Mets need to send Mejia down

In order to get something you have to be willing to give something, and the something many will ask for as the trade deadline approaches in Jenrry Mejia.

I’m beginning to wonder what Mejia’s trade value is these days. He’s been spotty in his role out of the bullpen, and has a career 11-11 record in three years as a starter.

MEJIA: Needs to go down.

“How can the Mets sell this guy as a starter that can produce right away if he’s not even starting for them?’’ a former general manager said.

So, any deal made has to be looked at through the eyes of the other team as potential over production.

So, what will other teams do if the got Mejia. Why, my guess is they would send him to the minor leagues to develop him as a starter.

So, why won’t the Mets do the same?

With the rotation pitching well, and Elmer Dessens producing, the opportunities are becoming less and less for Mejia. The other night in Cleveland he walked a couple of batters and was immediately removed. There’s no room for him to learn to get out of jams up here with the Mets playing so well and believing they’ll be around down the stretch.

And, with either Hisanori Takahashi or John Maine to join the pen soon, those opportunities will become even scarcer.

If the Mets stay relevant during the summer they might need Mejia, but will they have the confidence in him? It seems unlikely with this workload.

If Mejia’s destiny is that of a starter, then let it happen now in the minor leagues. He was 0-5 with a 4.47 ERA last year in Double A, so it’s not as if he’s got the starting thing nailed in the minors.

The Mets might need Mejia before it is over, and wouldn’t it be nice if they knew what to expect?

What I would hate is to lose him now in a trade and have him develop in another organization.  But, with his best days ahead of him, would you give him up for a chance to win now?

30 thoughts on “Mets need to send Mejia down

  1. When he pitched the other night all he could throw was heat and he wasnt on target.
    Still too young and raw. maine and pelf at least had something out of the gate.

    Also, I heard gary talk about Warthen having Dickey change speed on his knuckleball. UM why is Warthen messing with a good thing. I would think a knuckler would be best to teach a knuckler what to do with his signature pitch.


  2. JD:
    here’s an article not written by a blogger and talks to old pitchers and new pitchers and doctors. So as many of us dont like the pitch count, as indicated it wont go away, but maybe they will stear away from teh magic number of 100 for all pitchers and find the count for each pitcher.


    however even a doctor agrees humans are different and every pitcher will have his limit, and there is no magic number:

    Surgeon’s View

    Dr. Louis Keppler, team surgeon, agrees. “There are only so many bullets in the gun,” he said. “If you throw a ball long enough, you will hurt yourself.”

    Keppler adds an important proviso. “Each individual has to be looked at separately,” he said. “The pitch count could change as it is studied.”
    For some hurlers, 75 pitches are too much. For others, 100 might not be enough.

    This was the most impartial article yet and I would rather see the pitch count be realistic than a magic number for all. which I have been professing since this long drawn out discussion started and probably wont end until it becomes more realistic.

  3. SteveC (2): It was an interesting article. I’m not a fan of pitch counts, but the concept is here to stay until there are bionic arms. There is no cookie-cutter number of pitches, but the number has settled on 100, which by definition would all but eliminate complete games (that’s 11 pitches per inning). … You and Tiffany both have your points, neither is right or wrong because this is not an objective issue. … What’s good for one may not be good for another. … Call it a wash and let’s debate something else.-JD

  4. Unless the Mets have someone better than Mejia who can do his job, what’s the harm in letting him stay? Who’s the alternative, Sean Green? Don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t want Green anywhere near his Mets uniform, much less the bullpen.

  5. Gil. currently Mejia hasnt been producing. and this means that we have to lean on pedro , dessens and krod much more.

  6. Who would have thought dessens would be a lifesaver out of the bullpen. A lot of things are going right for the mets this year and that doesnt happen very often. I have already made it clear I would include Mejia in a package to win this year. 1986 is a long time ago and if throwing heat was so great then why is parnell in AAA?

  7. speaking of parnell, there goes your instant repalacement for jenry if you send him down or trade him. At least he was effecive there for a few months last year before the ill fated experiment.

  8. 5. gil, couldnt happen to a nicer team or a nicer city. Boy, am I glad i dont have to live in that cesspit.

  9. 86 – gooden was great but he had to change once they got wise to the high fastball.

    Heat is good but a starter has to do more. otherwise you are a closer…

  10. JD — Me and two crazy people who happen to write studies for a living believe in this silly thing called pitch counts. I know we’re loners and all, and, if I could, I’d place an emoticon next to this sentence, more for the purposes of self-serving bravado than irony. But that’s just me.

