Thursday, April 15, 2010

Who would replace Maine?

John Maine has been doing awful, no getting around that. If he's plunked from the rotation, who would take his place? We clearly didn't think about this before Opening Day, you know, if our starters weren't going to pan out to what everyone was raving about in spring training (because the previous years weren't clear enough). So, my question is, who would replace John Maine is he bombs his next start?

My first thought would be Jenrry Mejia, as if everyone's probably. If they wanted him up in the MLB bullpen, what's stopping them from wanting him in their starting rotation? If they're this high on him and eventually see him as a dominating starter, why not throw him in to the rotation? They'll say he's not ready, but is he really ready to be in the bullpen?

I can obviously scratch off Fernando Nieve for the starters role. Jerry's frequent usage for him late in games, and Nieve being effective, makes me wonder if he'll ever see another start as a Met again. I think if he can lock up the 8th inning and maybe Igarashi can lock up the 7th inning, our starters would only have to go 5 or 6 innings and that helps. But is 5 or 6 innings of giving up a reasonable amount of runs too much to ask of Ollie these days?

I think the next plausible choice would to give Hisanori Takahashi a go. He was fabulous in spring trainging when he started and Manuel might take that into consideration. Though much of the off season was to get a second lefty in the bullpen, I'm not sure if he'd pluck Takahashi as a pen lefty to stick him in the rotation but could easily just be a short term solution.

Maybe give Raul Valdes the nod? He's been talked about a lot and his name has been going around so maybe Manuel will give him the start. He's been highly effective in the bullpen, pitched 5 innings of 3 hit ball, giving up no earned runs and striking out 7. I'm not sure if Manuel wants to tamper with the rhythmn he has being effective in the bullpen, but that's his decision.

Let's not forget about Bobby Parnell, though. Sure, he wasn't sharp when he had a few starts in the 2009 season, but he's over his first season woes and has been fine tuning his splitter in the minors. Why can't Parnell be a starter? Yes, he was good in the bullpen with that fastball that lingers in the upper 90s but if he can improve his secondary offerings and harness a nice splitter, then age is on his side compared to the other contenders for Maine's spot if he loses it soon.

With the bullpen being completely lights out so far, I find it hard to believe Jerry will yank one of those guys without looking at other options. Due to a dominant bullpen early on in the season, maybe Mejia will be sent down to the minors or maybe stick him in the rotation (!). Maybe they'd bring in a free agent (Pedro???) or maybe just leave Maine in there and watch him embarrass himself every fifth day.

Time will tell. What are your thoughts?

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