#Mets are considering Rafael Montero for the Opening Day bullpen, but NOT as a Niese replacement in the rotation. Mejia, Lannan in that mix.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) March 16, 2014
Montero in the opening day bullpen would be lunacy.
First of all, the club would be punting a year of team control by carrying Montero on the roster beginning on opening day. At the very least, they should wait until the third week of April to promote him – when the extra year of team control would already be guaranteed.
Getting away from the service time issue and focusing solely on Montero in the bullpen, there are two reasons why it makes absolutely no sense.
1. With Bobby Parnell, Vic Black, Jeurys Familia, Scott Rice, Carlos Torres, Jose Valverde, and likely John Lannan, the Mets aren’t struggling for arms in the pen. Even if they wanted to replace one of the above pitchers, shipping Montero there wouldn’t be the answer. They could simply go with someone like Joel Carreno.
2. Rafael Montero isn’t on a strict innings limit this year. He tossed 155.1 innings last year between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas, meaning his 2014 innings limit will probably fall between 185 and 190 innings – nearly a full season’s worth. If Montero was on a strict limit, easing him in by using him in the bullpen initially would make sense. But he isn’t on a strict limit.
According to the beat guys, the “Montero to the bullpen” idea is coming from Terry Collins, who doesn’t have the power to make the decision to shift a top starting pitching prospect to the bullpen while burning a year of team control in the process.
This is likely another example of Collins saying something that has a tiny chance of happening. However, there’s no reason for him to be suggesting nonsensical things like this in the first place.