    Anyway, I think Randy Wolf is crazy. I wonder if mental-health coverage is covered under MLB’s standard health package. Because Wolf definitely needs some, as he doesn’t agree with the luminaries spouting methane into the air of this blog:
    Wolf knows about pitch counts

    Bill Center

    Wednesday, April 16, 2008 a.m.30 11:02 a.m.

    It is the moot but burning question of the day among Padres fans.

    Had Randy Wolf completed seven innings with no hits Tuesday night, should he have been allowed to continue although his pitch count had already reached 112?

    Padres manager Bud Black said no — given that Tuesday was only Wolf’s third start of the season … and since he had shoulder surgery. And Wolf said he agreed with Black’s decision. With reason.

    High pitch counts early in his career might be a factor in Wolf’s career not fully developing. At least that is a conclusion draw by Baseball Prospectus, which charts these issues.

    Wolf threw 107 pitches in his major league debut June 11, 1999, at the age of 22. During his rookie season, he threw more than 100 pitches in 17 of his 20 starts and topped 120 pitches three times. The following season, Wolf threw more than 100 pitches in 27 of his 32 starts and more than 120 in 11 starts. At the end of the season, Baseball Prospectus ranked him the fifth-most abused pitcher in the majors.

    In 2002, Wolf, who had elbow tendinitis in the spring, threw 509 pitches over a four-game stretch. Things began to unravel in 2003. After an 11-5 start with a 3.07 ERA, he threw 132 pitches in a shutout on July 23, then allowed 33 runs over 30 innings in his next six starts.

    Well, at least I feel better now. It’s me, two crazy guys and Randy Wolf. Do you think Bud Black is on my side?

  11. Oh, look, JD — It’s someone else saying there’s a logic behind pitch counts. Geez, it’s starting to feel crowded in my little cult chapel now.


    Monday, August 24, 2009
    Kerry Wood: Lessons Learned (or Not?)

    On Blogger Day Part II at Nationals Park, we got a chance to interview Nationals manager Jim Riggleman. My question hearkened back to 1998, when Riggleman was the Cubs a 20-year-old rookie named Kerry Wood pitched a lot of innings, which was followed by Tommy John surgery and two full missed seasons.

    In case you’re unfamiliar, I recapped the basic facts of the Kerry Wood story in a post shortly after Riggleman was first named interim manager:

    Wood was called up at age 20. He won the rookie of the year with a 3.40 ERA and 12.6 Ks per 9. He also walked 4.6 per 9 and was therefore prone to high pitch counts. Riggleman didn’t care. He had Wood throw 166.2 innings, including pitch counts of 133, 129, 123, 123, 122 (twice), and 121 (twice). After the season, Wood had Tommy John surgery, missed two full seasons the next season, and has never become the guy he might have been.

    Riggleman had just gotten done explaining how careful the team had been with Jordan Zimmerman, and I wanted to know what he’d learned over the last decade that caused him to advocate such a different approach.

    Riggleman’s answer fell a bit short of what I was hoping to hear.

    The gist of his explanation was that the team was in the middle of a playoff race. They needed to win every game, and Wood as a strikeout pitcher tended to run up big pitch counts. The fans would go nuts every time he took Wood out of a game. And one of their weaknesses as a team was the late-inning bridge between the starter and then-closer Rod Beck.

    All that is fair, as far as it goes. After all, flags fly forever. The Phillies rode Cole Hamels pretty hard last year, and it’s hard to argue with it now.

    Riggles was unambiguous in his philosophy at the time: “I never asked for him to come up, but once he was there we treated him like everybody else.”

    Looking at Wood’s innings and pitch counts, that’s undoubtedly true, but I expected him to say they at least tried to protect him a little.

    Eventually he said, “If I had to do it over I wouldn’t have pitching him that much.” That’s what I wanted to hear, and if he had just left it at that, I probably would have been happier.

    But he went on: “[Pitchers] just get hurt. It was probably inevitable. But your conscience is more clear if you take the conservative approach.”

    I can understand his desire for redemption. One of the most notorious pitching injuries in recent MLB history happened on his watch. It probably cost him his job in Chicago, and I’m sure he’s sick of hearing about it.

    But pitcher abuse isn’t just a political PR problem. You don’t err on the side of caution to protect yourself from criticism as a manager. You err on the side of caution because it reduces the risk of injury.

    There’s a wide body of evidence that usage does matter. Big innings jumps increase risk. High pitch counts increase risk. Wood had both.

