New York Mets News

The Jacob deGrom/Daisuke Matsuzaka “decision” isn’t one

By Danny Abriano

With Dillon Gee expected to be activated from the disabled list in either a week or right after the All-Star break, the Mets will have to remove someone from the starting rotation to make room.

It’s been widely expected that Daisuke Matsuzaka (who would move back to the bullpen) would be the pitcher removed from the rotation.

Jun 16, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) throws to a St. Louis Cardinals batter during the first inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

However, there’s been some noise lately that the Mets are debating whether to remove Matsuzaka or Jacob deGrom.

Although deGrom has performed better as a starter than Matsuzaka, there are more important factors to take into account when it comes to making a decision regarding who to displace.

Most importantly, deGrom – at 26 years old – is expected to be a key cog for the Mets for the foreseeable future. That’s something that can not be said about Matsuzaka.

During last night’s broadcast, Gary Cohen cited deGrom’s innings as something that might force his removal from the starting rotation. Frankly, that makes no sense.

DeGrom tossed 147.2 innings in 2013, meaning he’s good for at least 177 innings this season. If deGrom hits that mark and has to be shut down in mid or late-September, so be it. However, removing him in July wouldn’t be wise.

Additionally, whoever is removed from the rotation will be shifting to the bullpen. Matsuzaka acclimated to that role earlier this year, while deGrom has never thrown a professional inning out of the bullpen.

Another thing that should impact the decision, is the fact that Noah Syndergaard is not close to making his major league debut. If Syndergaard was close, the Mets would soon have to clear another rotation spot, which would make shifting deGrom to the pen at this point sensible.

The Mets initially called Jacob deGrom up with the intention of using him in the bullpen, but his performance as a starting pitcher should render that idea moot – at least until 2015.

As it stands, there is no logical reason why the Mets should even ponder removing deGrom from the rotation at this point.