New York Mets Stir-Up Sunday: Pelfrey, Niese, Duda


| jpascullo@queenscourier.com |

     Hello my friends and welcome back to New York Mets Stir-Up Sunday! Well, Hurricane Irene has, rightfully so, snagged all of the headlines lately in New York City, as has a 20 second earthquake we allegedly had a few days ago here in the Big Apple (not that big a deal). But let’s not forget, despite hurricanes, game cancellations and poor performance there still is a Major League Baseball team situated here in Queens, and in Metland, they’ve got different headlines resting upon their top stories list. Without further ado, let us dive in!

     First and foremost, let’s think about Terry Collins’ recent request to have Mike Pelfrey serve as the 2012 Mets closer. Though it was nixed quickly by Sandy Alderson, it doesn’t hurt to ponder here does it? For the most part lately, the bullpen has been disastrous, and certainly needs sprucing up for next year. But would Pelfrey be the solution in the ninth innings? I’d doubt it personally, he has just 4 total relief appearances in pro ball, and one of them came last week in San Diego and was rather forgettable. The lack of experience as a reliever does concern me a bit, as does his overall performance. Pelf has a hard time enough as is, why would he fare better in high pressure save situations? The nerves would be cranking, the hand will be getting licked to no end, and it just seems to have bad idea written all over it. I think the main thing the front office needs to decide this winter is not whether or not Pelfrey should be in the bullpen or the rotation, but whether or not he’ll be in the organization at all come next season. For the salary he’s due to receive through arbitration next season, can the Mets get someone else who can post better fifth starter-like numbers? At this point, that’s what Mike’s shaping out to be. That is a discussion we will soon be discussing here my friends.

     While on the subject of the starting rotation, Jon Niese was been placed on the disabled list this past week with a rib cage injury. Niese originally sustained the injury last week in San Diego, and aggravated it further in his Tuesday night start in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, this doesn’t clear up why he’s been rather shaky over his past 7 starts. Over that span Jon sports a 6.46 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP. Rough numbers down the stretch, especially considering the way Niese completely broke down at the end of last season, are not what the organization wanted to see. Now he’ll have a little bit of recovery time while on the DL, as the Mets do expect to see a couple more Jon Niese starts before the season is out. Regardless, it won’t tell us whether or not he’s able to pitch an entire season without running out of gas. Last season Niese’s slump didn’t begin until late August. This time around it seems to have kicked off a whole month earlier, which is extremely disheartening. Even still, Niese is going to only be 25 when next season rolls around. He has plenty of career left, and plenty of time to get everything right hopefully.

     And finally, now for a bit of positive news, and this comes from the source of Lucas Duda. You have to give the guy credit, he’s really been raking lately with a .329/.395/.579 slash line in August, good for a sweet .974 OPS. He could be an excellent source of cheap power in 2012, now the only question is where will he play? He’s been manning first base most of the time, but that’s Ike Davis’ spot once he recovers from injury. Well, Terry Collins seems to have found a potential answer to this question, and has begun the transition of making Duda the new rightfielder by starting him there daily while Nick Evans takes over the first baseman duties. Evans isn’t half bad when you really think about it, but that’s a discussion for another day. I like the fact Duda is starting in rightfield these days. Aside from maybe pride and to obtain a little bit better of a record than we had last year, this season is now a wash and it’s time to start preparing for the future by seeing what we have in stock right now. Forget about comfort, we have a need for a power bat in rightfield right now that Carlos Beltran is history. Duda could fit that bill, and it’s high time we find out.

     So, what say you everyone? What’s the plan for Pelfrey next year: rotation, bullpen, or non-tender? Bummed about the way Niese has been flaming out recently? And what do you make of Lucas Duda as the potential starting rightfielder next season? Is it too reminiscent Daniel Murphy’s rise to fame following his strong ’08 numbers, and are the Mets reading too much into a late season hot streak? Remember how Murphy was a bit subpar when 2009 came around. Comment below, thanks for stopping by, and please stay safe in this unattractive weather!