    Injuries will never be totally eliminated, but when a pitcher is asked to pitch a lot–especially when asked to pitch tired–the risk level goes up. Riggleman may not want to admit it, but he screwed up.

    I came away with more concern than ever before that this isn’t the guy to trust with premium arms like Stephen Strasburg. I don’t want a manager who will unapologetically run a young pitcher into the ground. And I don’t want a manager who can experience such a monumental setback and not really reevaluate his approach.

    What is the proper emoticon for punctuating this post? I’m at a loss, JD. Please help.

  12. By golly, JD, there’s a news service out of Canada called CanWest. Look what they wrote back in 2007:

    While it is impossible to determine what caused Burnett’s problem, many have pointed to his consistently high pitch counts this season. In 12 starts from April 9 through June 7, he averaged 111 pitches. In the three starts before he felt shoulder pain on June 12, he threw 372 pitches, including a 130-pitch outing on June 7.

    When healthy, Burnett hits the high 90s with his fastball. Last Thursday, he threw in the low 90s.

    The crazy thing, is Burnett had already had arm surgery earlier in his career, linked to high pitch counts. I realize not everyone agrees with me, but if I put an emoticon in this sentence, then those of you who understand it will know how to wink knowingly at my statement. I’m sure the rest of you feel this way.

  13. Oh, my, JD — look at this: Steve McCatty, whose career was likely cut short due to overuse, says Billy Martin was the reason for those high pitch counts:
    In 1980, Oakland had five different starters post at least 10 complete games. Steve McCatty threw 11 complete games alone — good enough to lead the majors in eight of the past 11 seasons.

    And he was their fourth starter!

    Eleven complete games in 31 starts are amazing by today’s standards, but back then, he was below average on his own team. Fellow starters Matt Keough posted 20 complete games in 32 starts, Mike Norris had 24 in 33 and staff ace Rick Langford led the team with an absolutely mind-boggling 28 CGs in 33 starts. The team’s fifth starter, Brian Kingman, even notched double-digits in complete games with 10. All five starters finished the season with 200-pus innings.

    In a standard Head-to-Head scoring system, a complete game could be worth as few as five and as many as 10 points. Langford’s 28 complete games meant an additional 140 to 280 points for his Fantasy owner. He only had two shutouts that season however.

    In an interview published in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, McCatty explained that hard-driving manager Billy Martin was the reason for their high pitch counts. McCatty estimated that he threw between 135 and 145 pitches for complete game. And once, in a 14-inning game against Seattle, he threw 207 pitches — and lost. “I wanted to keep going because Norris, Langford and Keough the year before had gone 14 innings and won,” he said.

    Admittedly so, these pitchers did not have the longest shelf life in baseball. By 1983, almost all five pitchers were essentially done.

    JD, for my own personal enjoyment, I would like to see pitchers throw complete games again. Is there any chance we can bring Billy Martin back from the dead? I know you agree with me, JD — I just wish the others would. Maybe an emoticon would convince them?

  14. Oh, JD — look, it’s Jim Bouton.

    Jim Bouton says that if he’d come up in the Pitch Count Era, maybe he’d be remembered as more than the “Ball Four” author. In his first two seasons as a full-time starting pitcher in 1963 and 1964, Bouton threw 23 complete games and more than 520 innings.

    He was essentially done as an effective pitcher after that — he was 26.

    “I couldn’t lift a carton of milk without my arm hurting,” he says. “I was finished. That wasn’t smart. Today, they have an investment in guys, they want to take care of them, prolong their careers. That’s smart.”

    I can’t think of ONE pitcher — NONE — who regrets having high pitch counts. Baseball has changed, and not for the better. JD, can you make them bring back the good old days of complete games? Please, JD.

  15. Hey, JD — Whatever happened to Mark Prior and Kerry Wood? I know I love to talk about Nolan Ryan and how he pitched so many innings, but that was back then, when men were men and were admittedly a lot tougher and more resilient than these primadonnas of today’s game. I’m sure you agree with me.

    Mark Prior made 30 starts in 2003, his first full year as a pro.

    In those 30 starts, he went over 100 pitches 26 times.
    He went over 110 pitches 19 times.
    He went over 120 pitches 8 times.
    And he went over 130 pitches 3 times.

    And that’s just in the regular season. Did I mention that he was 22? Did I mention that he’s going for another surgery and one of the most promising careers of the last 20 years is basically over?

    Did I also mention that in 2005, after Prior spent 2004 banged up and hurt… Baker allowed him to throw 115+ pitches 9 times with a high of 131?

