The Last Starter In The Rotation

Another position battle that’s been brewing all spring is the fifth starter. Neither El Duque nor Mike Pelfrey has taken complete command of this spot on the roster. This is another position on the team that will probably come down to the last week of spring training to force the Mets to make a decision.

El Duque hasn’t pitched much at all. He’s pitched a couple of simulated games including one today. David Lennon of Newsday reports that his velocity barely qualified as velocity.  Apparently he hit 81 mph and most pitches were in the 70’s. That’s not going to get it done…

Mike Pelfrey has been inconsistent so far this spring. Inconsistent is an improvement over his performance last season. He was completely overmatched by major league hitters for the most part. He has potential but just hasn’t put it all together. Some pitchers take some time to find it and some pitchers just never do.

My opinion is that El Duque is probably done. Who knows how old he really is anyway? There’s been a lot written this spring about his new, more subdued windup to alleviate health problems. He has foot problems and maybe some others that we don’t know about.

I think that Pelfrey will come away with the fifth spot in the rotation. I don’t know where that will leave El Duque. He’s said that he doesn’t want to relieve and I can’t see him going to AAA either. He may end up getting released with $6 million left on his contract. Hey, it’s been done before. Damion Easly was released by the Tigers with $14 million left on his contract in 2003. He played 36 games for the Rays that season before being released again. It happens.

The Walking Wounded

It seems like everyone is injured. The list is long: Gotay, Beltran, Schneider, Delgado, El Duque, Church, Anderson… is there anyone left? The longer El Duque stays out, the better Pelfrey’s chances are of making the team out of spring training. He pitched three more innings today, two hits and no runs. It’s early but if this keeps up there’s no denying Pelfrey the fifth spot in the rotation.

Pelfrey

Grapefruit League Game 1

The Mets lost to the Tigers today in Lakeland 4-2. Mike Pelfrey pitched two solid innings in the start. I don’t pay too much attention to the final scores in spring training, but I do pay attention to individual performances. I really want to see Pelfrey give El Duque some competition for the fifth spot in the rotation. Today’s game was a good showing for Pelfrey. Now let’s hope that he keeps it up.

Fifth Spot in the Rotation

It comes down to El Duque and Mike Pelfrey. I really hope that Willie hasn’t made up his mind about the last spot in the rotation yet. I know that I haven’t. Bart Hubbach of the Post describes the competition.

Pelfrey looked lost at times last year, like he was completely over matched in the majors. He’s a young guy at 24 and still has plenty of time to get it together. I hope he can give El Duque a run for his money.

El Duque is a walking medical mystery. He’s hurt again… already. He has toe and foot problems, and recently had a root canal. He only started 24 games last year. That’s just not good enough.

El Duque isn’t going to the Bullpen

El Duque told reporters this week that he isn’t willing to pitch in relief. He says that he signed with the Mets to be a starting pitcher. The NY Post has a recap of his comments.

My opinion is that El Duque isn’t in a position to demand anything. He pitched very well when he was healthy last year. But he isn’t healthy enough to make demands on the Mets about his role with the team.

Competition is a good thing for the Mets. El Duque and Mike Pelfrey should be fighting for the fifth spot in the rotation. There are no free rides for El Duque or anyone else.

Santana Rocks!

He’s here… and at a reasonable price. The Mets didn’t have to give up Fernando Martinez or Mike Pelfrey. This could work out to be Omar Minaya’s crowning achievement. Obviously, having the Wilpons checkbook helps but he still had to work the Twins down to four promising young players.

The Twins won’t know if this deal worked out for them for a few years. They have a new stadium coming too, but Carl Pohlad doesn’t empty the safe for players like the Wilpons do. Carlos Gomez should start in centerfield and Phil Humber should get more than a look for a spot in the rotation. I’m still surprised they couldn’t get more out of the Mets though.

I’ve read that the Mets are hesitant to offer Santana more than a five year deal. I think they have to look at the Barry Zito deal with the Giants, and then up the ante a little. The Giants set the bar pretty high but the Mets can exceed anything the Giants can do financially. Zito got 7 years for $126 million.

You’re in luck if you have tickets for opening day… Johan Santana vs. the Marlins in Florida. I’m sure tickets are available for that one. Maybe not for long though.

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