Exploring Mets' four possible routes to plug Matt Harvey's rotation void

Exploring Mets' four possible routes to plug Matt Harvey's rotation void

NEW YORK — So how will the New York Mets fill the void created by Matt Harvey’s decision to have season-ending surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome?

There are four possible routes:

The existing option: Logan Verrett will start Saturday in a big game against the Washington Nationals in the first turn in Harvey’s vacated spot. Manager Terry Collins suggested that Verrett likely will remain in the rotation coming out of the All-Star break, too.

“We’re all bummed out that Harvey is going to have to go through this season-ending surgery,” Verrett said. “We feel for him. He’s a big part of our team and the morale around here and everything. I’m excited about the opportunity. I know I’m not Matt Harvey. I’m Logan Verrett.”

Verrett performed exceptionally well early this season in a pair of spot starts while filling in for Jacob deGrom, combining to toss 12 scoreless innings against the Marlins and Phillies. Verrett has been far more mortal since that stretch. He has allowed 14 runs on 18 hits and 11 walks in 11 2/3 innings in three subsequent starts this season.

Maybe working on a regular turn will jump-start Verrett.

“I think it will be nice to be in that routine,” Verrett said. “That’s what I was used to coming up throughout the minors. The bullpen’s been great just for having me pitch in any situation. But the routine will be nice.”

The Tommy John comeback: Remember when the Mets intended to have a turn or two this month with a six-man rotation, then assign Bartolo Colon to the bullpen for the remainder of the year? Well, that’s clearly off the table as a surplus has turned into a deficiency.

The Mets originally had hoped Zack Wheeler would return right about now from Tommy John surgery, which was performed in March 2015. However, a pair of setbacks has delayed his arrival.

After receiving a cortisone injection last month to address nerve irritation, Wheeler has not returned to throwing off the top of the mound. He still has a month-long minor league tune-up to go once he is deemed ready. So late August appears the best-case scenario for Wheeler to contribute in the majors.

The farm: The Mets already have graduated their big upper-level young arms to the majors — or used them in trades, such as Michael Fulmer a year ago to the Detroit Tigers in the deal for Yoenis Cespedes.

General manager Sandy Alderson identified Gabriel Ynoa and Sean Gilmartin as the best available options at Triple-A Las Vegas at the moment.

Ynoa, 23, is 9-3 with a 3.92 ERA — but not the hard thrower Mets fans have grown accustomed to seeing promoted.

Alderson omitted Rafael Montero from that list of prospective minor-league options. Montero is 4-6 with a 7.20 ERA in 16 Pacific Coast League starts this season. He has walked 40 and surrendered 111 hits in 80 innings.

Trade: Who would have anticipated that the Mets would actually need to entertain a trade for a starting pitcher given their embarrassment of riches in that department in recent years? Yet Alderson acknowledged Thursday that an acquisition will be considered.

The worse Verrett performs, and the more Wheeler is delayed, the likelihood of a trade increases.

It is hard to fathom the Mets further depleting their farm system for a high-end arm such as Atlanta’s Julio Teheran. Other pitchers expected to be available include Oakland’s Sonny Gray (5.16 ERA), Philadelphia’s Jeremy Hellickson (3.92) and Minnesota’s Ervin Santana (4.06).

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