As the season comes down to the last couple of weeks, when they’ve long been eliminated, and as the kids gone back to school and Football becomes of main interest to the base of teams not in the race… what will the Mets rotation look like?
Nothing like it does now.
Matt Harvey will be shut down some time in September. No need to overdo his innings this year. The same goes for Zack Wheeler. Jon Niese has a partially torn rotator cuff. He wants to come back this season, but even if he does – do you really think they’ll push him too hard for meaningless games in September? They’ll shut him down to let him heal, too.
This leaves us Dillon Gee, Jeremy Hefner and Shaun Marcum.
Dillon Gee has been battling tendinitis in his forearm. They say his elbow is structurally sound, but forearm issues are usually heard before the words Tommy John and Dr. James Andrews. They didn’t push him yesterday when they had the lead.
They may want to try to trade Marcum down the stretch. Sure, his record is terrible and his ERA is high, but when he’s pitched well, he’s been good. He has incentives in his contract, which is an incentive for the Mets to deal him elsewhere – even if it’s to a team that’s going to just pick up the remainder of his contract. He’s not a player that you’d rely on to pitch them to a World Series victory, but for a team (such as the Orioles) that is looking to make a run and needs to upgrade the back of their rotation to keep them in that important game or two that can make all the difference – he’s a pitcher that can be had for practically nothing, even after the July 31st non-waiver deadline.
This leaves Jeremy Hefner. Given all of the above, he’s the one man in the current six (including the DL’d Niese) that has the greatest chance of being Last Man Standing by the end of the season.
So who may end up filling out the rest of the rotation?
Carlos Torres. There’s a reason the Mets demoted Greg Burke, who was pitching well and the time he was sent down. Torres had an opt out if he didn’t get promoted to the big club. He was starting down in Vegas and pitching relatively well. With this being a non-contending year and knowing part of the rotation would be getting an early start on the winter, the innings Torres could eat later in the season would be needed. Thus, the man with the Options was sent down to make room.
That’s a good question – it’s not going to be Rafael Montero. He’s also on an innings limit this season, and besides – to get a September call up, you have to be on the 40 man roster, which he is not.
Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia are both on the 60 day DL – who knows if they’ll realistically pitch again this season.
Would Hansel Robels get a start or two? He’s the only other starter currently on the 40 man roster. Even though he’s only in A ball, his innings are low this year due to a couple of stints on the DL.
If Marcum doesn’t get traded, he’ll be pitching regularly at the end of the year. If he goes elsewhere, his spot on the 40 man will be freed up for someone such as Chris Schwinden or Aaron Laffey to take a start or two in September.
By mid-September, the excitement of Harvey and Wheeler will be gone. Jeremy Hefner may just be the “ace” of the staff by then.