Comments from Mike Pelfrey this weekend that he needs to pitch better should come as a surprise to no one. The towering righty was as inconsistent as ever last season and remains on the team due to his health not his skills. The Mets would have struggled to replace the nearly 200 innings Pelfrey pitches every season for the $5.8 million he will make this season.
The Mets need him to rebound. In fact, the Mets need him to be the 15 win pitcher he once was if they hope to contend this season.
In reality, I expect Big Pelf to rebound this year. Last season he was saddled with the title of "ace" and simply wasn't up to the challenge. This season he'll settle in at 4th in the rotation, which will offer some much more favorable match-ups.
The result of all that could be 12+ wins and a ticket out of town. The fan base has long soured on Mike and the team has waited long enough to see him have some sort of value. If he pitches well this season, the Mets will finally be able to seek some return before having to cut him loose next winter when they have more starters than available spots in the rotation.
Common sense would also dictate that Pelfrey is the first man out if everyone remains healthy and the time comes to promote from within. Those promotions would make even more sense if the Mets find themselves out if contention prior to the trade deadline. At that point there is no reason to hold on to a player with no spot on the roster moving forward.
If Pelfrey is the pitcher he was in 2011, then this really becomes a non-issue. However if he pitches better, and I expect he will to some extent, look from him to be moved at the trade deadline in an effort to get some sort of return on the organization's last big pitching prospect before beginning its newest youth movement.