Thursday, March 25, 2010

Continuing The Debate

I gotta say that this Jenrry Mejia debate is fascinating. As opposed to a lot of spring training chatter, which can be about nothing and drive you insane sometimes, the back-and-forth between the people that want Mejia in the Mets bullpen this season and the people who want Mejia in Buffalo or Binghamton to hone his skills as a starter has enough twists, turns, nooks and crannies to make an English muffin look like Sara Lee Soft & Smooth bread.

Here's how nuts it's gotten, and keep in mind right off the bat that I consider myself in the camp of caution, of sending him to the minors and letting him work on secondary pitches to come up as a starter rather than keeping him up this season to be a situational/short/set-up reliever: There's a Facebook page organizing a protest to keep Mejia in the minors, which will set itself up outside the SNY studios hoping to be seen on Loudmouths or whatever show's path it happens to cross. Think about that for a second: Imagine there was a protest on live television to keep you from getting a promotion at work. How would you feel? Even if it was organized with your best interests at heart ... what kind of blow to the ego would that be?

Good thing nobody cares about your job that much, eh?

Here's the way I see it: You can compare Mejia to anybody you want who has gone from starter to reliever: John Smoltz did it, and did it well. What I would have liked about the transition if Smoltz wasn't a Brave was how he understood the art of throwing breaking stuff with more ferocity. Smoltz was throwing a 92 mph splitter. That isn't fair.

But it takes a veteran like Smoltz circa 2001-2004 to understand that. Jenrry Mejia, I'm guessing, knows nothing of what's between zero and sixty. Thus, he has more to learn.

Then there's one Mr. Chamberlain and his silly rules. Similar debates rage on about Chamberlain and where his role is best suited. The fear with Mejia is that he'll be treated with the same kid gloves that lightly tapped Chamberlain and his role is going to go back and forth depending on which managerial or front office job he needs to save that day. So his path needs to be straight and not circular (like the change up he may need to learn).

(You know what's weird, usually the manager plays veterans to save his job, not bring up rookies. As usual with the Mets, the circumstances are all cockeyed.)

Obviously, Chamberlain has been more dominant as a reliever than a starter. One could argue that a mediocre starter proves more valuable than a lights out set-up guy (see: Oliver Perez's contract), but Mejia at least deserves the chance to show that he could actually be more than just a mediocre starter before we have this debate. Sure, the bullpen has holes (cough ... Sean Green ... cough), but the rotation is a doughnut. And yes, John Maine's fastball had some movement and it actually struck out Albert Pujols on Thursday (though the pitch was a ball), but I stand by the statement. Fill a bullpen hole for a season which is going to be an uphill climb anyway with a raw rookie, or fill a rotation hole for ten years with a seasoned prospect? You decide.

Then there's Bobby Parnell, who to me is a poster child for rushing your prospects as the Mets have done too often under this regime. He too, had an eye opening spring. He then went from the sixth to the seventh to the eighth inning. Then he fell apart. Not to say Mejia isn't going to fall apart at some point in his major league career, but wouldn't you want him to be fully prepared when that meltdown comes? Somebody who has pitched 44 (and a third) innings above A-ball in his life can't possibly be prepared. Hell, who knows if he's prepared for Friday night's fan boycott???

If you're still confused by all this, Glenn Beck explains it all on this blackboard:

It's not confusing at all.
And if you're still confused by this, here's Keith Hernandez in the leisure suit that he recently admitted on an SNY broadcast he wore when he got called up to the Cardinals.

The yellow one was in the cleaners.


Dan said...

Glenn Beck is a Mets fan?

Unknown said...

As earth shattering as this may

I agree with you totally. i'd rather he start the year in Double-A as a starter and yet, as much as i want to see that, i'm not sure this protest is a good way to get it. Like you said, is anyone considering how this will make mejia feel? About himself, about his ability, and about playing in New York for New York fans, that this may give the perception, we don't want him here?

On a side note, i did read an article somewhere that many times a manager about to lose their job will try and rush a super prospect as a diversion. So not just the Mets.


mistermet said...

Anyway that I look at this, I can't see him starting in the bullpen on Opening Day as a positive. I mean, like you said, he's thrown 40 innings above AA, he's just 20 years old and he's only been pitching for literally 5 years! This would be so detrimental to his development. What's the positive? Maybe he comes up and throws 10 solid innings in April. After that, every team has a book on him and he struggles because no other pitches are developed. His confidence is shattered and he's demoted to the minors, while losing an option year and starting his arbitration clock early. Are those 10 solid innings really worth it? Apparently to Manuel, they are so he can save his own ass.

In regards to Parnell, it is a similar situation, but on the contrary, Parnell was what, 24 last year? He's a college arm who was starting to get up there in age (in terms of being a legit prospect). I wasn't opposed to Parnell making the team because his ceiling is reliever. I never felt that he was good enough to be a ML starter. Granted, the Mets did rush him early on (look at the minor league numbers...very pedestrian, to say the least), but at his age and with his experience, he should have been able to put up better numbers as a starter. his command just is not there and his secondary pitches are weak. that velocity is what got him to the show.

I really wish I was in the area today to attend this protest, because I feel very strongly about this. This will sound weird, but I actually feel like I am going to cry every time I read about him making the pen (yeah...shut up). just absolutely poor decision making if he does make the team and unfortunately, i feared this when they announced Minaya and Manuel would be back-pulling out all the stops just to cover their own asses. ugh. i'll be happy if/when he gets sent least he got a lot of innings in spring training.

Anonymous said...

Amazin' Avenue had a great comparision - Pete Schourek. The team never handled him properly and once he left he immediately showed how good he was. Then again, those Mets and Dallas Green found a way to screw over many talented young pitchers. Let's hope that history doesn't repeat.