Should the New York Mets Implement a Four-Man Rotation

By Craig Williams

Over at Blogging Mets, Mark Berman brings up an interesting idea regarding the New York Mets and their starting rotation.  Should the New York Mets try out a four-man rotation?  While the idea of a four-man rotation is one that I am a fan of in general, I’m not sure its one that works for the New York Mets.

In fairness, Mark’s suggestion was of a “modified” four-man rotation in which the top four starters get 34-35 starts a piece and the fifth starter – only working occasionally – gets approximately 24 starts as the team uses off days to skip his turns in the rotation.  Unfortunately, I feel that there are a few things being overlooked here.  Not the least of which is the Mets’ inability to put a strong rotation together – whether its of four or five.

I do want to say that I’d love to see baseball get back to the point where the top four starters in a rotation can approach 40 starts and flirt with 250 innings pitched in a season.  I’m not holding my breath though.

The main flaw I see in this modified plan is that most teams already use off days as a way to skip the fifth man in the rotation.  Even the modified plan is not that drastically different from what happens in an ideal situation.  Those last two words are key and present the second flaw.  Teams are rarely fortunate enough to play a full 162 game season under ideal circumstances.  Stuff happens.  Injuries, poor performances, trades…whatever.  Not to mention every young pitcher – for better or worse – is babied throughout the first portion of his career.  Getting your top four starters 34-35 starts is just terribly difficult.

Finally, back to the Mets.  Can they even count on four guys to top the 190 inning plateau, let alone 200+ frames?  Without going through each starter, I think its safe to say ‘no’.

I don’t think the New York Mets have the luxury of getting cute with their starting rotaiton.  They kind of just have to work with what they have.  That might not be much right now, but I’m keeping my hopes up that in a couple of years the young prospects will be able to start making some noise.


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