As the San Francisco Giants proved, starting pitching wins the World Series. If the Mets hope to join them as World Champs sometime this decade, the Mets will need to get more pitching, and fast because they certainly don’t have enough. Right now the Mets are going into the 2011 season with absolutely zero sure things in the rotation.
Johan Santana is out until, well, who knows? June? The All-Star break? The silence on his condition is deafening.
Then there’s Mike Pelfrey, who is proving to be quite the enigma. He was so brilliant for the first half of the season, then reverted to his old ways in the middle of the summer when the Mets needed him most. Who knows which pitcher will show up for spring training.
R.A. Dickey was the team’s MVP in 2010. But he can revert to his journeyman ways just as easily as he can repeat his performance in 2011.
Jon Niese is the closest thing to a sure thing in the rotation as anyone, and that’s pretty sad considering he’s just 25 years old and coming off his rookie season. But he’s too untested to rely on him to be an anchor of the rotation.
The fifth starter? Dillon Gee? Jenrry Mejia? Oliver Perez, God forbid? Unknown at this time.
This is why the Mets need to go out and get one, if not two, solid and reliable starters. The Dodgers already signed Jon Garland, so he’s off the market. So is Javier Vazquez. Cliff Lee is out of the question, apparently.
So who’s left on the free agent market? Aaron Harang is a possibility. He’s had a couple of down years, but he’s got really good stuff when he’s on. Brandon Webb is intriguing. He’s missed the past two years (except for one start) due to injury. When uninjured he’s an ace. I would pay him $5 million plus incentives, but reports say he wants a deal similar to the one Ben Sheets signed last year coming off an injury — $10 million guaranteed. It didn’t work out too well, as he predictably spent time on the DL. The same thing could happen to Webb.
As far as the trade market, I repeat a deal I proposed in August — Carlos Beltran for Daisuke Matsuzaka (incidentally, MetsBlog proposed the same deal last month, writing that they haven’t seen that trade proposed anywhere before, that it was just their speculation. Well, it was proposed here first, just for the record). Dice-K is under contract for 2 more years at $10 million per, so the money is a wash. The Red Sox need help in the outfield, so this trade would help both teams.
Whatever happens over the next couple of months, you can rest assured that Sandy Alderson is on the case, unlike a year ago when Omar Minaya was content going into the season with Perez and John Maine in the rotation. That won’t happen this time around, right?
Mug Shots Courtesy Ultimate Mets Database