After the 2008 season ended, the Mets went looking for pitching. More specifically, they were looking for bullpen help coming off 29 blown saves. Mets GM Omar Minaya made no secret about the fact that he was looking at pitching, pitching, and more pitching. He came away with a solidly revamped bullpen led by Francisco Rodriguez, J.J. Putz, and Sean Green.
Unfortunately, we ended up with Daniel Murphy manning left field and no depth among the position players. Minaya let the rest of the team go for the sake of solidifying the bullpen and re-signing Oliver Perez. It showed when the Mets suffered an abnormally long injury list and there were no replacements waiting in the wings, minor leagues or otherwise.
Although there are some serious question marks on the pitching staff, this offseason needs to be all about generating some offense. The 2009 Mets finished 25th in the majors with 671 runs. Teams like Kansas City and Washington scored more runs than the Mets. They were dead last in the big’s with only 95 team home runs. Sure, the new stadium played a part in that. But there’s no excuse for the team with the highest payroll in the National League to finish in dead last in all of MLB.
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.
There were media reports that the Mets wanted to get a deal done with Oliver Perez by today. We haven’t received word from the Mets or Scott Boras that anything has been settled yet. So, we keep waiting.
Adam Rubin of the NY Daily News has some good information from the BBWAA New York chapter dinner tonight. The topics are:
The Mets are waiting out Ollie because there doesn’t appear to be another team bidding against them.
Randy Wolf’s agent, Arn Tellem, has stayed in touch with the Mets. So the Mets will probably get a call before Wolf signs a contract with anyone else, including the Dodgers.
After reviewing Ben Sheets’ medical records, the Mets don’t appear to be interested in doing a two year contract with him.
This whole off-season has been so strange for free agents. I’ve said this before, but there are a lot of free agents right now that should sign one year contracts and hope for a better economic environment next year. Ben Sheets is definitely one of them.
Jack Curry of the New York Times is reporting today that the Mets made an offer to Derek Lowe. It’s no surpise that he’s the pitcher the Mets are after right now. Ben Sheets, Oliver Perez, and Randy Wolf are still available as free agents as well. But Lowe is the best starting pitcher on the market.
Curry reports that the offer is a 3-year/$36 million contract. Lowe will be 36 years old next season so it makes sense to keep the contract to three years or fewer.
Lowe is reported to be seeking a 5-year/$90 million contract. So the Mets are pretty far from Lowe’s desired deal. The Red Sox and Phillies are also reported to be interested in Lowe. But it’s difficult to tell how interested they are. The Red Sox just signed Brad Penny to a one year deal. So they may not go after another starter.
I’m completely on board with this signing, especially if Omar Minaya can keep the contract to just three years. I would even go to four years, but there’s no way that I’d go to five. Lowe is probably going to get closer to the $50 million range than the $90 million that he’s seeking.
Ryan Church is out of the lineup again tonight against the San Deigo Padres. It’s the third game in the last four that he hasn’t played. Last night there was an obvious opportunity for him to pinch hit in the ninth. Instead Carlos Delgado got the nod. After the game Church told reporters that he couldn’t play and got annoyed at the line of questioning.
Church has been the most consistent offensive force on the Mets this season. He’s also played a Gold Glove caliber right field. I can see why the Mets are hesitant to put him on the disabled list and lose him for two weeks. It’s not like the Mets have someone in the minors that can come up and rake at the big league level. That’s obvious by the brief callup’s of Raul Casanova and Nick Evans. If it’s a couple of days off that he needs, keep him on the active roster and deal with it.
Last night Johan Santana was hit in the left shoulder by a Randy Wolf pitch. He went down to the ground and stayed there for a minute before recovering and continuing the at-bat. He pitched the bottom of the sixth inning after being hit and told reporters after the game that he didn’t think that it affected his pitching.
Anybody that’s played baseball and been hit by a pitch knows that it’s usually more surprising than it is painful. Unless you take one in the back, knee, or face it’s not a big deal. The only concern here is that it’s his pitching shoulder and might bruise up. I haven’t seen any injury reports on Santana today so I don’t think this will affect his next start.
Johan Santana pitched well but hurt himself with an error in the bottom of the sixth on a throw to third base. He pitched six innings giving up two runs (one earned). But Randy Wolf was better tonight going seven innings and giving up one run. The Mets left the bases loaded in the sixth and seventh innings.
The Mets only run came on a long sacrifice fly to center field by David Wright that scored Santana. The Mets haven’t had any offense in the first two games in San Diego. Ryan Church didn’t play again tonight, missing two of the last three games. Apparently, the concussion must still be bothering him.
The Mets have only scored one run in each of the first two games. They fall to 2-3 on this road trip and back to .500 for the season.
What to watch: Santana looks like he’s really starting to sharpen up his game. Unfortunately, the Mets are in a position now where they have to win three games in a row to take the series from the Padres. It’s hard to believe that the Padres have become Brian Giles, Trevor Hoffman, Adrian Gonzalez, and a bunch of Triple-A players. I feel sorry for their fans having to watch that team every day.