Bartolo Colon, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Jon Niese and their roles in the playoffs
With the playoffs approaching and the club appearing well on their way towards reaching the tournament, the Mets are beginning to outline their plans for their pitching staff come October.
And while most of those plans still seem very much open for discussion, it seems likely Bartolo Colon, could find himself merely an onlooker if the Mets advance to the playoffs in 2015.
Andy Martino of the Daily News says the 42-year-old veteran will essentially audition for roster spot in the playoffs over the final month of the season.
Martino says the club hasn’t ruled out using Colon in the bullpen, but they’re also considering the possibility of excluding him from the postseason roster entirely.
It comes as no surprise the club would think this way. Colon hasn’t pitched well for most of this season, although he showed signs on Wednesday night against the Phillies he still has something left in the tank after producing seven scoreless innings.
In the Division Series, the Mets could decide to use only three starters in the rotation with an off-day between game two and three and game four and five. If the Mets went that route, that would presumably leave one of Steven Matz or Noah Syndergaard along with Jon Niese on outside looking in, at least from a rotation perspective. If they used four starters, Niese could ultimately be the odd man out in the first round.
As for a seven-game series, the Mets would likely use four starting pitchers in that scenario, which would bring Niese back into the equation with the starting rotation.
The wild card for Niese appears to be how they decide to utilize both Matz and Syndergaard, and Martino says there are people in the organization still very open to the idea of putting Syndergaard in a late-inning relief role in the postseason, with Matz in the rotation instead.
But Martino says there are enough concerns about Syndergaard not having any relief experience to date. The Mets could opt to try Matz in the bullpen which would open a rotation spot for Niese, but like Syndergaard, Matz lacks experience in relief as well.
In either case, one would have to transition to the bullpen soon to start gaining experience in that role.
If they decide to leave Syndergaard in the rotation, that means only Matz or Niese – not both – would be in the rotation in a seven-game series.
If Matz is the fourth starter – which the club hopes it will be – that could leave Niese on the outside looking in as well, as the club continues to maintain he is not a candidate to go to the bullpen.
As for the rest of the bullpen, the Mets still have a gaping hole on the left side, as Eric O’Flaherty continues to underwhelm as the lone lefty specialist. Perhaps Matz might fill that hole, but the club is expected to recall Dario Alvarez from Triple-A when rosters expand on September 1, and he will get a long look over the final month of the season to determine if he’s a candidate for the playoff roster.
But Martino says the Mets will continue to monitor Scott Rice and Josh Smoker as possible candidates for the left side of the bullpen as well.