However, one story that I have no use for at this point, is the "Mejia to the bullpen" meme. Dude's about to have surgery to repair his elbow that will put him out of commission for roughly 12 months, and people are writing about the appropriate role for him when he returns? Does that make any sense? Keeping in mind how much more valuable starters are than relievers, shouldn't the type of pitcher he is when he returns dictate how he's used?
Why yes. And you know who said this precisely? Mets GM Sandy Alderson. Addressing Mejia's future role he said,
"We'll just wait and see. I don't think there's any reason to believe that the injury itself will dictate how he's used."
Oh, good grief that makes a lot of sense.
Kieran Darcy at ESPNNY wrote, "The future of prized Mets pitching prospect Jenrry Mejia could be in the bullpen, as opposed to the starting rotation."
As evidence he points to this Terry Collins quote:
"There'll probably be a conversation [about his role]," Mets manager Terry Collins said on Tuesday. "Until we get the pitching guys involved and take a look at the mechanical side of it, see what's going on. But for sure, I think we need to re-evaluate him."
Of course the Mets will talk about Mejia's role. They should talk about Mejia's role. They do talk about the best role for all of their players and minor leaguers.
I want to make one point that I think is really important here. Mejia hasn't shown the command of his pitches yet that would lead one to believe that he can be an elite starter. It doesn't mean he can't develop that. It's very possible that the early stages of his elbow injury hampered his command, or the progress in his command.
It is possible for relievers and closers, and some very good ones, to survive with command that wouldn't cut it for starters. Just ask K-Rod.
The obvious take-away: when Mejia is healthy, and fully healthy, then his performance will dictate his role. When will that happen? It's hard to say. It could be 2012. It could be 2013. Is that a satisfying answer? Hell no, but it's the only reasonable one. It's gratifying to see the Mets taking this approach.
Joe Janish uses the Mejia injury to argue that the Mets aren't doing enough to teach proper mechanics. Yeesh. This is the type of argument that needs to be made in conjunction with data. Are Mets pitchers getting hurt more frequently than others?
Further, he claims that there are three or four teams out ahead of the rest of baseball in using scientists to track pitching motions in an effort to keep them healthy. I know the Red Sox are aggressive about this. There's no reason every team, including the Mets shouldn't be too. The potential returns from improved pitcher health are tremendous.