Guaranteed spots are Mike Pelfrey (pictured), R.A. Dickey and Jonathan Niese, with Johan Santana out for at least the first half of the season. That leaves Dillon Gee, Chris Capuano, Pat Misch, Boof Bonser and D.J. Carrasco as contenders for the remaining spots although Warthen says he hopes the Mets can sign Chris Young.
Gee and Capuano likely have the inside track to the rotation, as Gee's emergence could give the club a starting pitcher for years to come while Capuano has a track record of success, although injuries have impacted his career. Carrasco has had recent success as a reliever, and asking him to return to starting may be too much to ask.
Warthen added that of those to not make the rotation, one and possibly two would pitch out of the bullpen. Carrasco will certainly be one of those, while its anyone's guess who the other is. Misch has had success as a swingman and could reprise that role.
The big question mark is Oliver Perez, entering the final year of his ill-advised contract that will pay him $12 million. Perez is currently struggling in the Mexican Pacific League, but Warthen sees room for optimism based on talks he has had with Perez's bullpen catcher in Rafael Arroyo.
“At times he thinks that Ollie is up-and-down, and his heart isn’t as in it as much as it should be at times," Warthen said. "But he feels good, and he’s getting in shape, and he’s working hard, realizing that this is a big year.”
-- Evan Brunell