    How about the fact that in 2003, already injury-proned Kerry Wood broke 120 pitches in 13 starts and finished the season with 6 straight starts of 114 or more?

    Would you believe me if I told you that Wood’s highest pitch count in 2003 was 141?


    I’m reading all this, but I still want to believe what I want to believe because I’m not truly capable of personal growth. I’m sure many of us are like this, too. [Insert emoticon here.] JD, is there any chance Mark Prior might be pitching for the Mets next year? What if we offered Jesus Feliciano for him? What do you think?

  16. JD, I don’t really believe Brad Radke and Ron Gardenhire, because I know better. I’m sure you agree with me on this, too.

    “We used to let [Brad] Radke get up there every once in a while to 115, 120 pitches, and the next outing, we could count on it, he would be [less effective],” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “With Santana, same thing.”

    Radke reached the 120-pitch mark 28 times, but only twice after 2000. He said he felt a definite difference in his arm after a game with a high pitch count.

    I know they’re wrong and I’m right, JD. Is there a way we can change this? What if I posted about it every day on this blog — would that change it? Let me know, and I’ll try to do it, with emoticons and all.

  17. 9 Hey, Ray! How’ve ya been? LOL about your LA comments — lots of folks hate our city for what they call “plastic people,” the smog and freeway traffic.
    But if you call a major cosmopolitan, multicultural city with beaches, palm trees, mountains, all the major sports (except pro football) covered, plus libraries, theaters, cuisine of any kind you can imagine, year-round warm weather, limitless outdoor sports and recreation, the film industry, plus beautiful ladies of all kinds a “cesspit,” I’ll gladly take that any day!

  18. 18. last time I was in LA i am driving in a 4-5 lane highway and we come to a stop as we take 30 minutes plus you drive by discovering its only an issue in one lane .. but everyone has no clue what to do..
    at least one lane should have been blazing by!

  19. 19 excellent point, Steve C! LOL! And being someone who learned to drive on the east coast, that’s why SoCal freeway traffic has never bothered me — most SoCal drivers are very timid at changing lanes on the freeways, so if you’re aggressive enough, you won’t have a problem. Driving in Manhattan, though, with so many one-way streets and super-aggressive drivers is another matter altogether.

  20. Gil, If I were you, i would have stayed in orlando. The suburbs around LA are very nice. Venice and Santa monica to name 2. the city itself is ugly and polluted. driving is a nightmare. just for the driving alone i wouldnt live there. then there are the people who live there. Nevermind the homegrown bloods and crips now you have a multicultural mix of gangs from all over mexico and central america. and then there are just the plain old laker fans who think a celebration is throwing a brick through somebodys windshield or turning over your car with you and your family in it. No thanks. you can have it!

  21. Tiffany: If you read my comment carefully, you’ll notice I wrote that there’s no cookie-cutter answer. Your points are valid. So are Steve’s. There’s no right or wrong here. What works for some won’t work for others. I understand and recognize your points. You are right in your assessment, but there are other pitchers throughout history that just threw and threw and nothing happened to them.-JD

  22. Hey delcos, would like to chime in on the LA debate? how would you rank it on the mlb circuit?

  23. Lets see Delcos, the Mets are .5 games out of first place. Every move they makeis working. Its pretty ridiculous to bash them when they are 10 games over .500. And why should they send Mejia down Because the uneducated say he is not producing . Its bull altho I do understand that facts are not allowed here. But regardless he walked two guys in Cleveland Ohmy, not producing…. And he gave up a run in Baltimore in a 7 run game. And before that he gave up NO RUNS in 7 straight games. Whoops,facts not allowed. Send him down because some GM wants to see him starting. Maybe Minaya won’t trade him for anything anyway. He has the magic wand this year it seems.

  24. (24) Harry???? HOLY CRAP!!! You’re Alive!!!!! Good to see you back where you belong Dolly. LOL. Hey, how is Jason Marquis doing? 😉

  25. (22) Everybody’s right and nobody’s wrong. Sounds like midwestern problem solving at its finest.


    The Dodgers and their opponents threw between 3.42 and 3.59 pitches to each batter in each of the 18 seasons, with yearly averages consistently close to 3.50. In contrast, the average number of pitches per batter in the majors in the last five years has hovered around 3.80.

    That’s a seemingly small difference, but it has profound implications. It means, for example, that if noted workhorse Warren Spahn threw roughly 3.50 pitches to each batter, he probably never averaged as many as 120 pitches a start in any of his 21 seasons. Spahn probably averaged between 105 and 115 in most seasons.

