A Desperate Manager?

According to Adam Rubin, of the Daily News, Jerry Manuel plans to use Jenrry Mejia in short relief spurts for the remainder of spring training. Rubin reports that Manuel wants to see how Mejia reacts to pitching in short relief situations, as supposed to stretching his outings out to starting pitchers length. Rubin also expects Mejia to be in big-league camp through the final week as a reliever.

All I can do is shake my head when I read things like this. This is a classic case of a lame duck manager, that is desperate for solutions, regardless of future ramifications. Mejia has been completely dominant so far this spring. In 2 appearances Mejia has pitched 5 1/3 innings giving up 2 hits no walks while striking out 5. Its 2 appearances folks, 5 1/3 innings! To think that Mejia is ready for a major league role is ridiculous. The Mets have an asset in Mejia, but he needs time in the minor-leagues to work. In 2009, Mejia had a BB/9 of 3.58, in A+ and AA combined. Then in his AFL experience, Mejia walked 13 in 14 1/3 innings. Mejia needs innings as a starter in the minors to determine if he can ultimately become a big league starting pitcher. Having a dominant starting pitcher is much more important than having a dominant short reliever. The Mets need to look across the street to the Bronx to find out how not to handle a young flame-thrower (Joba).

Thanks to metsblog.com for the picture, you can find more spring training photos here.

There are 16 comments

  1. Not4Nuttin

    Agree 100% Toby.

    Saw this earlier on Metsblog and am still shaking my head. Normally, you could hope that the GM would put an end to this immediately. Problem is that we may have a lame duck GM to go with a lame duck Manager. I can only hope that someone in the organization puts an end to this madness before damage is done. Just another example of failing to take a long-term view to running an organization. Sheesh!

  2. theperfectgame

    Yup, I find it hard to articulate just how terrible this plan is. It’s mind-boggling that Jerry Manuel still has this job. He seems like a nice guy, and maybe he’s a great clubhouse guy, but he’s clueless at the wheel.

    1. mark4212

      Honestly it shouldn’t be jerry’s call. He will obviously want the best players at the best positions regardless of the future of that player.

      This should come from the top. It should be don’t use him as a reliever. He’s a starter and a potential ACE pitcher. Stretch him out and let him get his feet wet.

      1. theperfectgame

        I totally agree. Which is why I hope that after he made that comment he got called into Omar’s office and whacked in the back of the head followed by a “what were you thinking?” conversation. What frightens me is that if it were Jerry’s call I have no doubt he’d ride the Mejia wave until it crashed and then look around for the next young kid to mess up. Basically, I just don’t think he’s any good at his current job and the sooner the Mets are rid of him the better.

  3. strawman

    This is how the Twins dealt with Johan Santana when he was 20 or 21. Start him in the bullpen, I think he got a few spot starts, and let him get used to getting major league hitters out in short stints. Seemed to work out ok for him. And his minor league numbers weren’t all that good prior to him making the big club.

    1. ihob

      You mean to tell me you are going to base this off of the ONE guy, who succeeded in that situation. I’d also like to comment on the level of intelligence that the front office and manager has had in Minnesota as opposed to the great thinkers and motivators we’ve had in New York.

      The way to go is exactly what the Yankees did with Joba, who started in the minors and forced his way into the big league roster by the end of the year. How often do we hear, spring training means nothing? Now we are going to base spring training performance to have a guy completely skip AAA just to hamper his development.

      At the end of the year bring him up to be a spot starter/reliever, like Johan, and see where it goes from there.

      Keep in mind that if he’s brought up later it will give the Mets more time before he is eligible for free agency and big bucks if he’s as good as he might turn out to be.

      1. strawman

        Base what? I’m simply stating that it DOES have the potential to work. Not that it’s GOING to work. I personally think that he should probably go to AA. But, I wouldn’t be as worked up as most if he did make the big league club out of camp. My main concerns at that point would be who he’s going to replace on the roster, and the clock starting to tick on his Big League service time. I don’t think skipping AAA is a big deal AT ALL. Many guys go straight from AA to the big leagues and are successful.

      2. Not4Nuttin

        I think your Santana analogy is misguided, at least based upon a quick review of the stats. Johan apparently broke camp with the Twins as a 21 year old in 2000, apparently as a swing guy – long reliever/spot starter. That year, he threw 86 IP in 30 games, including 5 starts. With a few exceptions, he typically had 4-5 days between games he pitched, and typically pitched multiple innings when he saw action. (The exceptions being two times that he pitched on back-to-back days, and one time pitching 3 days in a row. This is a far cry from Manuel’s intended use.

        The following year, he pitched in 45 IP in 15 games (4 of them starts). Once again, seemed to be used as the swing guy – long reliever/spot starter. He was apparently injured for almost all of the second half of the season. Now, I don’t know his history well enough, but didn’t Johan need surgery early in his career? Was it in 2001? Was it connected to his being used in relief? Who knows?

        Point is that Johan was fortunate to have been able to bounce back from the early injury. I don’t know what he was throwing like when young, but it is abundantly clear that Mejia needs more time to develop his secondary pitches and consistency throw strikes. Rushing him now may not cripple him forever, but odds are that he will be far more likely to be successful if they do not misuse and abuse him.

    2. Michael Diaz

      The only reason Johan was up, was because he was a rule 5 draft pick. It took him 3 1/2 seasons to become a dominant starter. Also Santana had a year in the minors where he threw more than 100 innings. If he wasnt a rule 5 guy, he would have been in the minors. Lets see him start a full season without getting hurt, then bring his innings up slowly out of the pen. Like Neftali Feliz of the Rangers.

      1. strawman

        Yes, I’d forgotten that he was rule 5 pick. Good point! Upon further review, after remaining on the major league roster the entire year (2000), he was sent to the minors for work to begin the following season.

      2. Not4Nuttin

        Hate to pick nits, but according to Baseball-Reference, Johan filled the same role for the Twins the 1st half of 2001. Looks like he had been converted to a starter at the end of June 2001, made three starts and then hit the stopped pitching for the year. Not sure if he went to the DL with an injury, but they don’t show him pitching in the minors again until 2002. Maybe its a typo?

        Then he started the 2002 season in the minors, perfecting his changeup as legend has it, before rejoining the Twins at the end of May. Still took him another season and one-half to establish himself as a full time SP, interestingly enough.

  4. NateW

    The big league bullpen can be a good finishing school for prospects who have struggled as big league starters and also dominated AAA to the point where going back is useless. Clay Buckholz fits the bill, Mejia is nowhere near that point. He still needs a chance to prove if he can even be a reasonable starting prospect. Its a terrible idea to ruin his career for a good season of relief work.

  5. NickM

    He should be starting in AA. There really shouldn’t be a debate. And the last thing the Mets’ hierarchy should do is listen to the pleads of a lame duck manager.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s