Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
For most of the offseason, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he was happy with the team’s starting pitching depth. Most, including yours truly, felt there were far too many ‘ifs’ as part of that depth, and implored Alderson to sign a starting pitcher. Eventually, he did — inking LHP Jason Vargas to a two-year deal.
Fast forward a few months.
The Mets are fresh off the first-ever rotation turn of the once known ‘five aces’ — Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler.
Vargas, who suffered a fractured bone during spring training that required surgery to his right (non-throwing) hand, is close to a return — potentially in about 10 days.
As the old adage goes, these things have a tendency to work themselves out. But if Syndergaard, deGrom, Harvey, Matz, and Wheeler are all healthy and pitching well a week or two from now when Vargas is ready to come back, what happens?
Mets manager Mickey Callaway suggested last month that he’s not open to going to a six-man rotation — citing the need for his pitchers to be on a regular schedule. So you can likely throw that idea out the window.
Then there’s the reluctance of the team to use the brittle Wheeler or Matz in a relief role. And if they’re both performing well in the rotation, there’s no reason to even consider it.
And we know that neither Syndergaard or deGrom is moving anywhere.
Meanwhile, Harvey has made one relief appearance during his six-year career. And while he’s an unknown right now as a rotation member, his strong performance in his first start of the season — and the way his stuff looked throughout spring training — should make people cautiously optimistic.
So… Vargas to the bullpen?
He hasn’t come out of the ‘pen since 2009, and his career splits are pretty even against left-handed and right-handed hitters. And last season, he was far worse against lefties than righties.
But perhaps Vargas would be asked to use a different approach if he was moved to the ‘pen — as Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo have done so well this season. And the Mets do only have one left-hander (Jerry Blevins) out there.
There doesn’t seem to be a simple answer here, but if things stay on track, the Mets will have to come up with one sooner rather than later.
Published at Thu, 12 Apr 2018 21:08:11 +0000