Collins said Mazzoni, who was limited to 64 innings in 12 starts because of hamstring and elbow injuries at Class AA Binghamton, could be converted to the bullpen in spring training.
Several things could determine if a switch is made will be dependent on: 1) whether the Mets are able to sign a reliever, 2) whether they obtain a reliever in a trade involving Ike Davis, 3) Bobby Parnell’s status, and 4) how seriously they believe they could contend this season.
If one of the first two variables is reached, converting Mazzoni won’t be necessary, at least not immediately. If they don’t obtain anybody and Parnell isn’t ready, then they’ll need to add somebody.
Finally, if the Mets believe they can make a run in 2014, they might not want to entrust a bullpen slot in a rookie.
Whatever they decide, they should develop Mazzoni as a reliever in spring training because they’ll eventually need another arm out of the pen this summer.
Whether this is a permanent conversion depends on how he responds if his role is changed. Working in Mazzoni’s favor is he’s a power pitcher, with 74 strikeouts in those 64 innings. He also has good command with only 19 walks.
Assuming Parnell’s readiness following neck surgery, the Mets have six pieces in their bullpen, including Vic Black (the closer if Parnell can’t go), Scott Rice, Gonzalez Germen, Josh Edgin and Jeurys Familia.
Another possibility could be Jenrry Mejia should the Mets another starter.
I would avoid that option if possible as Mejia has pitched better as a starter and is more comfortable in that role. Plus, Mejia’s development has been hindered by injuries and by bouncing around from starting and relieving roles. I’d like to see him in the area he’s best at – which is starting – and see if he can develop there.
Yes, the Mets have young pitchers in their system, but Mejia is one of them. And, the more they can develop, the better trade options they’ll have in the future.
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