    Compare that to Roger Clemens, who’s averaged more than 120 pitches per start in four different seasons and has come close three other times. Or Randy Johnson, who approached or exceeded a 120-pitch average every year he was healthy from 1992 through 1999. Last year, he averaged ‘only’ 115 pitches per start, his lowest in nine years.

    I know others feel the same way I do. Maybe an emoticon will help?

  26. (22) JD — I just find that pitch counts ruin baseball for me. It makes the game worse. I know you feel the same way about my enjoyment of the game; it’s too bad others can’t be in agreement with you and me — but that’s their loss, right?

    “So much of it was in simple observation. It might sound like common sense now, but we noted that a guy who threw 130 pitches in a game would have a rough time of it the next time out, for instance. We also started to notice that bone spurs and chips in the back of the elbow can be a precursor to the stress that could do major damage to the ulnar collateral. Again, it seems obvious now, but in the early days we were still trying to learn.

    Sandy’s [Koufax] problem was looseness in the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow, with bone chips and arthritis. It was getting worse and worse, and more painful, every time he pitched, and we simply didn’t yet know how to fix it. Sandy wasn’t the kind to hang on as a relief pitcher, so they made a joint decision for his retirement. He was just 31 years old [when he retired in 1966].

    It was very, very unfortunate. I think we would have had a good chance to save his career if he came along maybe, ten years later, after the Tommy John situation. We may have given him another ten good years. Sandy’s still a good friend, and he said that to me himself.”

    — Frank Jobe, discussing his tenure as the Dodgers’ team physician in the early 1960s

    Look, everyone’s wrong and no one is right. Why can’t you just understand that? Is it because my fingers are too thick for my ear canals? Is it too much salt in my diet? I know everyone feels the same way I do, but your opinion, JD, is all that matters. Thank you again for supporting my position.

  27. john

    i have been writing this about Jenrry since spring. some here disagree with your post.

    i think that he has helped this year in his role because of all the problems we have had. i havent watched enough games to have a good opinion on him, but what i have seen is confidence.

    my understanding and your post agrees is that he has been sporadic in the pen.

    At this point if the team doesnt need him in his role the best thing is to send him down and gradually stretch him out and LEAVE HIM THERE.

    if the team is incapable of making a decision, by all means leave him where he is.

    after all he can always learn a lot by watching the game and coming in for a batter or two before he takes a seat.

  28. (22) This is for all those people who don’t agree with you and me, JD:

    At the end of the season, Busby’s 16 wins and 174 strikeouts in 238 1/3 innings made him the obvious choice for American League rookie pitcher of the year.

    Busby was even better his second season, racking up 22 wins and 198 strikeouts in 292 innings. He started 38 games and completed 20 of those starts, including three shutouts.

    It was more of the same in 1975 until a 12-inning win against California on June 25th. McKeon allowed Busby to pitch all 12 innings, throwing an astounding 195 pitches. The underperforming Royals fired McKeon three weeks later but the damage was already done. Busby’s arm would never be the same.

    Busby finished the 1975 season with 18 wins, but he also had a career-threatening shoulder injury. By July of 1976, Dr. Frank Jobe was cutting on his shoulder. He found a tear in his right rotator cuff the size of a silver dollar.

    I’d just like to see the pitchers throw more pitches because it brings me pleasure and I know you agree with me, JD. We don’t need to care about the others because you and I know that everyone is right and no one is wrong. That way, we all get along. How about an emoticon?

  29. (22) It’s a good thing Steve Busby doesn’t want to post to this blog, JD, because you and StevieC would have to read him the everyone-is-right-and-no-one-is-wrong rule:

    INTERVIEWER: 1976 is obviously a bad memory for you, as you were diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff after just 13 games and underwent experimental surgery. Was it in the game against California in 1975 where you went 12 innings when the pain first happened, or do you not remember the specific moment?

    STEVE BUSBY: It wasn’t a specific game. The game in 1975 that I pitched against the Angels [195 pitches] wasn’t when it happened. The next start against the Rangers here in Texas four days later was when I first noticed something that was a little bit different feeling. I just didn’t have quite as much strength, and from there on, the middle of 1975 and on, it just got worse and worse until I couldn’t throw in the middle of 1976.

    I really don’t care what these people say any more. It’s really about me and what I know and what I feel in my heart. Because, after all, baseball — like much of reality — is totally subjective. I can think what I want and be comforted in the knowledge that no one is right and everyone is wrong. Lalalalala — sorry, I can’t hear you now.