2:35 pm Jun. 28, 2012
The New York Mets, under Sandy Alderson, are getting a lot of things right. Jenrry Mejia's career isn't one of them.
Mejia, the pitching prospect who was endlessly jerked around by Alderson's predecessor, Omar Minaya, only to suffer an elbow injury that kept him out for most of 2011, is suffering a similar fate in 2012.
Mejia recovered sufficiently to begin pitching in May, and allowed just two earned runs in his final three starts combined.
But the Mets decided that their needs, and Mejia's future, dictated a move to the bullpen. They put him on a program to convert to a reliever in just a couple of weeks, with an eye on getting him back to New York soon after.
Here's the problem: he's been terrible since changing roles midseason. In six relief outings for Triple-A Buffalo, his E.R.A. is a bloated 14.40, and he has more walks than strikeouts.
Accordingly, the Mets are now discussing making him a starter again, to help him capture the success he enjoyed last month. But only temporarily, you see. Once he's succeeding as a starter, then they plan to take him back to relieving.
Got all that?
Meanwhile, even the 2012 team would be better served by keeping Mejia as a starter. The group is performing extremely well right now, but as the Yankees have proven, an opening can come at any time.
If it does, the first choice to take a rotation spot would likely be Jeremy Hefner, the second Miguel Batista. But both are uninspired picks, unlikely to perform well in the role of starter, and neither one is stretched out, due to their recent bullpen work.
Whatever Mejia can bring to the Mets in relief likely pales in comparison to what a competent Mejia could give the Mets out of the starting rotation. And the smart money in baseball is always on starting pitching spots opening up, particularly when two of the five starters you employ, Johan Santana and Chris Young, missed the previous season due to shoulder surgery.
Moreover, unless the Mets want to dramatically ramp up Mejias innings in 2013, making him a reliever now essentially makes him a reliever for the long term. That's a limitation on his use by the Mets, not to mention his value in any potential trade.
Still, if the career of Jenrry Mejia is any guide, the decisions made today will almost certainly change tomorrow. For the sake of both Mejia and the Mets, let's hope they do.