Monday, June 6, 2011

Question Is No Longer When Is Santana Coming Back, But What To Do When He Does

Johan Santana started tossing off the mound not too long ago, and it's amazing how it doesn't appear that he has been missed. Personally, I think the Mets would be lucky if he's back before the All Star Break, but probably more realistically end of July or the beginning of August.

Will Johan be the same pitcher he was in 2008? Very doubtful. This is a pitcher whom the Mets committed a large contract (6 years $137.5 M plus club option for 2014), but who has had three surgeries over the last three years: knee surgery (08), Shoulder surgery (09), and elbow surgery (10) - it is very doubtful he will be what he was.

Nonetheless, when he is "healthy" to return, he will be placed atop the Mets starting rotation, but that will leave five other pitchers wondering who will be the odd man out.

Mike Pelfrey has been the worst Mets starter this year, but it is very doubtful he will be dropped from the rotation. Pelf has had his woes this year, but has pitched better of late, and was bailed out last Thursday by a 7 run come-from-behind victory over the Pirates. The Mets want Pelf to pitch well, and at times he has been great. Unfortunately, with his mental lapses and anxiety, not only Pelfrey, but the fans need
Xanax when he pitches.

Jon Niese has been great since the first few poor outings to start the season. He was masterful Friday night against the Braves, only to be snakebit by a terrible outing by the bullpen. His curve ball has kept opponents off guard, and he shows the type of demeanor a pitcher needs to pitch in this town. Although somewhat soft-spoken, the kid is a competitor.

RA Dickey has not had the kind of season he, or we as fans, expected nor hoped for. RA hasn't had the command nor the nasty knuckelball that confused and confounded batters last year. Since the game he hurt his heal with a
Plantar Faciitis issue, he has been tough. He is a gamer, and the exact person you want on your squad. He has pitched very well of late, and look for him to continue along that path.

Chris Capuano, like his fellow new-comer Chris Young, is a gamer. He does not have the best stuff, but he is a thinker and knows how to pitch out of trouble. I like Capuano's moxie, but I don't think it is enough to save him in the ugly numbers game. Although he deserves a spot in the rotation, he will probably be odd man out.

Dillon Gee: not even worth considering. The kid has been tremendous, and is most deserving of a spot in this rotation. He can pitch out of trouble without breaking a sweat, and might be very well be an active name in the NL Rookie of The Year voting. He has been great, and should have made the team out of Spring Training. It took a little longer than he would have liked to get to the big squad, but now that he's here, he isn't going anywhere (hopefully).

Although it might seem like a plus getting Santana back, it could possibly be subtraction by addition. Even though Pelf hasn't pitched well, I can't see the Mets dropping him. It will either be Capuano, or unfairly Gee, who still has options left.

What do you think? Who would you keep on the roster? Take our poll on the right.

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