Michael Baron, ContributorThe 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.
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.