Dillon Gee went on the DL yesterday with a blood clot in his right shoulder. Depending on the severity, he could be out anywhere from two weeks to over a month. So today, Terry Collins had to make an adjustment to the rotation. He had two choices: Miguel Batista or Matt Harvey.
He made the decision to plug in Miguel Batista into the rotation as opposed to Harvey, saying that he didn’t want to rush the young pitching prospect (according to MLB.com):
“I don’t want to put him in a situation where he can fail.”
This decision may not be the best one for the team in the short-term, but it is a real reminder of what this year is all about.
Matt Harvey is clearly the better pitcher. He has two killer breaking balls to go along with a plus fastball and a developing changeup. On top of that, he’s been stellar for Triple-A Buffalo, going 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA and 9.3 K/9, earning himself an All-Star selection. Meanwhile, while Miguel Batista has been a useful innings-eater in mop-up situations, he has been inconsistent and proven that he can’t be relied on in big spots.
However, this year is a development year for the New York Mets. It’s a transition year. They’ve got a very young nucleus and are waiting on a few prospects to be ready before they can make a run. Don’t you remember?
We’ve all been swept up by the excitement this season. The Mets are contending, but let’s not go crazy. You never know what could make or break a pitching prospect. I’m fine with calling up Matt Harvey in September once the Triple-A season is over for a few starts, but calling him up now would be jumping the gun, in my opinion.
It seems like Sandy Alderson has made the purpose of 2012 pretty clear. Just look at this headline from CBS Sports: “Mets officials believe they may owe it to overachieving team to bolster roster.“ I don’t know about you, but top me, that sounds like a “let’s thrown this team a bone” as opposed to “we’re for real, let’s go for it!” This move really didn’t surprise me when I thought about it. There are certain things a pitcher must master before he can be called up to the majors. If the Mets don’t think Matt Harvey has done that yet, then he should not be playing for the big league club. It’s as simple as that.
Of course playing well and winning games is a goal of every team. Even the Astros field a team each year hoping to catch lightning in a bottle and make a playoff run. However, you have to keep in mind your long-term track as a franchise before making any impulsive decisions, such as calling up your second best pitching prospect before you’re sure he’s ready. Just look at the 2011 Pirates. They could have gotten excited with their fast start last year, and traded away some of their best pitching prospects for a few veteran bats. However, the Pittsburgh brass knew that they were likely going to collapse and were a year or two away from a legitimate playoff run. It’s not quite the same situation, but the concept is the same: Don’t take unnecessary risks just because you’re excited about how the team is doing.
Hopefully, Gee won’t be out too long and Batista will only make three or four starts, but yesterday’s decision was a good indicator that the Mets brass has this season in perspective.