I’ve been planning to write this post today for several days now, and it is not a response to Thursday’s poor performance (nice comeback by the Mets to win the game, by the way), but I think it is time to trade Mike Pelfrey.
Pelfrey is a pretty good pitcher and he’s shown flashes of brilliance, but not enough to justify keeping him. Pelfrey is making nearly $4 million this year, and even if he has a medicore season, he is set to make at least $6 million in 2012. For a cash-starved team, that is a lot to pay for a middle-to-back of the rotation guy.
And that’s just what Pelfrey is — he is not an ace. With Johan Santana down, the Mets needed Pelfrey to step up and be an ace. But he just doesn’t have it in him. Perhaps the pressure of being an ace is just too much for Pelfrey. And that’s another problem — he appears to be soft.
Pelfrey is one in a long line of recent Mets starters (Oliver Perez, John Maine) who are sensitive on the mound, who retreat when the going gets tough. Starting pitchers have to be fierce — they have to battle when things don’t go their way (Santana, Pedro Martinez, Al Leiter to name a few). Pelfrey seems like a nice guy and I don’t relish writing this, but he just doesn’t seem to have it in him.
Maybe pitching in a smaller market where less is expected of him would be good for Pelfrey. He still has good stuff and can thrive in such an atmosphere. I think the Mets could still get a couple of good prospects for Pelfrey.
In addition, looking ahead, the Mets really don’t need Pelfrey. The 2012 rotation is going to be Santana (God willing!), R.A. Dickey, Jonathon Niese, Dillon Gee and one more pitcher. That would have been Jenrry Mejia, but he will still be recuperating from Tommy John surgery. He should replace Dickey in 2013.
I think the fifth starter should be Matt Harvey. He is burning up the minor leagues, with scouts marvelling at his stuff. I actually think the Mets should bring him up right now, depending on the kid’s make-up. If he is one of the tough ones who can withstand a little “baptism by fire” in the majors, then make the call. If he is a softy like Pelfrey who would suffer a major setback if he were to fail at the big league level, then he should be left in the minors for now.
I sense that Harvey is one of the tough guys. If he can establish himself this season, it would make it that much easier to trade Pelfrey and set up the rotation for 2012.
Either way, Pelfrey should be sent packing.