Monday, March 24, 2008

A (Not So) Tough Decision

Yesterday, Willie Randolph announced his starting rotation. This news isn't nearly as exciting as it sounds because Willie didn't really announce anything. He told everyone that he had a solid front 4 and no fifth starter - but that's no problem because the Mets don't even need a fifth starter until the third week of the season!

Why there is even a discussion about the fifth starter spot is a mystery to me. There is a 24-year-old that throws 95 and a 63-year-old that topped out at 81 in his first simulated start. They both got knocked around - Pelfrey to the tune of an 8.31 ERA so far this spring and El Duque 5 runs in 3 innings.

Willie had this to say: “[Pelfrey and Duque] didn’t step up and distinguish themselves.’’

I think everyone can agree on that point - but what they can't agree on is why Duque is in the discussion. He has pitched in one live game, he got smacked around, and the season starts in a week. Start the season with a 4-man rotation and bring up Pelfrey as soon as you need a fifth starter. As for Duque, throw him in the bullpen or trade him I don't particularly care.

All Duque has done the past two seasons is get hurt at big times and leave this team with a gaping hole in the rotation. Pelfrey has shown flashes of brilliance (and admittedly flashes of mediocrity as well) and deserves a spot - at least to start the season. If it's May 15th and Pelfrey is routinely getting knocked around then we can get worried and start blasting the lack of starting pitching depth. As of right now though, Pelfrey needs to start.

Is he the next Doc? I think we've established that he isn't. But we need to find out if he's an upgraded cog in Generation K 2.0 or if he's someone that can contribute to this team now. Not including him in the Santana deal makes no sense of he's not going to get a chance to play and prove himself. There's nothing left to learn at AAA - call the Professor and get Pelfrey suited up, the season starts in 7 days.

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