What options do the Mets have to round out their starting rotation?

Michael Baron, Contributor

The Mets currently have a strong front four in their starting rotation with Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Bartolo Colon.

I have serious concerns with what’s behind them in the short-term, as they currently lack much immediate depth in the event of any sort of injury.

The fifth spot in the rotation is currently up-in-the-air. Team insiders have said they want Jenrry Mejia to earn that spot in the rotation out of camp, but there are concerns about his ability to stay on the mound, both during Spring Training and throughout the regular season. He had surgery to remove bone chips in his elbow, but they’re confident he will be healthy and ready for camp in six weeks.

They can afford to turn to Carlos Torres for a spot start here and there, but using him on a regular basis in the rotation risks overexposure.

They are looking for arms on minor league deals to compete for that spot and serve as depth in the event Mejia can’t go out of camp and as insurance for the front four.

Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard

I wonder if they’re interested in taking another look at Daisuke Matsuzaka, who seemed to work well under Dan Warthen late last year, as he went 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA over his final four starts (3-3, 4.42 ERA overall with the Mets). They could also take a look at Aaron Harang, who was decent in his showing with the Mets down the stretch and is a good fit for a big ballpark. Both would be options to turn to, especially if there is a significant injury in the rotation, but either would have to be willing to likely start the season in Las Vegas.

There are also a ton of fringe pitchers who the Mets could bring into camp on a minor-league deal and stash away in the Triple-A.

Interestingly enough, there is a lot of buzz about Rafael Montero or Jacob deGrom pushing to make the team out of camp. It sounds as though they could be options to Mejia, as they feel they are both major league ready.

In the end, I wonder if the Mets would commit to either immediately — especially if they bring insurance to camp on minor league deals — as their recent track record has shown a concern to prevent their young arms from reaching ‘Super Two’ status.

All of this is an effort to get to Noah Syndergaard sometime this summer, when he, along with Montero and deGrom, should undoubtedly be ready for a promotion. The three of them will eventually provide that necessary depth and excess to their rotation.

224 comments
Vin Santiago
Vin Santiago

Duda and Tejada are more pressing than the rotation, which will be solved by Montero or Thor. 

Max Denby
Max Denby

Dumb post. The rotation is fine. The concern is the offense and bullpen, as it has been for the last 3 years.

Robby Johnson
Robby Johnson

Barring a complete meltdown or injury in the Spring, I don't see why or how Mejia isn't the guy.  I fully get the health concerns, but there comes a point when you have to find out what a guy can do.

The guy did more than hold his own as a starting pitcher last year, and that was with the bone spurs we all knew about as soon as he arrived.  If the surgery was only to correct that issue, the guy has a real shot to prove his worth and succeed.  Lots of guys get bit by the injury bug for entire careers, but there's also those who overcome it.

Small sample size, I understand that.  But holy hell, if he's your 5th starter for the next 3-4 years and gives you consistent numbers even close to last year - that's a stud rotation.

mustang66
mustang66

For crying out loud we've got about 7 guys that could start and do well when you include Montero and Thor not to mention another 3 or 4 guysin AA and AAA who are 25 and 26 years old. When are they going to get their chance when they are 30? forget Santana forget Dice K and focus on shortstop and getting first base settled. What was the point of drafting all these picthers if they're not going to get a chance or be used in a trade to upgrade th hitting

winstnobgy
winstnobgy

Why not invite Johan Santana to spring training???

RS
RS

live FIRE is still a dissapointing choice for the forum. Sorry to bring it up again, but come on...

dolemite
dolemite

I would like to see Dice K back as insurance - but if a young Met wins the spot out of spring I want to see them up with the team and not in Vegas to give the spot to the senior - they need to be only insurance.  Every year the Rays let 3-4 young pitchers duke it out for the last spot - there is nothing wrong with a rookie rounding out the rotation. 

RS
RS

12 different mets started games last year.  "you can never have too much pitching" - we may need more arms for the inevitable bump, bruise, or setback

methead
methead

Why do we have serious concerns?  Noah will be ready by June and we have Montero/degrom.  I doubt Harang takes a minor league deal anywhere much less with the Mets.  This team will most likely not compete for the playoffs so why concern our selves with "depth" when we have depth with our rookies pitchers?  

Alex Cooper
Alex Cooper

I swear more than half of the people who comment on here either have no baseball logic or are mental

Kyle Suta
Kyle Suta

I would rather just play Tejada if it means signing morales. I can't take a full season of the fat lump playing 1st.

