Mets manager Mickey Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland will likely need to convert at least one starting pitcher to a relief role between now and Opening Day. And they recently discussed that process with SNY.
"I think you have to do it sooner rather than later for a couple of reasons," Eiland said. "Obviously, you have to condition that pitcher -- condition his body, his arm. And most importantly, condition his mind. He's used to being in his every-five-day routine. ... and now you have to condition him to pitch every other day, three-out-of-four, four-out-of-six -- whatever the case may be."
"In a perfect world, our five starters will rise up and show who they are early," Eiland added. "It may go down closer to the end than we would like. We have to keep our eye on that and do what's best for the individual and best for the team."
Callaway echoed Eiland's thoughts, saying you have to pay close attention to the physical and mental adjustment being made.
"You have to pay attention to both," Callaway explained. "Some guys might not bounce back very good after they pitch in a game. If he's been a starter his whole career, asking him to go out and do that is gonna change the routine. It's gonna be a little stressful at first."
Callaway added, though, that it seems all of the Mets' current starting pitchers have the mindset to have success if transitioned to the bullpen.
"The mindset of a reliever is a little bit different," Callaway said. ... "It seems like all of our guys have that makeup, where if we put him in the pen, we know he's gonna go out there and attack."
Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and likely Jason Vargas are locks for the starting rotation, and Matt Harvey is expected to be there if healthy.
With Callaway not wanting to go to a six-man rotation, that leaves one spot for Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Robert Gsellman, or Seth Lugo. Of those four, neither Matz or Wheeler has ever pitched in relief in the majors.