Thursday, April 11, 2013

With No Other Options, Hefner and Laffey are Crucial to Mets Success

Mike Stobe/Getty Images
The Mets will be skipping Aaron Laffey’s spot in the rotation because of the travel day which means his next start will be at home against Colorado. Jermey Hefner got touched up for five first inning runs yesterday and it was all downhill from there. Let’s make this clear, the Mets have the tools on offensive to be a competitive team this year. However, Hefner and Laffey are nowhere near MLB quality starters even if they are slotted in the 4th and 5th spots. The Mets have already lost Johan Santana for the season and Shaun Marcum’s status is still up in the air, though he is set two throw two simulated innings very soon.

Let’s not forget that top prospect Zack Wheeler has struggled with command in his first two starts of the year has thrown 8.2 innings giving up 11 hits, 6 runs (3 earned) and allowing 6 walks. The bright side is Wheeler has fanned 9 batters in those 8.2 innings. Though these command issues could be traced back to Wheeler’s reoccurring blister problem. Wheeler had an MRI on his finger in-between his first two starts and he is scheduled to make his next start for Las Vegas. Wheeler missed one start last year due to his blister problem, and while he was still in the Giants organization Wheeler was held out six weeks because of blisters.

So with the Met’s top three replacement options nowhere near ready to help the Mets in the immediate future, Hefner and Laffey will need to step up and prove to be big-league capable. However if one or both fail to put up decent numbers in their next start or two expect a move to be made. The Mets currently have Chris Schwinden who could be better than Laffey or Hefner but that is very unlikely. Collin McHugh is another option as he was dominate in his first outing last year but fell off. But again, he falls in the same boat as Hefner, Laffey and Schwinden. Those two are really the only internal options the Mets have that could be ready the step up in the immediate future.

What about external options? Aaron Harang was an interesting candidate but the Mets showed little interest and Harang is now close to signing on with Mariners. The Mets were kicking the tires on Roy Oswalt last year but it seems as if he will wait a while and sign with a contender. Dallas Braden is interesting too but he is coming off shoulder surgery last summer and his status is currently unknown.

Making a trade this early in the season doesn’t normally occur so it is safe to say the Mets will not be trading any pieces away. With all of that being said the Mets have minimal options to replace Laffey and Hefner so expect to see a decent amount of them until one of Marcum or Wheeler, most likely Marcum, prove to be ready to pitch in the bigs.

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