Will Mets Roll with Dice-K?
The Mets have until noon today (Tuesday) to either inform Daisuke Matsuzaka that he’s made the 25-man roster, or pay him $100,000 to go to the minors.
Based on his spring performance, one would think Dice-K will make the club. But if so, what will the Mets do with Jenrry Mejia?
Again, based on spring performance, Mejia would appear to have earned a spot somewhere on the Mets pitching staff. Many would argue that spot should be in the rotation. At the very least, he’s pitched well enough to take a bullpen role. However, considering the economics — and with the Mets, one must always consider the economics — there’s a good chance Mejia will start the season in the minors. Because if the Mets can keep Mejia off the 25-man roster until May, they’ll push back his arbitration clock a full year.
Is that fair? No. Does it make sense for a team whose goal, supposedly, is 90 wins? Not really, if you truly believe that Mejia can contribute toward that win total. But when you consider that the Mets are likely to have Mejia on an innings limit for the season (a limit based on what, exactly?), chances are, as a starter, he’ll have reached the end of his innings by August — we’re assuming, of course, that he remains healthy and pitches so well that he’s on course to make about 30 starts over the entire season.
What if the Mets are in the hunt come September, and Mejia is shut down after pitching, say 150 fabulous innings (long shots on both, I know, but we’re assuming best-case scenario)? That last month would still count as active service time, and Mejia would be eligible for arbitration after 2015 (deservedly so, one could argue, if he has such a strong 2014). Imagine the outrage if the Mets are a few games out of the Wild Card, thanks in part to Mejia’s performance over the course of the year, and they shut him down? Oh my.
At the same time, if Mejia begins 2014 in Las Vegas, will the Mets cut short his starts — pull him automatically after, say, 4 or 5 innings — to make sure he can fit more innings at the MLB level after May?
Finally, should the Mets forget about Mejia as a starter, and start grooming him for short relief?
My bet is he starts in AAA, as a starter. What do you think should be done, and/or, what WILL the Mets do with Mejia? Answer in the comments.