Harvey right now.  So who is left? Noah and Wheeler.  You do the math.  If we want the power bat, how are we getting him?


Sandy did well in hoarding talent.  Now is our time to make the move.  

Brandon Lee
Brandon Lee

@jenkins You think CarGo is brittle and you are comparing him to Stanton? 

Brandon Lee
Brandon Lee

@Dean Austin You ever see Matt Holliday's splits? His were much more drastic and I'd say he's been pretty good for the Cardinals. 

Eddie_Dean
Eddie_Dean

@Dean Austin @Eddie_Dean Why would you assume they wouldn't pay him? The Marlins have shown in the past that they're more than willing to pay, even overpay at times, to keep a player when they believe they're in one of their windows to win another title. They gave Jose Reyes his current contract. Hanley Ramirez too, and neither are as good as Stanton. Then they break it down and start over again. But if they believe they're about to be in one of those windows again (and I think they do, right or wrong), then I'm sure they understand there's a much better chance of keeping that window open with Stanton on the team than not.

Dean Austin
Dean Austin

@dooley The White Sox were smart and bought out Sale's abritration years for only 32 million. There is NO way they are going to trade him, so that is not realistic.  

Dean Austin
Dean Austin

@frankpdeeg @Dean Austin The Marlins have a pathetic situation at second base at the moment but you might be right about not wanting Murphy. What package would you put together for Stanton that you think Miami would jump at?


jenkins
jenkins

@frankpdeeg @jenkins @Dean Austin Yes, you make the trade for a power-hitting, RBI LF that doesn't cost much contract-wise-nor blue chip-wise.You cn give up Gee and Montero-and then add another chip if needed without trading potential superstar pitchers who only need experience.

Eddie_Dean
Eddie_Dean

@jenkins @Dean Austin I actually disagree. If they were wiling to trade him at all, I see no reason they wouldn't trade him to the Mets. When the Marlins go into their "breakdown" cycle, I think they've shown in the past that they will sell to the highest bidder, regardless of whether it's a divisional opponent. If everyone else offered "X" and the Mets offered "X+1", then I think he'd be a Met.


But I don't think they're looking to trade him. And even if they were, I'm not sure the Mets would be willing to send them what it would take to get him back.

dooley
dooley

@Dean Austin It was purely an example. There are maybe a handful of players in every generation that are as highly gifted as Stanton. Almost any team would consider acquiring him, and you might even get some surprising one-for-one or two-for-one proposals

Dean Austin
Dean Austin

@dooley Stantons greatest value trade value will come between now and December. Once next year starts Miami is in the same position that Minnesota was in when they hesitated on moving Santana. Teams do not need to overbid when the trade is being perceived as a salary dump. 

frankpdeeg
frankpdeeg

@Dean Austin @frankpdeeg I don't mind parting with Wheeler or Noah.  I wish they'd bring up Noah to see what he can do.  We would then have 6 guys to fill 5 positions.  I like those odds.  


I'd do big name and a lower level stud bat (not Smith or Conforto.) Maybe Nimmo.   If need be, we can throw in Montero.

frankpdeeg
frankpdeeg

@jenkins @frankpdeeg @Dean Austin I think you are overvaluing what Gee and Montero can get.  As Mets fans, we value these guys well, but Gee hasn't had consistent success and is already 28.  Montero hasn't proven he could do it yet, and does not have the measurables or profile of an ace.  


I hope we didn't have to trade the big guys, but I'm realistic.  

jenkins
jenkins

@Eddie_Dean @jenkins @Dean Austin I'm quite sure they won't. Not how Alderson operates, even if the Wilpons miraculously agreed to pay him. Fish have never dealt an everyday superstar within the division, Have they?

dooley
dooley

@Dean Austin What do you mean perceived salary dump? What are they going to do, hide his contract?

jenkins
jenkins

@frankpdeeg @jenkins @Dean Austin I think you don't understand that Alderson has all of the power here. Nobody has arms for sale like the Mets. Gee puts contenders over the top by himself. He's been one of the top 4 starters  ERA-wise since last year. Every team and scout knows that-it's not new and it's not a fluke. 


Montero was one of the fastest climbers among young starters. Because he didn't dazzle in his first stint in the ML doesn't mean anything. He'll now start pitching lights out again..


Pining about Stanton or Tulo is a waste of time. They ain't coming. and the Mets ain't paying for them.


again, (and again and again...) Trumbo is perfect for the Mets and he won't cost a spectacular young pitcher.


It's hysterical that people want to trade blue-chip prospects when they don't even NEED to.

frankpdeeg
frankpdeeg

@Dean Austin @frankpdeeg I don't know about all that.  Baseball teams are 25 guys.  Stanton is fun to watch, and he may be an elite player one day.  However, giving up your top two OF prospects, and two top two pitching prospects for him is a bit much.  If that's what they would ask for then I would decline.  

frankpdeeg
frankpdeeg

@jenkins @frankpdeeg @Dean Austin so the D Backs are going to trade Trumbo for Gee?  Why would they do that.  They are in fire sale mode.  Teams that fire sale want one thing back: prospects.  


If anything, Gee would have to be flipped to a "win now" team for a prospect.  This is fine, I don't completely mind this, but it doesn't help us next year.  


I love Trumbo.  He would fit.  But they would want prospects.


How do you expect us to get a big bat?  Castro is an above average player with character issues.  He was going to command a top flight pitcher.  Your power bat is going to want the same thing.  


You argue that we are in the driver seat because we have a ton of good pitching.  We have pitching, we don't have hitting.  Other teams have a ton of hitting prospects.  So the point is, why would we hoard this talent when we couldn't simply use it all?  You have to get rid of some, and the only ones that make sense are Noah or Wheeler.  The rest are more valuable as Mets than on the block.  


You are overvaluing our talent and undervaluing other team's needs.  Also, Gee has only pitched 9 games.  He's looked great, but let's not freak out just yet.  His career ERA is like 3.75. 


But in conclusion, focus on this.  Gee may put teams over the top.  Which means they value every part of their MLB team.  That team would only give you prospects in return. Unproven commodities.  We need a proven bat.  


Teams that trade MLB players are looking for prospects.  


Teams looking for MLB players only trade prospects.  Simple as that.  


To get an MLB player, we need to trade a top level prospect.

jenkins
jenkins

@frankpdeeg @jenkins @Dean Austin I didn't say straight up. You must be new here because I've been saying the same thing for months. Arizona needs help everywhere. You want to trade Murphy straight up for Trumbo? Done. You want to trade Gee and Montero for Trumbo? Done. Want to trade Gee and Familia or Mejia? Done


How about Gee, Fulmer and Ynoa? Done. Arizona takes all those deals and more. These are easy deals and you don't give up star pitchers.

frankpdeeg
frankpdeeg

@jenkins @frankpdeeg @Dean Austin They don't want Gee or Murphy.  Buddy, I'm not new here.  I just couldn't care less about the things you talk about time and time again.  

Not to mention this: The D Backs invested a ton into Trumbo, so he is more valuable as a DBack than on the market.  Meaning if they were going to trade him, they would need to get a HUGE return to justify parting ways with him.  


Also, just reread this.  Explain to me why they would trade Trumbo straight up for Murphy hahahaha.  That makes no sense.  


The only thing Murphy does better is hits for average.  Both suck in the field and Trumbo puts up a ton more power numbers than Murphy.  Silly, silly statement.  You just lost all credibility.  Good day.