The New York Mets are struggling to retain relevance as they head into Los Angeles for a three game series with the first place Dodgers this weekend. The good news is that they will get two of their starting pitchers back. Jacob deGrom is set to return from the DL to start on Saturday and hopes continue his string of good pitching. Bartolo Colon will return from his native Dominican Republic to pitch Sunday before heading back home for his mother’s funeral.
Related article: deGrom to DL with shoulder soreness
Both Colon and deGrom have been consistently keeping the team in games and putting in a solid start every fifth day. With Colon that’s what you’ve come to expect over his 17 year career. deGrom meanwhile has been in Rookie of the Year candidate discussions. This will be a big boost to a team that has struggled to provide any run support offensively lately, despite Wednesday’s 8 run outburst. Colon and deGrom are capable of winning a game with little run support which could be enough to get the team’s confidence back.
The question that now emerges is who gets replaced. Gonzalez Germen was called up when Colon went on the bereavement list but hasn’t seen any time on the mound since then. He would be one likely demotion target, at least until September. Rafael Montero replaced deGrom in the rotation and provided one not very good start and one that was very impressive last weekend against the Cubs. It makes more sense to keep Montero around and perhaps use him out of the bullpen for the rest of the season to build his confidence after his last impressive outing.
That said, it is still possible Montero gets a brief demotion and then is recalled in September when the rosters expand.
If Montero stays with the team, it will be very tough to analyze who might be removed from the roster. Much of the bullpen has performed very well this season including Vic Black, Josh Edgin and Jeurys Familia. Perhaps the team could consider putting the walking wounded Jenrry Mejia on the disabled list as his effectiveness has slipped lately possibly as a result of his numerous ailments. A 15 day stint on the DL would get Mejia back during roster expansion meaning he could stay without needing to demote anyone.
I consider this last possibility to be unlikely though it certainly would make sense in terms of getting Montero experience and getting Mejia some time for healing. Familia could step into the closer’s role, as he has a few times already.
Another option, which the team has already done a few times, would be DFA and try to demote Buddy Carlyle. But Carlyle has pitched well despite giving up the winning run the other day in three innings of work.
Whatever the Mets choose to do, fans can take solace in knowing that two of the Mets’ solid and important starters will be returning. Additionally Saturday features a pitching matchup of deGrom vs. Zack Greinke which will likely be very entertaining. Colon and deGrom will be important pieces for the Mets as they hope to reach the .500 plateau towards the end of the season.
UPDATE: Rafael Montero and Gonzalez Germen have indeed been demoted to make room for deGrom and Colon.