Assuming he gets a new contract extension from the Mets this offseason, 2012 NL Cy Young Award favorite R.A. Dickey will still be the Mets' ace by the 2014 season. His next few seasons may not include the 20 wins and league-leading 230 strikeouts that he had this year, but there's every reason to believe he will still be one of the most elite pitchers in baseball for the next few years.
Jon Niese had a breakout season that included career highs in wins (13) and ERA (3.40) as he continues to improve as the Mets' most notable left-handed starter. Barring any potential trades going forward, Niese will remain a fixture in the Mets rotation. He will very likely be the Mets' No. 2 starter in 2013, but could fall as low as No. 4 by 2014 depending on the performance of two other pitchers.
Those two other pitchers include top prospects Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. Harvey came up in late July of this year and was very impressive in his first 10 major league starts. Despite a 3-5 record, he had a 2.73 ERA and got 70 strikeouts in 59.1 innings pitched. Harvey will begin the 2013 season as the Mets' No. 3 starter and could potentially become an ace or co-ace in 2014 if he does very well in his first full major league season.
Wheeler, though, is projected to be even better than Harvey and will probably start his 2013 season in the minor leagues at the Triple A level. If any Mets starter next season underachieves and/or gets hurt, though, look for Wheeler to be called up for good. This could happen in May, June or even July, but Wheeler will almost certainly make his major league debut sometime in 2013. By 2014, he will be yet another fixture in the Mets rotation and will likely move up in the depth chart.
With Dickey, Niese, Harvey and Wheeler all widely projected to continue to be in the Mets rotation for quite some time, the only real debate will have to do with who the fifth starter is. Depending on who the Mets sign, re-sign or trade for in both this offseason and the following offseason, many different pitchers could have a shot at rounding out the Mets rotation.
As of right now, the safest bet would be Dillon Gee. Veteran Johan Santana's 2014 option will most likely not get picked up, which would result in him becoming a free agent. If Santana gets hurt at some point in the 2013 season, the Mets would simply call up Wheeler for good, which would work very well for Gee to remain in the rotation.
However, if the Mets really feel Wheeler is ready for his major league promotion and one of the current starters will be forced out of the rotation, the most logical guess would be Gee. Dickey, Niese and Harvey are all better pitchers, while Santana is a two-time Cy Young Award winning veteran that will be getting paid over $30 million next season.
Because of all that, Gee would probably be the odd man out in such a scenario. Then, once Santana departs as a free agent in the 2013-2014 offseason, Gee would have security again as a back-end starter. Gee led the Mets in 2011 with 13 wins, though, so it's not like he is much worse than his teammates by any means.
All in all, the Mets rotation in two years will include Dickey, Niese, Harvey, Wheeler and Gee.