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Mets considering 20-year-old Mejia for bullpen

Mar 11, 2010, 12:46 PM EDT

Showing yet again that they’ve never met a prospect they won’t rush, the Mets have reportedly decided to keep Jenrry Mejia in big-league camp through the end of spring training to evaluate him as an Opening Day bullpen option.
Mejia is one of the game’s best pitching prospects and has looked great so far this spring, but he’s just 20 years old and his only action above Single-A was going 0-5 with a 4.47 ERA in 10 starts at Double-A last season. Of course, most organizations would never have pushed him to Double-A as a teenager to begin with, so the Mets got the overly aggressive ball rolling last season and now it’s just building up speed.
Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News notes that if Mejia doesn’t claim an Opening Day bullpen spot “he’s not going to be stretched out enough to immediately contribute in the [Double-A] Binghamton rotation” because “Jerry Manuel is determined to begin using Mejia in short and frequent relief spurts, to gauge how he reacts to pitching in that capacity.”
So instead of letting him develop normally and gradually as a starting pitcher, like just about any other team would with a young prospect of Mejia’s caliber, the Mets first rocketed him through the minors and are now considering limiting him to brief outings because they need short-term relief help. Mets fans sometimes accuse Hardball Talk of picking on them too much, but I’m starting to think maybe it’s actually not enough.

  1. Dan - Mar 11, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    I am a Mets fan.

  2. Jonny5 - Mar 11, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    Due to the lack of hispanics on the opening day roster. Minaya has a quota for this, or so it seems… I guess with Bay he threw the numbers off some. This is a quick fix.

  3. Joey B - Mar 11, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    I thought the Escobar signing was fine, but the idea of relying on Escobar to setup ridiculous. The way I’m reading it, they are compensating for making a bad move on Escobar by making a worse move with Mejia. If this was the RS, they’d have Mejia next to Kelly, hoping maybe he’d get spot starts in September, 2011. He’s got talent, but this doesn’t make sense to convert from a starter to a reliever, and promote him in 2010 instead of 2012.

  4. Dave - Mar 11, 2010 at 2:20 PM

    This is what happens when both the GM and the manager know that they need to win to save their own necks.

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