The recent setback to New York Mets pitcher Jeremy Hefner during his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery is nothing short of devastating for Hefner, who started to have a breakout season in 2013 before being sidelined with the injury. But Hefner’s setback will also have an impact on the Mets in 2015, as the team would have likely tried to re-sign him for next year and make him a part of their pitching staff.
Without Hefner, the Mets will have eight potential starting pitchers next season among players who are currently in the organization. That may sound like enough, but not considering the fact that Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero have all spent time on the DL this season, either in triple-A or the big leagues, while Matt Harvey is also returning from Tommy John surgery. The rotational depth that Hefner would have provided would have been key to the Mets being able to withstand injuries, even short-term ailments, to members of their starting rotation next season.
Even if Hefner had not made the starting rotation out of spring training, he could have become a valuable asset out of the bullpen for the Mets as either a long man who could step into the rotation if necessary or as a setup man. That kind of versatility would have made Hefner a valuable pitcher for the Mets to have in 2015, even if he ended up going back to triple-A and waited for a chance to return to the majors.
With the increased frequency of injuries to pitchers, there’s no such thing as having too many guys you know are capable big-league pitchers, and with the setback for Hefner, the Mets now have one less heading into 2015. The setback is devastating for Hefner personally, after he pitched brilliantly for most of June and July in 2013 before elbow problems started to hurt his performance and forced him to have surgery. But his absence for the 2015 season, as he attempts another rehab from Tommy John, will have a negative impact on the Mets as well.