Wayno
Wayno

Why is Niese looked at as a lock?? Every year we hear how he is going to make a jump up and never lives up to hype. Id be bery worried about him

Robby Johnson
Robby Johnson

@dolemite And that's what makes the Rays fun to watch and easy to root for too.  Throw a few of these kids out there and let them learn how to pitch in the bigs.  They can obviously do that midway through the season as well, but I know I'd be excited as a fan to see some of these guys on the roster Opening Day.

dolemite
dolemite

@metheadHarang wont get a ML deal, he will pick the team where he may have the best chance of cracking the rotation tho, and that could be the Mets.  They will need someone to spell Bart once and awhile at the very least.

Christian Card
Christian Card

@Alex Cooper You are the only one on here that knows what you are talking about. We are all so lucky you are here to give out baseball lessons. Have you sent your resume over to Sandy to see if you can help out in any way?

Steven Matregrano
Steven Matregrano

@Alex Cooper Do you see your logic? You brought up the "Young card" to support lagares but yet downplayed Tejada who is 24 and has more potential as every scout has shown.. Lagares IS NOT A STARTING CENTER FIELDER. Look who he had to beat to get there?? Thats right.. NOBODY


Hence why TC is making him earn his spot again. If he can prove he deserves it and can be better than these actual proven outfielders in the ML then sure he will have a spot. And don't say C Young sucks. Last year he was platooning and could never even get in a groove which is why he batted .200... if he goes back to his Arizona days when he was an all-star or very close to it. We could have a marlon byrd of last year all over again.. People compare Grandy to Byrd.. technically its a 1 year deal of C Young vs 1 year deal of Byrd. So if C Young does well, this makes Granderson benefit even more

foley
foley

@Wayne Martiak Jr 


Ummm..... well because he is a solid, above-average MLB pitcher with a very team favorable contract.  And a lefty.  Having said that, if everything goes as planned with the young(er) pitching, I can see him being traded at the deadline for offense.  He will have real value.

Alex Cooper
Alex Cooper

@Wayne Martiak Jr Are you serious... How in the heck do you not think Jon Niese is a lock? He's our only LHP, his era has been pretty darn good the past 2 years, and he can give you over 180 innings. Granted this year he had a setback with that little tear, but in my opinion he is the BIGGEST lock in our rotation. Plus his contract is long term and low $$$. What's not to like about that.


Kyle Suta
Kyle Suta

His 2012 season ended that and after he came back for a month he was great

mustang66
mustang66

except its seven million instead of 700,000 for a couple of million it might be a good signing. Young is a career 235 hitter. Where does that marriage 7 million bucks. I'd much rather have drew at shortstop then young in the outfield.they could of had druid shortstopand Eric Young in left fieldand be much better off

kenmetskni
kenmetskni

Lagares is not a starting CFer, but Tejada is a starting SS?! They both play defense first positions. Who is the better defender? Even in his best season, Tejada's OPS wasn't much better than what Lagares did last year. I know Lagares needs to improve at the plate, but he is very young. He needs time to develop. If he gets regular playing time this coming season and doesn't show significant imorovement, then you can claim that Lagares isn't a starting player.

Alex Cooper
Alex Cooper

@Steven Matregrano You have no idea what you're talking about. Stop talking.

Wayno
Wayno

Go away steve!!! U are the worst poster on here by far!!

foley
foley

@Steven Matregrano @Alex Cooper 


Have no idea what you mean by more potential.  Tejada defense is average at best, and was absolutely awful last year.  He has no power, and has shown zero ability to develop any.  His only upside I see is to be average defensively, and to hit more singles.  No production on offense whatsoever.


Lagares on the other hand may never be an MLB hitter.  However, he at least plays a Gold Glove caliber defense in one of the most important defensive position in MLB - centerfield in Mets ballpark.  So he at least brings something to the team even if he doesn't hit.

Steven Matregrano
Steven Matregrano

@foley @Wayne Martiak Jr Why would we trade our lefty pitcher for offense? Do you know how hard it is to find a relatively good young left handed pitcher? Not many in the game thats for sure

Wayno
Wayno

Innings pitched last 3 years, 157-190-143. Not an example of consistency. I just dont feel like he is a solid lock, number 4 pitcher at best

Wayno
Wayno

Yes very serious.....Niese seems to me a fragile pitcher that still hasnt learned to pitch. I hope not, but he is far from a lock to me

Steven Matregrano
Steven Matregrano

@kenmetskni Tejada is 24 and VERY YOUNG. Lets give both these guys fair shots.. You can't count the last 2-3 seasons of tejada playing anything more than getting some exp.. the guy was 22-23 years old... Lagares has C Young starting in center field and Grandy in right. We need a lead off hitter and although EY is not the ideal, he is the only option. Therefore he gets the upperhand and starts. This is what I am trying to say. Not that Lagares is bad, but simply we have no other options right now. We just spent a ton of money on outfielders so they will be starting. 

