Even though the Mets never thought about employing Cliff Lee, the aftermath of his signing has had a drastic affect on the remaining free agent pitcher’s market–which in turn, effects the Mets’ need to fill their own rotation. Before Lee signed with the Phillies, the Mets were the front-runners for signing Chris R. Young and/or Jeff Francis, but given the overnight dearth of quality or even mediocre arms on the market, both Young and Francis are now considered the “top of the heap” (under Carl Pavano, of course). Furthermore, teams previously thought to be uninterested in Young and Francis’ services–like the Yankees–are now heavily pursuing either or both pitchers. Considering the Mets financial disposition, it might force them to consider their meager and mostly disenchanting internal options.
The first option that comes to mind is Oliver Perez. While I’m sure Mets fans hope Perez could somehow re-discover his 2007 or 2008 form, it’s fair to say that he’s closer to the 6.81 ERA/1.98 WHIP Oliver Perez than the 3.91 ERA/1.35 WHIP Oliver Perez. Perez has been a tremendous letdown ever since he signed his mammoth three-year, $36 million deal in February 2009, and despite the Mets dire need for starting pitchers, it wouldn’t be surprising if he didn’t even throw a pitch for the Mets at all in 2011.
After Perez, the list of internal options does get a little brighter though–but it is still not the most attractive array of potential starting pitchers. In the event Perez does not “wow” or even “semi-wow” in Spring Training, the Mets could turn to either youngster Dillon Gee or top-prospect Jenrry Mejia to fill a hole. Gee, who will be 25 years-old on opening day, had a nice little stint on the surface for the Mets in 2010, posting 2 Wins, a 2.18 ERA, and 1.22 WHIP. However, his 1.13 K/BB ratio (or 15 BB’s to 17 K’s) exposes his need for maturation in the minors. Jenrry Mejia, arguably the Mets finest prospect, was used exclusively as a reliever for the Mets major league club in 2010, where he did not excel–posting a 4.62 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, and 1.1 K/BB ratio. Between Gee and Mejia, it’s more likely Gee would get the nod since Mejia’s future is certainly brighter (and Sandy Alderson has already publicly mentioned Mejia will start the season in the minors).
That leaves two other Mets arms who previously were thought to hold bullpen spots in 2011–D.J. Carrasco and Pat Misch. The more surprising name of the two is Carrasco, considering he has not started more than 2 games in a season since 2005. D.J. Carrasco has been one of the more consistent and durable relievers over the past three seasons, but at age 34, it would be a difficult transition for Carrasco to become a starter. So if not Oliver Perez, Dillon Dee, Jenrry Mejia, or D.J. Carrasco, could Pat Misch be the Mets rotation “savior?”
Misch is arguably the most “reliable” and major league ready internal option for the Mets rotation in 2011, but as illustrated above, that’s not saying all too much. Since 2006, Misch owns a 5.55 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 5.3 K/9 IP, and 2.29 BB/9 IP in 129.6 IP as a starting pitcher. While those are not the most awe-inspiring statistics, as they say, “it could be worse.”
Tags: Ben Berkon Chris R. Young Chris Young Cliff Lee D.J. Carrasco Dillon Gee Francis Free Agent Pitchers Jeff Francis Jenrry Mejia Lee Mets New York New York Mets Oliver Perez Pat Misch Phillies Pitchers Spring Training Starters Starting Pitcher Starting Pitchers Starting Pitching Yankees Young