Notes & Thoughts: On Familia, MDD, & the Rotation


Here’s today’s pertinent news and notes…

Jeurys Familia likely out for season:

Mets reliever Jeurys Familia underwent surgery on his right elbow yesterday.  The surgery cleared his elbow of bone spurs and “loose bodies” and has put his status for the remainder of the season in doubt.

Jun 4, 2013; Washington, DC, USA;New York Mets pitcher

Jeremy Hefner

(53) throws a pitch during the game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Before last night’s win in Washington, manager Terry Collins told reporters that Familia would likely be out for the year, but didn’t offer any concrete reason why.  The surgery Familia had isn’t too invasive, and other pitchers have returned to form from the surgery in a matter of a few months.  Because Collins often says things that aren’t entirely accurate or that float into oblivion within a matter of days (Collin Cowgill as the everyday center fielder, for example), I wanted to hear Sandy Alderson utter the same words Collins did regarding Familia.

After last night’s game, Alderson did just that.  He noted that Familia would be unable to begin a throwing program for two months (around the beginning of August).  Because of that reason, Alderson said, it’s likely that Familia will not appear in a game for the Mets again this season.  That revelation is a tough blow for both the Mets and Familia.  He was starting to show his potential lately, and this surgery is now likely to cost him a chance to prove to Mets brass that he can be counted on as a key member of the bullpen heading into 2014.  That would have allowed him to have a relaxed spring training next year where he could’ve focused on preparation, not results.

Still, Familia made some progress this year, and is one of the more promising arms the Mets have as far as bullpen candidates go.  As long as his rehab goes as planned, he should be able to get some reps in during winter ball before heading to spring training next year with a shot to be in the opening day bullpen.

Matt den Dekker is about to return to game action:

Center fielder Matt den Dekker, who broke his right wrist late in spring training, has been cleared to return to game action.  Adam Rubin reported that den Dekker was scheduled to DH in a game this afternoon in Port St. Lucie, but rain altered that plan.  den Dekker is now expected to return to game action tomorrow, weather permitting.

The 25 year old den Dekker was turning heads during spring training with his defensive prowess in center.  He made a bunch of incredible catches that were featured on Sportscenter and left Mets officials buzzing about his defensive potential.  den Dekker will have to improve his plate discipline if he hopes to be a contributor at the big league level, but he’s almost certain to be called up at some point this season if he remains healthy (definitely by the time rosters expand in September).

Wheeler is almost here…who’s the odd man out?

With Zack Wheeler‘s major league debut expected in about a week or so, and every member of the starting rotation pitching well, the Mets are about to have a tough decision on their hands.

A few weeks ago, Dillon Gee was a lost cause, Shaun Marcum couldn’t get past the fifth inning, and Jeremy Hefner was still putting together mediocre performances.  Now that those three have been pitching well nearly every time out, the Mets will have to decide who to bump from the rotation.

Marcum is the one of the bunch with the largest contract, and someone who likely wouldn’t be able to transition to a role in the pen.  Additionally, it would behoove the Mets to keep Marcum in the rotation with the hope that he can perform well and fetch something of value via trade before the deadline.  That leaves Hefner and Gee.

Though Hefner has been pitching well for a longer period of time, it’s Gee who has the higher upside of the two, and is the one who has the better chance of sticking in the rotation long-term.  It’s been stated repeatedly that the Mets view Hefner as a swingman type who can fill a long relief role and spot start.  That belief, along with Gee’s potential and Marcum’s situation make Hefner the most logical candidate to slide to the pen when Wheeler arrives.  To make room, the Mets will likely demote Collin McHugh to AAA.

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