Although you could fault the Mets and Omar Minaya on several fronts this offseason, one of the biggest glaring holes in the acquisitions was at starting pitcher. You could say that they should have gotten another first baseman or catcher. Personally, I think they’re fine at catcher. But I have been consistent in calling for a change at first base. Mostly, I hear from fans that the starting rotation is still a mess. Even Darryl Strawberry doesn’t like what the Mets have done, or haven’t done, this offseason.
Now that we’re only two weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Port St. Lucie, you have to consider the Mets picking up a leftover starting pitcher. The obvious choices are Jerrod Washburn, Chien-Ming Wang, and Erik Bedard. At this point in the offseason there are pretty slim pickin’s.
You could always throw in Pedro Martinez, but I doubt that the Mets would go back to him. I wouldn’t either. He was better than I thought he would be with the Phillies last year at 5-1 3.63 in 9 games. But that’s a really small sample. If you consider the fact that he effectively robbed the Mets of two and a half years of his contract, I can’t see the Mets going there again.
Bedard had surgery for a torn labrum and won’t be ready to start the season. Wang also has several months to go before he’ll be ready for the season too. But both pitchers have proven to be effective when healthy and neither is too old to make a comeback. The Mets should take a flyer on Bedard or Wang with an incentive laden deal. Washburn is looking old at 35, even for a soft-tossing lefty. With such limited options, the Mets need to take a gamble on Bedard or Wang.
Many were clamoring for John Lackey when the free agent signings started. He ended up in Boston and the drop off to the next level of free agent is huge. I never thought that the Mets would end up with Lackey, nor do I think they need another starter with #1 type of stuff.
I’d like to know of the remaining free agents, which players do you think that the Mets should be after? Be wary of the injured former stars like Ben Sheets and Erik Bedard. That kind of signing could really blow up in the Mets face if they rely on a player with a terrible injury history. It probably wouldn’t blow up as badly as the Oliver Perez contract did though.
There’s only one certainty when it comes to the Mets starting pitchers for 2010: Johan Santana. As long as he’s healthy, there’s no reason to think he won’t be one of the best pitchers in baseball. He’s had some minor injury problems but I don’t expect to see any decline in his performance. After Santana, the situation gets very murky, very quickly. This is about to get ugly, so Mets fans hold onto your hats.
Mike Pelfrey– In 31 starts Pelfrey finished the season at 10-12 with a 5.03 ERA. 2009 was a serious regression for him from his 2008 line of 32 starts 13-11 and 3.72 ERA. Pelfrey had some disgusting performances like June 4th in Pittsburgh giving up 8 runs in 3.2 innings and giving up 9 runs in 4.1 innings in Atlanta on July 17th. There were other ugly games but you get the idea. Often Pelfrey looked uncomfortable and frustrated, but who wouldn’t be while pitching poorly? He had a bad year but the Mets have too much invested in him for him not to be back in the rotation. He’ll be there. You can bank on it. But I doubt that he’ll be considered the #2 starter. He should be demoted in the rotation. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t have a bounce-back year in 2010.