Mets starter Jenrry Mejia, who held the Phillies to two runs in 4 2/3 innings in Friday night’s start, may find himself in the bullpen soon, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Prior to the start, Mejia was coming off of a couple of tough outings against the Marlins and Rockies in which he allowed a combined 14 runs in 10 innings.
Some believe Mejia profiles better as a reliever given his arsenal and the fact that his effectiveness significantly drops off his third time through the batting order. Over his career, he has held opponents to a .641 OPS the first time he faces them in a game, .771 the second time, and .953 the third time, per Baseball Reference.
If Mejia moves to the bullpen, the Mets could slide Daisuke Matsuzaka into the rotation. The Mets also plan to call up pitching prospect Rafael Montero soon to contribute out of the bullpen. Their plan is to use him in relief for a bit, then send him back down to Triple-A Las Vegas to stretch out as a starter, and then later call him back up to pitch out of the rotation.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.
The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.
Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.
Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.
The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.