Jun 06

Mets Bag Six-Man Rotation; Gee’s Trade Value Drops

Although the Mets did what I suggested and scrapped the six-man rotation, how this scenario unraveled depicts an organization without a compass. What began coming out of spring training with a short bench and an abandoned batting order, continued today with manager Terry Collins announcing the six-man rotation that was supposed to carry the Mets into August is something to be thought of in the past tense.

GEE: Sent to the pen. (Getty)

GEE: Sent to the pen. (Getty)

Of course, this being the Mets, Collins suggested you never what could happen in the future. Well, not exactly. We do know that no matter the issue, the Mets will continue to waffle.

Collins said he changed his mind after he and pitching coach Dan Warthen discussed the rotation and noticed there would be several times when pitchers would sometimes go on seven days rest. Just asking, but wouldn’t this have been something they would have mapped out before making the decision in the first place?

However, I am more inclined to believe this was the result of some pitchers – Matt Harvey, take a bow – moaning about their work schedules. It is unlikely it would be rookie Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom. I doubt it was Bartolo Colon, who probably would benefit the most from the extra rest. I also doubt Gee went to the manager because he has no leverage. I also doubt it was Jon Niese, because he’s pitched so poorly lately that he also doesn’t have any pull. When you’re losing you shut the hell up.

I believe it was Harvey who screamed loudest because he has a history of confronting management. I also believe Collins went through this with Warthen beforehand and was falling on the sword to protect Harvey.

Don’t be surprised if that theory eventually surfaces soon.

There was nobody else but Gee to go to the pen. Obviously, it wouldn’t be Harvey, deGrom or Syndergaard. Niese is the only left-hander, plus he has a history of arm injuries, and you wouldn’t risk him in the up-and-down routine of a reliever. And, Colon isn’t one to work out of the pen.

When this began, I wrote one of the benefits of the six-man would be in showcasing Gee for a possible trade at the deadline, but that’s now a moot point.

Within the past year the Mets waffled on who would play shortstop; who would comprise the bullpen, and who would be closer; who would be the leadoff hitter; what would be the batting order; how many bench players and relievers the team would carry; and now, the composition of the starting rotation.

Frankly, it makes Collins look bad, but it’s not really him, is it? Doesn’t this all fall at the feet of GM Sandy Alderson? How can it not?

Jun 05

Six-Man Rotation Or Bench; Mets Must Decide Quickly

Part of me wants to see the Mets make a run at using a six-man rotation, but with Daniel Murphy going on the disabled list, the bench already perilously thin and the offense sputtering, the prudent option might be to bring up infielder Matt Reynolds and use the conventional five starters.

MURPHY: Injury makes tight situation even tighter (AP)

MURPHY: Injury makes tight situation even tighter (AP)

The Mets are currently in first place in the NL East, but how long will it be before Washington gets hot again? This team is not in position to swing a trade for a bat, so GM Sandy Alderson has to give Reynolds a shot and hope Jon Niese finds himself in the rotation.

As for Dillon Gee, I’d rather have a bat.

Murphy was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday after an MRI exam showed tightness in his left quadriceps and Danny Muno was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas to take his spot on the roster. Wilfredo Tovar is with the team in Arizona, awaiting the Mets to make a decision on Eric Campbell or a reliever.

Reynolds had a strong spring training, but is currently slumping at Triple-A Las Vegas, so even if they promote him there’s no guarantee he will provide the spark the Mets need. As for making a trade for a bat, let’s face it, neither Niese nor Gee will bring back much and the Mets don’t want to part with Noah Syndergaard and aren’t ready to bring up Steven Matz and dump Niese.

Thanks to an 11-game winning streak in April, the Mets got away with using a short bench. It is doubtful they can be so lucky a second time.

Jun 04

Harvey Must Carry Mets

Well, if you want to be called “The Dark Knight,’’ and aspire to be ace of the Mets, then Matt Harvey needed to come up as big as he did in Thursday night’s 6-2 win in Arizona.

