To say the Mets don't know what to do with Mike Pelfrey is an understatement. TC has even recently floated the idea of him as a closer, which is laughable. If his lack of an out pitch coinciding with 10 pitch at-bats is infuriating now, just imagine it in the 9th inning with a one run lead.
According to Pitch-fx, his average fastball is down to 91.9 mph, and has fallen every year since 2007, his rookie year. Combine that with his main off-speed offering, which is 84.5, and the differential just isn't there. His GB% and SO% are both career lows this year, and his strand rate is below league average. These all point to a pitcher on the decline, or at the very least, someone who is not suddenly going to "find himself" moving forward.
Terry Collins (picture after watching Pelfrey against the Cubs) called him our ace to start the season as most of us rolled our eyes. Our 5th starter has been more true, if a pecking order ever needed to be established. This offseason is when it does need to be established, because an organization that is cutting payroll can certainly find other places to spend the 5 or 6 million he's likely to receive in arbitration.
The common argument is that his innings will be hard to replace, or more precisely, his innings at that salary will be hard to replace. However, we are not accounting for Sandy Alderson's ability to do his job. He can find someone to fill Pelf's spot, or 2 or 3 people to compete for it. Johan Santana is returning from injury, followed by Niese and DIckey. I believe 1 internal & cheap option (Gee, Harvey, Familia) and 1 external option would complete a better rotation than the Mets had this year. Also it would not allocate any more payroll than Pelfrey & Capuano accounted for this season.
There won't be many top of the rotation starters available this offseason, but to me, a veteran like Javier Vazquez would be perfect. I know, he was horrible for the Yankees in 2010 & his first half with the Marlins this year was just as bad. However, since the all star break he has a 2.89 ERA and 67 SO's in 65 innings, while allowing a .215 BA. His Pitch-fx data agrees as well. His fastball velocity is back up to 90.3 after averaging 89 in 2010. Unfortunately, while researching for this post, I saw this. Point being, someone like him. Or the 2012 version of of Chris Young or Chris Capuano.
Maybe Pelfrey is one of those guys who "can't pitch in NY." At least not well enough. Maybe Sandy is able to work some magic on another GM, referencing his 15 win 2010, his youth & high draft spot. I just believe it's time for both parties to move on, and I have faith in our front office to see that the upside for this rotation spot is higher elsewhere.