Coutinho: Decision Time For The Mets Rotation

PORT ST. LUCIE – In the past few days, we have encountered the uncertain health of Steven Matz, the high octane performance from Zack Wheeler in Jupiter, and a so-so Seth Lugo Day in Port St Lucie after he pitched in the WBC most of the month.

So what does that mean for the Met rotation? Well, I think you have to look at 2 scenarios: With a healthy Matz, Robert Gsellman looks to be the fifth starter with Lugo in the bullpen and Wheeler either in the bullpen or in an extended spring training. However, if Matz is still nursing elbow tightness here is where it gets tricky because Gsellman slots in the 4h spot with Wheeler and Lugo battling for the fifth spot.

Before today, I really thought it would go to Lugo but after a scintillating performance from Wheeler all bets are off. Zack has progressed in the eyes of many but that innings limit could be the fly in the ointment along with the health of Matz. These are not easy decisions for the Mets but it speaks to the depth of this pitching staff which is not a bad thing. Terry Collins has mentioned on multiple occasions that both Gsellman and Lugo proved so much in the 2016 Wild Card stretch run but there is no question that Wheeler has electric stuff. So what would I do if were in charge?

Assuming Matz starts the season on the DL, I would give Wheeler the fifth spot and put Lugo in the pen. The innings limit concerns me but the talent level of Wheeler is off the charts and Lugo can fill in as a reliever much better than Wheeler. If Matz is healthy, I give Gsellman the fifth spot, put Lugo in the pen and keep Wheeler here in Florida for an extended spring training because I feel Gsellman has earned the spot in the rotation based on last season coupled with a terrific spring training.


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