There is perhaps one area in which the Mets can be very optimistic for the next few seasons and that is the depth of young arms that they have in the majors and upper minor leagues. The eventual debuts of Rafael Montero and Thor will likely be the biggest headlines of the upcoming season and my hope is to see them contributing to this club for a very long time.
However, the abundance of hurlers leads to a good problem for the Mets in 2015. The rotation will have 6-7 internal candidates battling for 5 slots. Additionally, there will be another half dozen pitchers that have the potential to contribute to a ML team a year from now.
This leads me to thinking, at what point do the Mets begin converting some of their Triple and Double A starters into the relievers that most of them profile to be? By my count, the Mets have 10 pitchers (organized into groups based on level and prospect potential) who would be fighting for rotation and bullpen slots during Spring Training in 2015. Of the group, Montero and Noah Syndergaard are locks to remain starters. But what about the rest? What kind of performance standards do you go by to determine if a player remains a starter or not and how long of a time frame do you allow for their performance to pan out?
Eventually, the organization will have to weigh the trade value of each individual vs their actual usage value and potential. If you keep everyone as a starter and three of these pitchers do well, four are mediocre and three pitch poorly in the upcoming season, you will have seven guys on the wall between AAA and the big club. A handful may be traded, or exposed to roster limit casualties or stuck in AAA while not contributing to the team in Queens whether by trade or by performance.
Due the realistic number of players that can be traded (even those not on this list) as well as the number of available roster spots on the ML team, I would be inclined to convert half of these pitchers by mid-season. Even if half of the converted pitchers are successful, you can be that much more confident that they can come out of the bullpen in the big leagues instead of attempting a transition while on the big stage. Now the question is, who do you give the bad news to and when do you do it?