It has been rumored and speculated about for a few days but Monday the New York Mets made it official; Rafael Montero will replace Jenrry Mejia in the starting rotation and start Wednesday. Mejia will not be demoted but instead will be moved to the bullpen.
Mejia got off to a fast start this season but has struggled to go deep into games. Mejia is 3-0 but had a lofty ERA of 5.06 as a result of his recent struggles. Mejia has failed to complete 5 innings in each of his last two starts. He also has allowed 16 runs in 14.2 innings.
Montero is 4-1 with a 3.67 ERA in Triple-A. He is considered the Mets’ second best pitching prospect behind only Noah Syndergaard. Montero also started last year’s Futures Game at Citi Field.
To make room on the roster, the Mets will likely have to remove a player from the roster. It is likely that a member of the bullpen would be designated for assignment. Many have speculated that the Mets will opt to trend young and remove a struggling veteran from the bullpen. This could mean that either Jose Valverde or Kyle Farnsworth could be on their way out.
Montero will make his major league debut on Wednesday at Citi Field against the Yankees. He will be the first Mets starter to make his debut against the Yankees.
Besides providing a boost to the starting rotation, Mejia’s move to the ‘pen could provide stability and fill a gaping hole. Mejia has fabulous numbers for his first time through the opponent’s lineup as a starter but struggles the more opposing hitters see him in a game. Coming out of the bullpen for one or two innings will allow Mejia to capitalize off of what is a strength of his. Additionally the bullpen has been looking for stability as even the most consistent performers have begun to stumble.
The Mets may not be done moving around their young pitchers. Jacob deGrom has been removed from his upcoming start with Las Vegas, perhaps because he will also be called up to be added to the big league roster. He would likely not join the rotation and instead provide more help in the bullpen. However, deGrom’s arrival would also require a player to be moved off the roster.
The final piece of the puzzle will likely arrive later this summer: Noah Syndergaard. Syndergaard is the best prospect in the system and currently is still with Triple-A Las Vegas. With Montero and deGrom likely to join the Mets this week, it is likely the team will delay Syndergaard’s arrival in order to avoid Super Two status.
These two promotions go along with two promotions last week of Wilmer Flores and Eric Campbell. The Mets have chosen that the future needs to be now with the hope of salvaging this season and bouncing out of the rut that they are in.
The Mets decided that they had waited long enough and that the future is now. Fans can only hope that top prospects turn into solid major leaguers able to help a struggling team.