Mike Pelfrey has pitched almost exclusively as a starter in the majors, but he’s headed to the bullpen now that the Twins have named Tommy Milone as their fifth starter. And he’s not happy about it.
After being limited to just five starts last season due to a groin strain and surgery to relieve pressure on the ulnar nerve near his elbow, Pelfrey has turned in a solid 1.32 ERA and 7/2 K/BB ratio across 13 2/3 innings this spring. The 31-year-old right-hander feels that he did enough to win a spot in the rotation, telling Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he’s “kind of disappointed, frustrated, a little upset” with the move to the bullpen.
Pelfrey also said that he would welcome a trade to pitch as a starter elsewhere, but interest figures to be limited. He’s owed $5.5 million this season and owns an ugly 5.56 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 over 34 starts since returning from Tommy John surgery.
As you no doubt saw already, Mets manager Mickey Callaway had a bad day yesterday. After some testy exchanges with the media over his bullpen use, he blew up at Newsday reporter Tim Healey after Healey told Callaway that he’d see him tomorrow, which Callaway took as sarcastic. Then Jason Vargas unhelpfully piled on, walking toward Healey and threatening him with violence. Healy spoke to his Newsday colleague David Lennon and explained the whole thing here. He’s pretty even-handed about it.
Callaway was already thought to be on at least moderately thin ice as Mets manager given his team’s underachievement this year. Thin ice or not, it’s not unreasonable to say that his behavior yesterday is something that a lot of teams would think of as a fireable offense. At the very least leaders in other businesses would think that way if one of their public-facing employees treated a reporter who covered him in that manner. In addition to it simply being bad form, it raises questions about Callaway’s temperament and his ability to handle pressure and adversity.
The Mets, however, do not seem to consider the matter to raise to that level. While they offered apologies to Healey and vowed that that he will be welcome in the clubhouse — for which Healey was appreciative — Callaway will be back to work as usual today, with the Mets announcing this morning that he will hold his usual pre-game press conference at 4PM in advance of tonight’s game against the Phillies.
Tell me: if you’re the GM or owner of a team and your manager does that, do you keep him? What do you do?