From the desk of: HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET
NEW YORK METS: Damned If They Do, Damned If They Don't - Mets Fans Just Want To Give Rafael Montero The Damned Ball.
On Thursday evening, the Las Vegas 51's kicked off their regular season at Cashman Field against the Fresno Grizzlies. As a returning member of the 51's, the popular Mets prospect Rafael Montero was given the privilege of starting Opening Night.
Rafael Montero, 23, wound up pitching 6 full innings, allowed just 4 hits, struck out 5, and walked none. He induced another 3 ground ball outs, and 5 fly outs, of the 21 batters faced on the night, and threw 79 pitches with 55 (70%) going for strikes - an effective outing by any measure.
In light of the Mets immediate bullpen woes, METropolis has renewed their clamor for Montero's promotion in earnest. There are several reasons why that should not happen.
First of which, Rafael Montero is being developed as a starting pitcher. Once Jon Niese is activated, the Mets will have a full five working in the rotation. Even then, Daisuke Matsuzaka was signed to be the first pitcher to fill in. Therefore, there is no room for Montero in the rotation.
Secondly, it makes little sense to start altering his mindset, game preparation, and muscle memory in a feeble attempt at converting him into a reliever now. St. Louis may employ this kind of strategy with their burgeoning arms, but that does not mean the Mets need to. Instead, the Mets should have learned a lesson from the way they utilized Jenrry Mejia earlier in his career.
Would Montero be called up to serve some foolhardy 7th inning role? Would Terry Collins give him an opportunity to close games? The latter proposition frightens me. That entails pitching at full boar, 3 or 4 times a week. The changes in shoulder and elbow strain should not be understated.
Third, the Mets need left-handers in the bullpen, not another right-handed pitcher, which are plentiful throughout the Mets system.
Here are two other reasons why you WON'T see him in Flushing any time soon. Due to service time rules, by keeping him in Las Vegas through April, the Mets ensure themselves of another season of control. Similarly, by keeping him in Vegas through June, they will evade Super-2 issues. To me, that's somewhat of a miserly way of operating, especially for a New York City team, but that's ownership's condition at the moment.
Besides, why bring these kids into a negative situation? Next season is clearly more suited for their arrivals in Queens. Sticking with the plan is hard. Giving in to knee jerk reactions, is easy.