Mets’ Pitching Questions Heading Into Spring Training

With spring training less than two weeks away, the Mets have a myriad of questions they’ll hope to resolve before Opening Day. That’s six weeks to get done what hasn’t been completed all winter.

With a late push, GM Sandy Alderson added a fifth starter and has tinkered with his bullpen. The operative word there is “tinkered,’’ because there’s more hope than actual production in what he’s done.

Many of the questions, not surprisingly, are concerned with pitching. Here’s the pitching questions I’m asking:

Q: How healthy is Johan Santana, and what is his mindset in his walk year?

A: Once again, Santana didn’t complete a whole season with the Mets. This time, it wasn’t his shoulder, although he did experience some tiredness after his 134-pitch no-hitter. Santana has to know the Mets have no intention of extending his contract beyond this year, so he’s pitching to impress new suitors. In that case, he might give a little extra in his walk year. Then again, he might just coast to show he’s healthy. There’s a gradual build-up in spring training to 100 pitches so we should get an idea of how sound he is. If he’s not, the Mets might have to scramble for another starter.

Q: What is Dillon Gee’s status?

A: Gee’s 2012 was cut short because of a blood clot in his shoulder. The projection for him is as a fourth or fifth starter. Surgery removed the clot and he has been cleared. I’m curious as to his strength and stamina. Clots are serious things and Gee has probably been prescribed blood thinners to prevent them. Still, until he gets out there we won’t know for sure.

Q: Does Zack Wheeler make a statement?

A: Wheeler isn’t expected to make the rotation, but will be a call-up during the season. With concerns about Santana and Gee – and you know something else will pop up – Wheeler might be counted on sooner than expected. The Mets don’t expect Wheeler to be a full-time contributor until 2014, but that’s only a rough timetable.

Q: What is the composition of the bullpen?

A: The Mets added Pedro Feliciano, LaTroy Hawkins and Scott Atchison, and are talking to Brandon Lyon. Jose Valverde won’t happen and Frank Francisco is a $6.5 million health issue. Kind of gives you a warm, optimistic feeling doesn’t it? The bullpen is essential to any progressive step the Mets might take and currently it doesn’t seem better than last year. On a positive note, Josh Edgin and Robert Carson showed potential worth grooming and Bobby Parnell was a positive when Francisco went down at the end of the season.

5 thoughts on “Mets’ Pitching Questions Heading Into Spring Training

  1. It would be good if we sign Lyon. I was reading about the pen and someone made note of how effective Parnell was at the end of the season. I looked him up and his numbers are good. That said you cannot rely on anyone in the pen. The more the merrier.

    Santana. Also recently I came upon an article on PED’s. In it the author listed warning signs like coming back early from a serious injury. They were talking about Adrian Peterson. I thought of Santana. He is a proud man at the end of his career. It is not a stretch for him to look for help to get his body where he would like it to be.

    Gee. A question mark. I want him to do well. But he is a control pitcher with no outstanding pitch. He has done better than anyone thought. I root for him but do not depend on him.

    Wheeler. I hope they keep him in AAA as long as they can. I would think somewhere in the June/July time frame would be about right.

    Harvey. What will he do this year? I like him and want him to succeed. I liked Pelf too, but he didn’t work out.

    We have cheap options in AAA like Familia and Mejia if he can ever learn to pitch.

    Talking about pitching is nice and all. There are many stories here like the return of Pedro, but the real story on the team is the OF. What I have noticed too is our minor league system seems to be getting more respect. I have read a few stories that liked the RA trade and what we got back.

    Speaking of which in addition to Wheeler we have the new catcher who should make it here this year too. That would give us a nice young infield ( with the exception of David ).

    • dave: There are always dozens of pitching questions every spring and this year is no different. I should have mentioned Jenrry Mejia. The question with him is whether he’ll start or work out of the bullpen. I don’t really care anymore. Just pick a role and stick with it.-JD

  2. So the news I read today is the Mets wanted to build a casino next door to the stadium. Hmm. I am thinking of the Black Sox and Charlie Hustle. I am also thinking of that Ponzi scheme thing that is the catalyst for all that is wrong with the team. Can we force a sale yet?

    The other news is the GM says we are not far away. So next year we won’t have an established pitcher but we will have a lot of talent. We won’t have a closer or much of a pen and we have no OF. We also do not have much in the minors that is close that can fill the OF.

    • dave: MLB suspended Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays from baseball for working in a casino. I don’t see how MLB could ban Pete Rose for gambling, yet allow ownership in a gambling establishment by a club owner. But, baseball is full of contradictions. Some teams even sell advertising space in their stadiums to casinos. Just not right.-JD

      • John

        This is simple

        The commissioner is an owner and makes money for his friends

        He doesn’t care about the game. He cares about making money for himself and his friends.

        Where is giammati?