Just a short while ago, the Mets announced what many of us had feared, that pitching phenom Matt Harvey would miss the 2014 season with a partially torn UCL. This is obviously tremendous news for a number of reasons, and its potential implications stretch well beyond 2014.
In the short term, the Mets will be without their best pitcher in 2014 and the team will need to look to bolster their starting rotation. There are two ways the Mets could do that. In the first place, the Mets could look outside the organization for help. There are several names which are appealing at first glance should the Mets be interested in handing out a sizable contract to a pitcher, with A.J. Burnett, Matt Garza, Ervin Santana, and Tim Lincecum likely among the cream of the crop. There are some second-tier options like Bronson Arroyo, Mike Pelfrey, and Jeff Francis who either have been linked to the Mets via rumor or have played for them in the past.
In the second place, the Mets could look to an internal candidate to fill out the rotation. Players such as Jeurys Familia, Chris Schwinden, or Jenrry Mejia will likely be considered as candidates since they have MLB experience and if they start the year poorly, they will do so with the knowledge that a high-tier prospect is waiting in the wings. As for those prospects, the easiest assumption is that we will see Rafael Montero, graded the Mets' fourth best prospect by our own Rob Castellano at mid-season. Despite his young age, up-and-coming phenom/Norse god Noah Syndergaard will be evaluated as the season goes on, and could see a promotion to Queens if he continues to impress when moved up to the Pacific Coast League. Perhaps the best option for an early season call-up is Jacob deGrom, who was graded fifteenth in the mid-season poll. The right-handed deGrom was considered to be on the Mets' short list fr promotion in the latter part of the 2013 season before Aaron Harang was brought in to fill Zack Wheeler's spot in the rotation.
Considering Harvey had always been a key to any realistic scenario in which the Mets contended for a playoff spot in 2014, it would seem that their timetable may be forced to shift to 2015 at the earliest. There's also the issue of whether Mat Harvey will ever be the same player that he was in 2012 and 2013. Although recovery rates for Tommy John surgery are between 85-90% these days, who knows if Harvey will ever show us the same greatness he has the past two years?