As of now, the first four starters in the New York Mets' 2011 starting rotation are set in stone. Things could change, but the only spot that is currently up for grabs is the No. 5 spot, with free agent signee Chris Capuano going against prospect Dillon Gee.
There might be a couple of other pitchers contending, but those two are the main two.
Capuano has just recently recovered from his second Tommy John surgery. He is a lefty who has had some success in the past. If he stays healthy, he will put up a good fight for the No. 5 spot.
Gee is a young, homegrown Met who had some time with the team last year. He's a righty who has a great skill set and loads of potential.
Capuano and Gee both could put up solid numbers, but if I had to pick one player to be the No. 5 starter, it would be Capuano. This is an extremely tough decision—I actually just changed my mind to wanting Capuano to be the fifth starter.
I really like Gee, and he has a lot of potential, but I don't want his growth as a player to get screwed up.
We saw it with Jenrry Mejia last year, so the Mets should avoid tampering with another young pitcher. I would be all for Gee being the fifth starter if Johan Santana wasn't due back midseason.
Many people believe the Mets' fifth starter will be dismissed from the rotation when Santana returns from his injury. So, unless the fifth starter does extremely well, then he will not be in the rotation for the second half.
Here's where my argument begins: if Capuano becomes the fifth starter, there wouldn't be a big problem when he gets dismissed from the rotation. He will most likey be sent to the bullpen, and he would greatly help the team as a lefty reliever.
If Gee were to win the fifth starter spot, it could become a problem when it's time for him to leave the rotation.
And if Gee doesn't blow away the team, he will give the Mets two options to either put him in the bullpen or send him down to the minor leagues.
Both of those things could really hurt Gee in the long run. If he goes to the bullpen, that would mess with his routine and his growth as a future starting pitcher for the Mets.
The right move would be to send him down to AAA, but that could even be a problem.
One bad thing for young players is instability within the organization. If Gee gets sent down to AAA, all sorts of bad things could happen; he could lose confidence in himself or screw up in trying too hard to get back to the bigs.
It is these reasons that I would prefer Capuano to win the Mets' fifth starter spot. He is older and means a lot less in the Mets' future than Gee. Gee should be given a full year in AAA to work more on his skills, and he should be given a shot in the rotation in 2012.
I just don't think this situation is good for Gee, but it fits Capuano pretty well.