It isn’t news to a fan of the New York Mets that they have at least one hole to fill in the rotation. The Mets have a solid three starters in Johan Santana, John Maine, and Mike Pelfrey. Jon Niese offers a possible alternative as a fifth starter as well.
Niese went 1-1 in three starts last season including a brilliant eight-inning start against the Braves on September 13th, giving up no runs. But he did get hit hard in his two other starts against the Brewers and Cubs resulting in a 7.07 ERA. He’s got potential but it wouldn’t be wise to bank on him to hold down a spot in the rotation.
The top of the Mets shopping list has to be Derek Lowe. But Oliver Perez and Ben Sheets offer interesting alternatives. We know all about the inconsistent Perez. But he did seem to fare well under the tuteledge of pitching coach Dan Warthen last season.
Lowe and Sheets are both Type A free agents and were offered arbitration by their teams. So the Mets will have to give up draft picks to sign them. The Mets already gave up draft picks to sign Francisco Rodriguez, so that will make it tougher to stomach signing Lowe or Sheets.
Jon Garland is an interesting option. He’s a Type B free agent that was offered arbitration by the Angels. He’s an innings-eater and a consistent performer. Tim Redding and Brad Penny are available as well and wouldn’t cost any draft picks.
Randy Wolf has been rumored to be flirting with the Mets. But he’s wanted to stay on the West Coast for several years. He’s even taken one year deals to stay in Los Angeles and San Diego. I think he’s using the Mets to get a better offer out west.
The list of starters available to vie for the fifth spot in the rotation is pretty long. It includes names like Pedro Martinez, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Mark Mulder, and Mark Prior. The Mets may sign Pedro to a one year deal. But for anyone else it’ll be a race to see who the Mets can get to accept a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. They can have a competition in spring training with Niese.
Although the Mets seem to be moving slowly to shore up the rotation, there are plenty of options to fill the one or two spots available. I expect the Mets to announce a signing soon after the new year.
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