Christian Card
Christian Card

@kenmetskni The fact that you guys are fighting over these two bench players is hilarious!!! They need to replace both in the near future. One this off season and one next most likely. Neither guy belongs in the NY Mets starting lineup. We have learned to setlle and this is why we are all so accepting of these 90 loss seasons. Both need to go!!! Drew and Kemp would be more like it.

mustang66
mustang66

Lagares will be the everyday center fielder. Not even a question when you consider have we played last year and the thought process of SA

Steven Matregrano
Steven Matregrano

@Alex Cooper @Steven Matregrano I think you're mental.. we just signed C Young a center fielder to a 7.25MM deal. He will be playing center field. That already shifts Lagares to left field. Okay we have another need. A lead off candidate. Honestly, nobody on the mets should be the lead off guy. But our best option is EY again. Okay unfortunately EY will get the starting spot, not because Lagares sucks in the field, but because EY can be a lead off hitter regardless of how his numbers were for half of the year last year which honestly.. weren't so bad. So before you go calling people mental, why don't you stand open to other opinions considering mine is logical

Alex Cooper
Alex Cooper

@Steven Matregrano@Alex Cooper I'm not saying he's our savior by any means. I'm saying that his defense was some of the best all year last year in baseball and he has room to improve offensively to go with it. Are you mental?

Steven Matregrano
Steven Matregrano

@Alex Cooper @Steven Matregrano Right yet you think Lagares is our savior.. lol Tell me why Im dumb? Because you chose 1 path of an opinion? Can't argue with mentally challenged individuals on here cause you will never win. You should stop talking because you're all over Lagares for shining over a high school outfield. Good luck with that logic and being laughed at by everyone who knows sports

dolemite
dolemite

@Steven Matregrano@RS@foley@Alex CooperBut if that is what Sandy thought he should have dealt Reyes beforehand, that is the argument at least.  I think he wanted to keep open the possibility of signing him, should the Mets come up with any quid.

Steven Matregrano
Steven Matregrano

@Alex Cooper @foley @Steven Matregrano It was 6 years 106MM which makes more sense now that i think about it logically... cause 4 years 60MM is a normal deal which granderson got.. You can keep getting on me for making an understandable mistake or you can actually try to pretend you're a met fan and understand why my thoughts are actually logical when you look at the overall need of this team and not just ONE POSITION. 

foley
foley

@RS @foley @Steven Matregrano @Alex Cooper 


Exactly.  Drew might not be anyone's first choice (including mine), but its the easiest and quickest and most productive way with what's available right now to upgrade the offense.  2 years for a 30 year old is hardly what should stand in the way.

Steven Matregrano
Steven Matregrano

@RS @foley @Steven Matregrano @Alex Cooper Yeah I agree Reyes was not worth it for that money, he had too many health issues. But WHEN reyes is healthy he is pretty good... he was also a head case and was injured a lot with non-freak type accidents if you will so to say that it is not comparable you are correct, but to a certain degree

RS
RS

@foley @Steven Matregrano @Alex Cooper agreed,  it was a business decision - SA didn't think that reyes is a good value at that contract.  Unfortunately we've had bottom-of-the-league production from the SS position since

Steven Matregrano
Steven Matregrano

@Alex Cooper @Steven Matregrano @foley  Seriously? You are that lost? How long have you been a Met fan? One year? Ill do it for you.


The Miami Marlins and shortstop Jose Reyes agreed to terms on a six-year, $106 million deal Sunday, sources have told ESPN.


So I was wrong but even in the worst way. I said $60MM confused with Grandersons signing... I was right about the years and the money was even way more than I put

foley
foley

@Steven Matregrano @Alex Cooper @foley 


6 years 106 million.  Tejada was all the Mets had to replace him - he's never been considered much of a prospect.  The idea that Reyes was let go to make room for Tejada is laughable.  They are not even in the same ballpark as players, and never will be.

Alex Cooper
Alex Cooper

@Steven Matregrano@Alex Cooper@foley Now I know you're just trollin.

RS
RS

@Steven Matregrano @Alex Cooper @foley you guys should stop with the name calling.  It's like you're both competing to be dubbed the least valuable poster.  So far it's a tie.  Keep the discourse civil, and respect each other's opinions.  Neither one of you are baseball experts.  Those that runs this blog really aren't either.

foley
foley

@RS @foley @Steven Matregrano @Alex Cooper 


Sigh.  Talking about the impact a good defensive player makes.  In Citifield with its dimensions there is more impact for a defensive fielder than in a smaller park.

