The New York Mets announced they will be switching to a six-man rotation starting Sunday, and the timing of the move raises some eyebrows.
Jeremy Hefner will join the rotation Sunday, effectively pushing back the start dates for the other pitchers in the rotation except for R.A. Dickey, who will continue to pitch the season on regular rest.
This move has been made to keep everyone fresh and "to make sure they stay healthy throughout the remainder of the season," Mets manager Terry Collins said (h/t The Star-Ledger).
From that standpoint, it is easy to understand why the Mets made this move.
Johan Santana and Chris Young are both in their first seasons back from shoulder injuries and have showed signs of fatigue. Jonathon Niese has been prone to second-half fades in his career, and Matt Harvey is on an innings limit. This move should stretch both pitchers out to the end of the season.
“I really don’t have any say in any of it,” Harvey said of the six-man plan (h/t New York Post). “Whenever they tell me to throw, I’ll throw and give it everything I have.”
From another approach, this move is interesting, especially for a team that continues to fade into irrelevance.
"We think this is really going to give us the best chance to compete at the level we want to compete," Collins said (h/t Mets.com). "We're going to play some teams that are going to be playing for something very, very special, so we want to make sure we're running the best guys out there."
It is hard to envision the use of a six-man rotation being a benefit. In fact, this could be more of a detriment. The likelihood of using an already horrid bullpen goes up, and while another pitcher is likely to be called up, that will take away a spot off the bench.
What could be even more damning is the psyche of the rotation.
All players and more generally people are creatures of habit, and that holds very true for pitchers. Taking them out of their regular routine could prove costly. Just look at what happened to R.A. Dickey.
At any rate, with expanded rosters coming in a couple weeks, this may be a moot point. Only time will tell if more is better for the New York Mets starting rotation.