Tuesday, January 18, 2011
With Chris Young In, Who's Out?
by Jim Mancari
So with the addition of Young, that begs the question: What should we expect the pitching rotation to look like?
In my last post, I gave my predictions on how the roster may be shaped, including the pitching rotation. It seems as though, at least for the fifth starter's spot, spring training will determine the final order.
Mike Pelfrey will most likely get the Opening Day nod, followed by R.A. Dickey. The lefty Jon Niese should slot nicely behind those two. Young would then handle the fourth starter's position.
To be honest, slotting in the rotation really doesn't matter except for the first few games. On Opening Day, your ace will take on the other team's ace. By the second week or so, your ace may be taking on the opponent's third or fourth starter.
Anyway, that leaves one spot open in the rotation. When the Mets signed Chris Capuano, some initial reports slated him into the long reliever's role. He only started nine games last season for Milwaukee and was used mostly as a reliever.
Then there's Dillon Gee, who showed flashes of potential in his five starts late last season. Gee throws strikes and pitches to contact. He's not going to overpower anyone, but who exactly on the Mets, maybe besides Pelfrey at times, will?
It looks like the battle for this spot will occur in spring training. That being said, I'm sure there will be some parameters set.
If Gee wins the fifth starter's role outright, Capuano should still have a spot in the bullpen, especially since he signed a guaranteed contract. He would see time as a long man and possibly even a situational lefty depending on the fate of Taylor Tankersley and Mike O'Conner.
However, if Capuano wins the fifth starter battle, I would hope Gee slides into the rotation at Buffalo, since he still has options. Gee is not a reliever and should be allowed to develop more at AAA. He is also not the talent that Jenrry Mejia was last season that made the Mets turn him into a reliever to fill a bullpen spot.
My guess would be that Capuano wins the job based on reputation. He won 18 games back in 2005 and hopefully has a little something left in the tank.
When Johan Santana comes back, Capuano's versatility will allow him to pitch out of the bullpen, unless he really pitches lights out as a starter.
I can only hope that the Mets are in the situation come mid July that they are having a difficult decision in who moves to the bullpen to make room for Johan. If that's the case, all five starters will be pitching well enough to retain a spot. A six man rotation would be a possibility, especially since three of the starters would be injury prone.
It's always nice to have an insurance plan, and with the signing of Young, Gee will serve as that plan.
Originally features at Mets Merized Online.