With the promotion of pitching prospect Zack Wheeler imminent, the New York Mets will soon have to make room for him in their starting rotation, and that means either Dillon Gee or Jeremy Hefner will have to go. But which one will it be?
Based on performance throughout the season, Hefner deserves to stay in the rotation more than Gee. Hefner had some shaky starts early in the season, but since the end of April he’s been steady and consistent, keeping the Mets in games and giving them a chance to win every time out. However, Hefner is hurt by the fact that he has experience as a reliever and could make a seamless transition to the bullpen, where he could be valuable for the Mets, as they have several injured relievers that may not be returning from the disabled list anytime soon.
Meanwhile, Gee has had more than his fair share of rough outings this year. However, Gee has been much improved in his last two starts, pitching at least seven innings and allowing just one earned run in starts against the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals. Those performances are above and beyond what the Mets expect out of Gee, but they have helped the team forget the struggles he had earlier in the season.
If the Mets had to make a decision right now, it would be a tough call, but they would have to keep Gee in the rotation and move Hefner to the bullpen. Gee in the bullpen is less of a certainty than putting Hefner in the bullpen, and it would be wasteful to demote Gee to triple-A when he’s starting to pitch well, as unfortunately, Hefner’s versatility would work against him.
Of course, both Hefner and Gee should have at least two, possibly three, more starts before Wheeler becomes a permanent part of the rotation and one of them is forced to leave. That gives both pitchers an opportunity to prove to the Mets that they deserve to stay in the rotation, making the next couple of starts for Hefner and Gee of the utmost importance, as they fight to keep their spot in the Mets starting rotation.