Almost two weeks ago, Jenrry Mejia was preparing to transition to the bullpen, with an eye to bring him up to help out the New York bullpen, which is the worst in Major League Baseball. Now that his throwing program is nearly complete, it looks as if Sandy Alderson and the Mets will not be promoting him to the Majors and inserting him back into Buffalo’s starting rotation.
Today is scheduled to be Mejia’s final appearance as a reliever through this throwing program, scripted to throw 40 pitches over multiple innings, but his performance has forced the Mets to not continue with their original plan of bringing him up to be a reliever, which he also did unsuccessfully in 2010 (0-4, 4.62 ERA, 1.692 WHIP).
As a starter in Triple-A, the young right-hander was spectacular in three starts, compiling a 1.13 ERA in 16 innings pitched, holding opponents to a .145 average and inducing more than two ground balls for every fly ball. Since moving to the Buffalo bullpen, he’s
logged five innings in six appearances, and it hasn’t been pretty. Not only has he allowed 8 earned runs (14.40 ERA) and an opponent batting average of .429, but he’s allowed more hits (11) and walks (5) in his five innings as a reliever than he did in his 16 innings as a starters (8 and 4, respectively).
With his clear inability at this point in his career to be a reliever, the Mets will put him back into the starting rotation, which begs to ask the question, what does New York do now for bullpen help? Buster Olney and other reliable sources have confirmed that the Mets will be looking for bullpen help outside of the organization, but will likely be waiting until after the All-Star break to get into serious talks with other teams. Why wait to get help when it’s clear the bullpen needs immediate assistance? Well, Mejia could be dangled as trade bait for other teams.
Some teams that have been rumored to be sellers this season are the Oakland A’s (Grant Balfour), Minnesota Twins (Matt Capps), Houston Astros (Brett Myers), and the San Diego Padres (Huston Street). All of these teams are in small markets and are planning on rebuilding their respective organizations with young, inexpensive talent; Jenrry Mejia is pre-arbitration eligible and is only 22-years-old. Although he’s coming off an injury, his rehab assignment as a starter shows he has the potential to be an effective MLB starter. Adam Rubin reported the Mets are planning to hold a conference call to discuss Mejia’s future with the franchise, and I think his trade value will be brought up. It’s clear that New York sees he won’t be an effective reliever, so it’s possible he’s being moved back to the rotation to increase his trade value before they start negotiating with other teams.
At the Major League level, Johan Santana is signed through the end of next season, with a team option for 2014, R.A. Dickey has a team option for next year, and with his emergence, it behooves the Mets to hold onto him (if they don’t agree to an extension), Jonathon Niese just signed a five-year extension at the start of the season, and both Dillon Gee and Mike Pelfrey (remember him) are also under team control, if they so desire . With Matt Harvey waiting in the wings, as well as Zack Wheeler and Jeurys Familia, it doesn’t seem like the Mets will have room in their starting rotation for Mejia within the next couple of years. So, they should use him as the centerpiece to a deal next month that will net the team a reliable reliever. However, why are they waiting? Well, Mejia needs to put some productive starts together again, showing his worth to potentially interested teams.