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Positional Battles: Mets Starting Rotation

By Mike Silva ~ February 18th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets.

For all the criticism the Mets starting rotation has received Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, and Oliver Perez all have benchmarks of being solid pitchers. No one had a problem with these three behind Johan Santana in 2008, or when Perez and Maine combined for 30 wins in 2007.

There is little doubt, barring injury, that four of the five rotation spots are already filled. The fifth spot should be an interesting competition, especially considering three of the candidates are out of options:

Locks: Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, Oliver Perez

Competition: Fernando Nieve, Nelson Figueroa, Jonathan Niese, Hisanori Takahashi

Long Shots: Pat Misch, R.A. Dickey, Josh Fogg

Call Up Possibilities: Tobi Stoner, Jack Egbert

Don’t Forget: Dillon Gee

This could all change if the Mets sign someone like, let’s say, John Smoltz, but as of today you have to believe it’s a 3 horse race with Takahashi on the outside. The feel good story would be Brooklyn born Nelson Figueroa, who pitched so well late last year, finally establishing himself in a rotation after 14 pro seasons. His stiffest competition should come from Fernando Nieve, who is also out of options, but I think profiles better as a reliever. This winter he walked 3 and struck out 26 in 26 innings in Venezuela. The bullpen is already crowded and it would be a shame to give up on an arm like Nieve. It seems highly unlikely the Mets would, especially considering Jerry Manuel has tabbed him the favorite at the start of camp.

Jonathan Niese is obviously the future, but his gruesome hamstring injury probably puts him a distant third as the Mets have already indicated they will take it slow with the young left hander. Pat Misch very well could be the sleeper of the group. He showed flashes of being a “Jamie Moyer type pitcher” during his seven starts last season and put up a decent 4.69 ERA.

One name to remember is Dillon Gee who is coming back from labrum surgery. Dan Warthen was so impressed with Gee last season that he even compared him to Rick Reed. He isn’t much of an option right now, but could get a look if the Mets are in need later this season. Same goes for Tobi Stoner who made a cameo appearance last year. Of course, if the Rutgers kid Egbert remains with the organization, he could provide depth as well.

Prediction: Figueroa winds up taking the spot and Nieve goes to the bullpen. Figueroa seems ready for the challenge and the stars may be aligned for him with the Mets not importing a free agent starter.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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6 Responses to Positional Battles: Mets Starting Rotation

  1. Stu Baron

    Egbert’s out of the picture…he was DFA’d when they claimed Jason Pridie from the Twins…

  2. R U Kidding

    Perez and Maine are locks! That says it all. Nothing wrong with them competing for a starting job, but what did they do to e locks?

  3. Tom Mudaprade

    Egbert is no longer with the Mets organization.
    Did you really write this:
    “Dan Warthen was so impressed with Gee last season that he even compared him to Rick Reed.”

    Poor Dillon Gee, he must be mortified to be compared to Reed. I thought he was one of the better Mets prospects?

    You are getting sloppy.

  4. Mike Silva


    Egbert is still on as a non roster invitee- I went to Mets.com to verify this. I haven’t seen him picked up by anyone

    Warthen did say this last spring about Gee. Reed was a very solid pitcher, as for your assertion about top prospect, well, I guess that is an indictment of the system.

  5. Mike Silva


    Read the comments section about what Warthen said about Gee


  6. Ryan

    I think Gee is 100% and I hope the Mets give hime a call at some point this summer

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