macguyvering a starting rotation

March 25, 2008

As March 31st inches ever nearer for our dear Mets, Willie Randolph announced his starting rotation as Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez, Oliver Perez, John Maine, and…someone else. Please, anybody else!

At the beginning of spring training, the fifth slot seemed like El Duque’s to lose, and lose it he did as bunions and root canals and arm fatigue and menopause pushed back his first start to this weekend, where he got lit up for five runs in three innings. Which left the door open for Mike Pelfrey, who started spring training with a sense of purpose that bled into his performances, up until recently…like the very same game this weekend, when he subsequently went out and got lit up for eight runs in four and a third. Grrrreat. How does that starting position feel, Butterfingers?

Without a viable option like, oh, Kyle Lohse or somebody (like…Jason Vargas? *snicker!* Oh I know he’s hurt but c’mon, did you see that dude last year? P.U.), it was even stated by Omar Minaya that the heretofore unheralded (unless you were this dude; good call, dude) Nelson Figueroa had pitched his way into the fifth starter discussion.

And then there’s this development. Coupled with this morning’s surprising news that Steven Register–who had a 3.12 ERA in spring training and managed to impress Willie–was placed on waivers today, this means some possible maneuvering in the bullpen as well:

A person in the Mets hierarchy indicated Tuesday that the club is considering Sosa for the seemingly unclaimed No. 5 assignment, noting that the recently improved relief work of Joe Smith and the swing-and-miss pitches of Brian Stokes have the Mets thinking they can afford to remove Sosa from the bullpen alignment.

I’m not totally against this move–I mean, like so obvs, especially if it means a spot for Joe Smith. And Sosa did pitch beautifully when he was brought up last year (my first game at Shea last year was his first as well!); but then, well, you know the rest. Like everyone else on this team, he quickly went down the shitter. But I’m willing to give some cautious optimism, and hope that he can handle a few starts until either Pelfrey proves his mettle or El Duque finds some spirit gum to slap his limbs and joints together. I guess I can afford that cautious optimism when our top four are Santana-Pedro-Ollie-Maine.

Incidentally, this was my 100th post. Took long enough!