Mets moving David Peterson back to the rotation after curious decision
By Tim Boyle
David Peterson belongs in the New York Mets rotation. The decision to put him back in is the right one.
It’s amazing that we’re sitting here in early September and the player with the most wins on the New York Mets is rookie David Peterson. Even more jaw-dropping is the fact that after showing us he had the right stuff to start in the major leagues, the team still decided to demote him from the starting rotation to the bullpen.
Instead of seeing Peterson start every fifth day, the Mets rolled with a rotation behind Jacob deGrom consisting of Rick Porcello, Michael Wacha, Seth Lugo, and Robert Gsellman.
We can debate which of those four men should be in the bullpen—Lugo for the lone purpose of helping them out more. The other three have an argument against them starting because of how poorly they have performed in 2020.
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However you want to line up your rotation is irrelevant to the fact that Peterson needs to be among the starting five. Moving him to the bullpen would have caught up to the Mets and prove to be a costly decision.
Fortunately, they have righted the wrong. Peterson is now scheduled to make his next start on Labor Day versus the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Mets may be a few games below .500 at the moment, but they are very much alive in the race for the extended playoffs. Getting there will take some work. Staying alive will be even more difficult because of the way the roster looks.
In the playoffs, it usually takes a strong rotation and an even more flexible bullpen to get the job done. In a perfect situation, the Mets could potentially get hot and make a run. I think this could be said about nearly every team in the league.
A trouble the Mets will face has to do with all of the late-inning comebacks they’ll need to undertake. When Porcello, Wacha, and Gsellman take the mound it seems as if they are always fighting from behind. This isn’t a recipe for winning even when the bullpen is getting the job done.
In his five starts this year, Peterson went 3-1 with a 3.51 ERA. There was nothing utterly dominant about his overall numbers but they were a nice change from the usual rookies we’ve seen pitch for the Mets in recent years.
Although it is underrated, the Mets now had a rotation missing a lefty. It’s a minor inconvenience but one a team should take advantage of whenever possible. Some lineups can get decimated by a left-handed starter while others are just thrown off their game when a southpaw takes the hill because they’re seeing things differently after a night versus a righty.
In a shortened season where all hands need to be on deck and there’s no wiggle room for experimentation, this might be the most curious decision the team has made with their roster since Opening Day.
Rather than stick with what worked, they spent time stretching out Lugo and Gsellman in the rotation. Peterson, meanwhile, got stuck hiding in the bullpen trying to learn what it’s like to come into a game on short notice.
The plan may not cost the Mets a playoff spot entirely. However, even the short stint out of the rotation may have knocked them down a win or two.
Most important of all, what does this say about Peterson’s future with the team? His young left arm had a real chance to open the season in the Mets’ rotation for 2021. Due to no fault of his own, he has been relegated to bullpen duties as the team tries to justify two bad free agent signings and looks to convert two relievers back into starters.
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Someone seems to have woken up the front office and shown them what Peterson has done this year. All is now right in the world as far as Peterson’s spot on the team is concerned.