The most controversial move that the New York Mets made when the team cut five players on Monday was letting go of pitcher Jeremy Hefner. Hefner was displeased with the news, and many were surprised that the Mets cut him after he became a key part of their rotation before being sidelined with an elbow injury last summer. But for the Mets, it was the right thing to do.
Although Hefner would have only cost them $500,000 in 2014, it’d be money spent on a player that wouldn’t be able to contribute anything to the Mets during the season after undergoing Tommy John Surgery. Hefner was also taking up a spot on a rather crammed 40-man roster, which is a spot they would need if the Mets continue to make moves during the offseason.
Of course, Matt Harvey is also taking up a roster spot while not contributing in 2014, but Harvey is an elite pitcher with Cy Young potential, and Hefner isn’t.
By the time Hefner is healthy and ready to rejoin the Mets’ rotation at the start of the 2015 season, there probably won’t be any room for him. If we look ahead to the 2015 season, the Mets could have Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee, Jon Niese, Jenrry Mejia, Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and several other of their top pitching prospects as candidates for the starting rotation.
They could also have younger pitchers who throw harder in their bullpen, leaving no room for Hefner in that role either.
If possible, the Mets would like to retain Hefner on a minor league contract and at least give him a chance to compete for a roster spot in 2015. But, Hefner is probably too upset about being cut to return to the Mets, even though it was the right move for the team to make.