Spring Training is a time for players to shred the off-season rust, and get themselves into working order for the regular season. It’s common for great players to play poorly, and for mediocre players to excel. But that’s okay. In fact, it’s a rule of thumb to not judge a player by his Spring performance. But on that same token, how about when mediocre players look outright bad?
Take Mike Pelfrey for example. In three Spring Training starts so far, Pelfrey has posted an abysmal 14.90 ERA, 2.69 WHIP, and 0.66 K/BB over 9.6 innings. In his latest outing against the Houston Astros, Big Pelf was smacked for a whopping eight hits and eight runs in just 2.6 innings of work. Pelfrey is coming off a very disappointing season where he owned a 4.74 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, and 1.62 K/BB. Despite pitching in the cavernous Citi Field, the right-hander ranked within the top twenty for HR/9 (a lofty 0.98 HR/9), and also happen to possess the second worst slider (-7.0 RAA) and worse split-finger (-6.9 RAA) in the National League.
Due to his 2011 display, the decision to offer Pelfrey arbitration this past off-season was a hot button issue. Deciding that the guy was worth another chance, the two sides agreed on a $5.7 million contract. But technically speaking, not all of that $5.7 million is guaranteed. If the Mets were to release Pelfrey prior to the regular season, the Mets would only have to hand him $1.4 million. Considering how poorly he’s pitched so far–and how useless he was in 2011–it’s a thought that should cross the Mets’ mind.
With the Mets lack of rotation depth, it’s unlikely Pelfrey and his $5.7 million will be going anywhere. Promoting Chris Schwinden to the fifth spot doesn’t sound particularly appealing, and the likes of Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey, and Jeurys Familia are still a bit away from being Major League ready. As Rising Apple suggested yesterday, bringing in recently-released Joel Pineiro would be an interesting option–one that, on the right contract, could make both financial and on-the-field sense. Regardless, Mets fans should prepare for another lackluster 200 innings from Mike Pelfrey in 2012.
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