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Mets all but confirm Robert Gsellman as fifth starter

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Mar 14, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; New York Mets pitcher Robert Gsellman (65) throws during the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 14, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; New York Mets pitcher Robert Gsellman (65) throws during the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /
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The whole question of who would be the Mets fifth starter has been debated ad nauseum, but we may finally have an answer from the Mets.

Most of us agree that Robert Gsellman has won the job, not just based on his body of work last year with the club, which was ridiculously impressive, but also because he’s been pretty freakin’ good this spring on top of it. Over his 17 1/3 innings pitched, Gsellman has only given up 3 ER. The guys can clearly pitch.

However, Zack Wheeler hasn’t made it easy for the Mets to decide either though. He’s shown he’s not giving up on the chance to come out of the gate on Opening Day as the last member of the rotation. He’s willing to pitch in the bullpen, and has been able to stay healthy so far. We know he has great stuff, so for him health is the main concern, and he’s addressing that this spring.

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Then you have arguably the best pitcher of the three. The one that’s actually played in competitive games already this spring, and has been able to shut down a big time offense like Venezuela’s entire national team. We’re, of course, talking about Seth Lugo.

We can keep talking about who would benefit the Mets most, and where, but it seems that the team has already made up its mind about who has earned that spot.

Speaking with the media today, and reported by Newsday’s Marc Carig on Twitter, general manager Sandy Alderson was addressing Steven Matz and his health concerns and gave us a little insight as to what the Mets are thinking.

Should Matz miss significant time, who would the Mets look to fill in the void? According to Alderson, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo would be next in line. This on the record comment perked up a few ears because of the name that wasn’t mentioned: Robert Gsellman. By not adding Gsellman to the mix, Alderson is all but confirming he will be the Mets fifth starter going into the regular season next month.

After Sunday’s game against the Braves, manager Terry Collins again emphasized Gsellman’s value to the club, and suggested he and Zack Wheeler would likely fill in the rotation, while Lugo could start out in the bullpen. Again, the Mets are declaring it officially yet, but it seems like that’s the way they’re going to go.

Now, obviously, things can change, and the Mets could go in a total different direction and decide to take Wheeler and Lugo instead, but with a little over a week to go, it’s pretty clear the Mets like Gsellman and the stability he provides for the fifth starter spot at least, regardless of what happens with Matz.

Next: Matt Harvey has best start of the spring against Braves

All we can hope for now is that everyone can just stay healthy so these ‘what if’ scenarios can be avoided altogether.

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