Logan Verrett's Sunday performance may never be considered one of the great pitching performances of the 2015 Mets--a team saturated with good starting pitchers--but make no mistake. It was.
One run in eight innings in Coors Field with one walk against eight strikeouts is just about as good as you can be in Denver's thin air in the dead of summer. Not only did this start give the first place Mets a needed victory on a day the Washington Nationals also won but it also gave needed relief to a taxed bullpen and allowed an innings-conscious GM a day to skip his a start for his one of his star pitchers as well. Sunday's win for the Mets was huge. Logan Verrett came through in a way we all hoped he would but I think few actually expected.
Logan Verrett also represents the puzzling decisions this administration has made. Logan Verrett also represents the uncanny ability this administration has to develop pitchers.
This was not Logan Verrett's first exposure to big league baseball. In fact, in a small sample, Verrett had been one of the most effective relievers the Mets had thrown out there in 2015. Yet, despite his success, he was yanked between Triple-A and Flushing and between starting and relieving all season. Despite his success and despite out-pitching the likes of Noah Syndergaard in their respective auditions at Triple-A Las Vegas, Logan Verrett seemed nothing more than an option to be demoted when roster flexibility was paramount--and not a pitcher actually worth a roster spot despite results that might say otherwise.
What puzzles me about the Alderson administration is contrast and Verrett's situation is a perfect microcosm for my frustration. They're about winning but they demote one of their only effective non-Familia relievers for most of the season. They're about player development but surrender a mid-first round draft pick to sign Michael Cuddyer. They're about defense but they regularly play Wilmer Flores at shortstop and keep their best offensive and defensive option for second base at Vegas. They're about sabermetrics but continue to pitch LOOGYs against righties (why Sean O'Flaherty has a roster spot at this point is beyond me).
Alderson and his crew have done a good job to build this franchise back to a winning and Logan Verrett certainly exemplifies the embarrassment of riches the Mets have at pitching but the decisions they make for the big league club still make me scratch my head. While I love that Logan Verrett was not demoted after his gem on Sunday, he will also be transitioned to a bullpen role yet again instead of earning the 6th starter spot after a phenomenal and season-altering start. This is where I cannot make sense of the organization. After the trade for Cespedes in which the Mets sent a brilliant and dominant starting pitching prospect to the Tigers for a 60 game rental, 2015 has to be about winning. Why give a half a dozen more starts to a veteran that clearly has nothing left in the tank? What is it that Alderson feels he owes Bartolo Colon that makes him risk a division title over pitching this guy over someone like Logan Verrett?
At this point in the season, the thought process should never once be about anything other than winning ball games. If that means moving Bartolo Colon to the bullpen, you move Bartolo Colon to the bullpen. If that means benching Michael Cuddyer, you bench Michael Cuddyer. If that means keeping Michael Conforto, you keep Michael Conforto. If that means promoting Dilson Herrera despite three options at second base, you promote Dilson Herrera despite three options at second base.
Logan Verrett just earned the job as the 6th starter on this ball club for the time the organization feels it needs one. I don't care that it means benching, demoting or cutting Bartolo Colon. Alderson made it clear that 2015 was a "go for it" year when he traded Michael Fulmer for Yoenis Cespedes. So go for it. Logan Verrett is clearly the better option than Bartolo Colon at this point because he is simply the better pitcher than Bartolo Colon at this point. While the start on Sunday was inspired, I doubt that Alderson does the right thing here. Just hope it does not cost us more valuable games while the Nats make their push back towards the NL East title.