The Mets, who limped through May and who are on their way to a June swoon, are looking for Harvey to grab them by the scruff on the neck and shake them awake. Harvey did so, giving up two runs in seven innings with nine strikeouts.

HARVEY: Needs to carry Mets. (Getty)

HARVEY: Needs to carry Mets. (Getty)

Harvey, who entered the game winless in his previous five starts, will be followed by Jon Niese Friday and Bartolo Colon Saturday and Jacob deGrom Sunday. Niese has struggled and Colon has won eight games – seriously, how long will this keep rolling? – so, without a Harvey victory, this had the makings of a dismal trip.

Then San Francisco comes to town next week.

The bullpen choked away back-to-back 1-0 leads by Harvey, but in his last two games he had given up 11 runs – including three homers – in 12 innings. He gave up two more tonight, so that could be a cause of bubbling concern.

Manager Terry Collins theorized of a dead arm, which Harvey rebuffed by clocking in at the high 90s. More to the point, Harvey had looked less than ordinary in his last two starts, and when that happens the Mets look rather ordinary. Actually, worse that ordinary.

“I didn’t feel like I was dead,’’ said Harvey, who struck out 11 in his last start, a one-run loss to Miami. “I felt like I was coming out of my mechanics.’’

In addition to mechanics, and the blown saves by the bullpen, the Mets’ offense has given Harvey all of seven runs in his previous six games. The Mets gave Harvey nothing through the first five innings, then broke it open after he left the game. Each one of his 106 pitches had meaning.

However, when you’re supposed to be the “Dark Knight,’’ there are going to be games when you have to carry your team.

Jun 03

Could Outfield Be Long-Term Spot For Wright?

Reader EddieMetz threw out this idea of a possible long-term solution for the Mets about injured third baseman David Wright. The more I thought of it, the more I believe it could be a plausible idea. EddieMetz believes a permanent solution could be moving Wright to the left field.

It could work, because in the long-term third base probably won’t make it for Wright, who, including this year, will make $107 million through the 2020 season. If Wright can’t play the Mets will recover some of that money through insurance, but it would entail a giant step back in their rebuilding program.

WRIGHT: Could outfield be eventual spot for Wright? (Getty)

WRIGHT: Could outfield be eventual spot for Wright? (Getty)

A lot of players moved from the infield to the outfield, among them Mickey Mantle, Pete Rose, Ryan Braun, Kevin Mitchell and Robin Yount. Wright is a good athlete and in left field the ball would be coming at him at the same angle. Wright also can run and has a strong enough arm. If he takes to left field, it would have a lot less stress on his back.

Meanwhile, third base requires considerable crouching, maybe up to 150 times a game, and there’s a lot of diving at the position. As for who will play third base, there’s Wilmer Flores or Daniel Murphy.

The Mets must seriously consider this because Wright will likely come back late in the season which might not allow them much time to judge his health. The Mets must be proactive because it impacts their offseason thinking, notably what free-agent third base options are available. Alberto Callaspo, David Freese, Casey McGeheee, Aramis Ramirez and Juan Uribe will be on the market. Ramirez is getting older (he’s 36), will be pricey (he’s making $14 million this year) and is on a downhill slide; Freese isn’t the player he was with the Cardinals; and the others aren’t appealing.

It might be more prudent – and cheaper, which always appeals to the Mets – to bring back Murphy (he’s making $8 million this year), than to throw money at an unknown. It is currently believed Murphy will not be brought back.

And, considering their investment in Wright, it will be better to move him to a less stressful position physically than to keep putting him at third base, where the odds increase yearly of him being injured.

I’m not worried about this stunting the development of prospects Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo, because even if they didn’t move Wright to the outfield, I don’t see either being in position next spring to supplant Michael Cuddyer and Curtis Granderson. If Wright does move to left, Cuddyer and Granderson can platoon in right.

Both Conforto and Nimmo could be ready by the time the contracts expire for Cuddyer (after next year) and Granderson (in two years).

This is a lot to consider, and the Mets better be thinking about it now.