According to Sandy Alderson, who recently spoke with Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, the Mets still may add a starting pitcher before spring training begins in about five weeks. Writes Rubin:
…the Mets also hope to add a fifth-starter competitor — “probably” on a minor-league contract — to compete with Jenrry Mejia and the prospects in camp.
“We’re looking at that possibility,” Alderson said.
As they’re presently constituted, it’s likely that the Mets will enter the season with Jonathon Niese, Bartolo Colon, Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee, and either Jenrry Mejia or Rafael Montero in the starting rotation.
As Alderson noted to Rubin, if the club signs another starter, it will likely be on a minor league deal.
Signing a pitcher to compete with Mejia and Montero is fine, but spring performance shouldn’t dictate who breaks camp with the team.
What should determine the fifth starter, is a combination of “stuff” and readiness. If Mejia is healthy and his pitches are sharp, the job should be his.
If Mejia isn’t healthy and/or rusty, it may go to the potential minor league signing.
With Noah Syndergaard waiting in the wings, Montero nearly ready, and Mejia on an innings limit, it’s highly likely that whoever breaks camp as the fifth starter will simply be a placeholder during the first half of the season.