If Not John Maine, Then Who?: Analyzing the New York Mets' Rotation Candidates

Flushing Baseball DailyContributor IApril 14, 2010

NEW YORK - APRIL 05:  Fernando Nieve #38 of the New York Mets pitches against the Florida Marlins during their Opening Day Game at Citi Field on April 5, 2010 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

There has been a lot of talk in the streets, on talk radio, and on the interwebs today about John Maine and whether or not the Mets should keep him in the rotation.

If you read my article from earlier today, you know that I would like to see Maine get at least one more start, so I won’t get into that again.

What we should talk about is if Maine is removed from the rotation, who would take his place?

Omar Minaya told reporters last week that the answer would be either Fernando Nieve or Hisanori Takahashi . These are both decent options, but the problem is that neither pitcher is really ready to step into a starting role right now.

Takahashi has been in the bullpen, making four appearances, but only once did he throw more than a single inning, and that was just a 1.2 inning stint last night.

He is also sort of a question mark. He has pitched well so far, but a lot of the pitchers that have come over from Japan have struggled with consistency in America even if they had a strong track record overseas. Throwing him in the rotation, especially if his arm isn’t exactly ready, could be dangerous.

Nieve is in a similar situation as Takahashi. He has pitched five times out of the bullpen, and only once has he pitched more than one inning. Similar to Takahashi, there is also a question as to how well he will pitch even if he is in the rotation. With both of these pitchers, what you see out of the pen is not necessarily what you will get in the rotation.

Their stamina would be the biggest reason for concern, but the real question with both is if they would be able to make it two or three times through a rotation. Out of the pen, both are primarily two-pitch pitchers, although Nieve does occasionally throw a third pitch, and since it is very rare for a starter to rely on just two pitches, there could be some growing pains.

They could have turned to their top pitching prospect Jenrry Mejia , but for the time being he is a middle reliever and would deal with the same issues Takahashi and Nieve would deal with. So it makes it more likely they would go into the Triple-A Buffalo rotation for a starter.

There they could call on R.A. Dickey , but they’d be better off forgetting that he is in the organization and trying their luck with either Pat Misch , Dillon Gee , or maybe Tobi Stoner . At that point that’s what it would be, though—luck. It’s hard to say which one, if any, is ready for the majors, and at this point the idea is to upgrade over Maine, not just to change for the sake of changing.

Who will the Mets go with if they make a change? It probably will be either Takahashi or Nieve, even if they’re not ready. If they dip into the minors, it could be for Dickey, but right now that’s hard to tell.

What’s your take? Who would you put in the rotation if Maine fails to show improvement?


Related Stories