Yesterday afternoon, before the Mets came from behind in the ninth to defeat the Marlins at Citi Field, Mets fans were subjected to four and a third innings of pitching from Aaron Laffey. The presence of Laffey on the mound was due to the season ending injury to Johan Santana coupled with the various maladies that have put Shaun Marcum on the shelf.
Apr 7, 2013; Flushing, NY,USA; New York Mets starting pitcherAaron Laffey
(47) pitches during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
For his career, Laffey (who will turn 28 the day before his next scheduled start) has a 4.40 ERA. That’s simply mediocre. When you dig deeper, you’ll discover that Laffey has the worst strikeout per nine ratio of any active starter (4.5 per). His career WHIP is an unsightly 1.51, and his arsenal matches his poor statistics. So, what do we know? It’s safe to state that Laffey is a poor pitcher – a blowout waiting to happen.
During yesterday’s affair, Laffey was horrendous. He gave up 10 hits in four and a third innings pitched to go along with a walk and a hit batter. His stuff fooled no one, his pace was snail like, and most expected his poor performance to be his only performance as a starter for the Mets. After the game, though, Terry Collins said Laffey would get another start (which will be April 16th in Colorado). Today, Collins uttered the following:
"He’s [Laffey] going to be the guy until we figure out when Shaun [Marcum]’s going to be back, or if he’s going to be back, or where we stand. There’s no number in mind of how many starts. It could be three. It could be seven. I don’t know."
Nothing personal against Collins, but he often utters ridiculous things without thinking. A prime example is the time he pumped up Luis Hernandez as his likely opening day second baseman. Collins is also prone to stating things that he goes back on days later. A recent example was anointing Collin Cowgill the regular center fielder before changing his mind days later. I hope (and all Mets fans should have the same hope) that the above quote from Collins is just another instance of Terry being Terry. If it isn’t, we have a problem.
Under no circumstances should Aaron Laffey be “the guy” for any set period of time. He shouldn’t be on a major league roster, let alone being guaranteed starts he likely won’t deserve to make. Collins made the quote vomit inducing when he went as far to suggest that Laffey would be the person taking the mound until Shaun Marcum (who is nowhere near close to coming back) is ready to return. That’s insane on a number of levels.
Are we to believe that if Aaron Laffey goes four innings and gives up 10 hits in his next start and the one after, that he’ll keep his spot in the rotation? Is it acceptable to gas the entire bullpen every time Laffey takes the mound? I understand that the Mets don’t have many options at this point, but an option they do have besides Laffey is Collin McHugh. McHugh may turn out to be worse than Laffey. Still, isn’t it worth it to find out if McHugh can step up if the alternative is watching Laffey get pounded start after start?
Another option the Mets have in 13 days is Zack Wheeler. I suppose that while Collins was making his head scratching comment regarding Laffey, it slipped his mind that Wheeler was in AAA. Wheeler, who struggled with his control in his AAA debut, can be called up as soon as April 21st (the day after the Mets secure an extra year of control). I’m not advocating for the Mets to call up Wheeler if his next two or three starts resemble his first one. If, however, he merits a callup, he should be at Citi Field once April 20th passes.
Aaron Laffey could surprise everyone and put together a string of solid starts while helping the Mets hold down the fort. I just don’t see that happening. His stuff is too poor, and his mediocre track record is too long. The only thing Laffey should be guaranteed is that he’s judged on his performance. If he is, his time in the Mets’ rotation should be short, regardless of how long Shaun Marcum is out.