Originally posted on The Baseball Page  |  Last updated 7/12/12

Few Mets fans have been riding the Dillon Gee bandwagon for as long as I have. To me, and some of my closest Mets fan friends, he’s the second-coming of Rick Reed, down to sharing the number the veteran righty wore in his time in New York.

Over the All-Star break, Gee was revealed to have a blood clot in an artery located in his right shoulder, which will require additional surgery to not only enable him to pitch again, but to live a normal and healthy life. The second surgery will likely put Gee on the shelf for the rest of the 2012 regular season, creating a significant hole at the end of the Mets starting rotation. Without question, the team’s biggest strength this season has been the performance of their starting rotation. It is imperative for the Mets to not just replace Gee, but find someone who could continue to contribute at a high level and enable the Mets to keep the ball rolling on what has been nothing short of a surprise first half.

That brings forward a question that doesn’t only deal with the future of the current 2012 season for the Mets, but the long-term outlook of the big league team: who replaces Dillon Gee?

Out of the gates, it will be Miguel Batista. The Mets love his versatility, and he’s already filled into an open rotation slot once this season when Mike Pelfrey was lost to Tommy John surgery before Chris Young was ready to contribute from his rehab assignment. However, his role in what is the Mets clear weakness, their bullpen, is too important to lose him from late-game situations the deeper this team gets into the season. At most, I would be stunned to see Batista make any more than two starts before the team looks towards another option.

And that’s the thing, who will be that other option? If this team does upgrade from the outside and bring in talent via trades, it will be for more reinforcements for the bullpen or a right-handed hitting catcher. Those seem to be the signals management have sent out to the media and other teams throughout the league. It wouldn’t fit the Mets current organizational outlook to package together top prospects for a chance at a Zack Greinke or Matt Garza. Even a pitcher like Wandy Rodriguez would likely cost the Mets more in prospects than they are currently willing to surrender.

That brings us to one logical piece that is knocking on the Major League’s door. Two of my closest friends and biggest Mets fans I know (Ted Youngling and Brian May) both agreed with me.

Its time for us to see exactly what Matt Havery can do.

Harvey was the #7 overall selection in the 2010 MLB Draft, and has been one of the team’s top prospects ever since. He’s excelled at every level he’s been at thus far in his Minor League career, and has recently put together his most dominant stretch at the AAA level in Buffalo.

In Buffalo this year, Matt Harvey has started 18 games, compiling a 3.39 ERA (ninth in the league) and has fanned 102 batters (second in the league). Harvey has continued to improve his ERA every month of the season, posting a 4.85 in April, 3.24 in May and 2.45 in June. Walks have been the biggest knock against Harvey this season, but he has worked on improving his command of his secondary pitches throughout the season.

Entering this season, depending on the rankings list you decided to read, Harvey and Zach Wheeler ranked 1 and 2 in some order entering this season. Wheeler has spent the entire season in AA, and has made it clear with his impressive stats that he’s ready for the next challenge in AAA. Promoting Harvey would seemingly open that role for Wheeler to slide in to, and continue him on the proper developmental course at the same time.

The main point is, the Mets have made it clear they aren’t going to open the prospect vault for some team in order to acquire a All-Star caliber starting pitcher. Any trade they make will address the team’s weakest link, the bullpen or right-handed help on the bench. And if the Mets were to look at the trade market for a starting pitcher, we’d be hearing names like Jeremy Guthrie in Colorado. What would Guthrie be able to do in New York that Matt Harvey currently can’t?

I understand that the Mets would rather err on the side of caution and play it slow with Harvey’s development. They weren’t anticipating this team being ready to compete for a playoff spot as early as this year. But, this is the situation they are in. They need to prove not only to the fans, but the players within the organization, that they’re taking this success seriously. One clear way to show that is by promoting one of the team’s best assests in the Minor Leagues that will not just help this team win in the future, but potentially right now.

Its time to see what the New York Mets have in Matt Harvey, whether they’re ready or not.

Check out other great articles at The Waiver Wire.

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