Steven Matregrano
Steven Matregrano

@Alex Cooper @Steven Matregrano @foley He signed with the Marlins for 6 years 60 MM after the Mets didn't want him back.. go look it up you moron. The Mets didn't want him because he was wanting a multi-year multi dollar contract.. after all how many times was he hurt with us? I can't remember because it seemed to be all the time. But right, I dont know what Im talking about 

foley
foley

@Steven Matregrano @Alex Cooper 


And also Lagares.... was a late bloomer.  He started out poorly in minors and needed a few years to make jumps.


But....2011 ST. Lucie 873 OPS.  2011 Binghampton 903 OPS.  2012 full season in Binghampton 723 OPS with 21 SB's.  He basically made the jump last year to majors with next to no AAA time (78 ABs where he had a 929 OPS)


He's 24 also.  Much better upside based on minor league numbers than Tejada.

Steven Matregrano
Steven Matregrano

@foley @Steven Matregrano @Alex Cooper Drew is a veteran shortstop at age 30. Tejada is 24. The reason we didnt keep Reyes is because we had a young Tejada coming up... and also cause Reyes wanted 6 years 60MM, but thats besides the point. Drew is incredibly injury proned and again is a veteran with experience. Why shove Tejada down the drain at age 24? He's basically a college aged player playing SS for the Mets. Those first few years he was 22-23.. Give the guy some breathing room geez.....

foley
foley

@Steven Matregrano @foley @Alex Cooper 


Just not true.  Last year he had 457 combined AB's between Mets and AAA - he had an injury, but he was hardly out for a significant part of the season.  Tejada's best year to date, and I am including minor leagues where his hitting stats are equally dismal was 2012 - while his BA was 289, his OPS was still under 700.  He doesn't walk, doesn't steal bases, and has no power.


There is no evidence other than his age that Tejada will ever improve.  No offensive track record whatsoever in the minors.


So Tejada's best year, 2012 - he produced 77 runs in 464 AB's.  That's almost impossible when you hit .289.   Actually its almost impossible if you hit .220.  Meanwhile Drew last year in about the same AB's (a few less, 442) created 111. And Drew is much better defensively.  


Sometimes numbers lie.  Just not this time.

RS
RS

@foley @Steven Matregrano @Alex Cooper how is center field at "Met's ballpark" one of the most important defensive positions in MLB?  Wouldn't CF for a contending team be mor eimportant? ;)

Steven Matregrano
Steven Matregrano

@foley @Steven Matregrano @Alex Cooper Tejada suffered injuries last year.. he barely played. He is 24 years old. and honestly. Tejada has a strong arm at SS, that was one of his strengths. He made plays that Ron, Keith, and Gary never thought he'd have a chance to make. Sure he may of had some errors, but doesn't everybody? We have a major league outfield now... C Young CF, Granderson RF, EY LF. Some could argue EY is not a starter... but C Young is being paid 7.25MM to start at his natural postion(CF) Which is why Lagares is shoved to the side. Because based on our poor leadoff spot.. EY is the best option although it isn't the best.. thats why he has the upside.. because of the speed he has in front of our hitters. 

mustang66
mustang66

our second best pitcher this year I believe will be Mejia. after watching him pitch last season and clearing up his elbow I think this is the year he put it all together and comes up with a sub 250 era

foley
foley

@Steven Matregrano @foley @Wayne Martiak Jr 


Not arguing about wanting the lefty.  But.. The four I mentioned cost nothing and will probably have less trade value.  Niese's contract, 2015 7 mil, 2016 10 mil, 2017 11 mil.

Steven Matregrano
Steven Matregrano

@foley @Steven Matregrano @Wayne Martiak Jr Yeah but wouldn't it be nice to have a lefty starter? His value is there but Id rather keep the lefty consistent starter in Niese and trade a Montero, Gee, or DeGrom for a power hitter or whatever we may need. See what I mean? Those 4 names you mentioned are all right handers, Imagine throwing the lefty into the mix and then you set up a new world of problems for other teams against our rotation

foley
foley

@Steven Matregrano @foley @Wayne Martiak Jr 


Not arguing with his value.  That's why it may make sense to trade him.


If 2015 rotation starts with Harvey, Colon, Wheeler, Noah... then that's 1 spot left for Niese, Montero, Gee, Hefner, Degrom, Mejia  Obviously some of those guys will be in the bullpen or traded.  Niese may be expendable since his salary balloons in 2016 and he may have real value in the trade market.