If everything goes according to plan, the best rotation in baseball will get even better this summer.
According to ESPN’s Adam Rubin, the rotation that already boasts the likes of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, and Steven Matz will be re-adding another young arm in Zack Wheeler, who is aiming to make his return from Tommy John surgery on July 1. The 25-year-old went under the knife in March of 2015, missing the entire season that culminated in a National League championship for the Mets.
Until his return, many presumed that Bartolo Colon would be keeping his seat in the rotation warm for him. Like, really, really warm. But Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told ESPN.com that the team will “strategically use a sixth starter to keep their staff fresh.”
If you recall, the Mets implemented a six-man rotation at points last year to keep their young arms in the rotation fresh, which seemingly worked, but not all of the starters in the rotation were thrilled with the idea. Most notably, Matt Harvey was not a fan of the six-man rotation, voicing his frustration last summer after a loss to the Dodgers.
“With the six-man and the day off, it’s tough. We’re all having to deal with it. It’s not an excuse why things didn’t go well today, but I just have to do a better job of finding a way to find a rhythm through a period of extended rest like that.”
Whether he’s a fan or not, the six-man rotation could definitely help preserve some of these young arms again in 2016, which might be more necessary this year as opposed to last year, given the extra innings they were required to throw after a deep postseason run. And not only that, but a six-man rotation could be especially beneficial for Wheeler, coming off a major elbow surgery.