We spent most of the offseason wondering which veteran starter the Mets would sign as insurance behind Orlando Hernandez and Mike Pelfrey. Yes, way back in November we were concerned with the slight possibility that neither El Duque nor Pelfrey would be ready to take a spot in the rotation. Here we are, less than a week before opening day, and what do you know — the fifth spot in the rotation is the team’s largest question mark (and there are several questions right now).
Let’s take a look at who is, and who might be, available.
The most recently released pitcher of consequence, Vargas was abruptly dropped by the Brewers despite a fairly decent spring. He’s a five-inning pitcher with a career ERA of just under 5, so I’m not sure he’d be any better than who the Mets already have.
Let go last week by the Mariners, Ramirez remains available. I’d be interested in him because of his lefthandedness, and the fact that he was fairly successful in the NL; maybe a return to the senior circuit is exactly what he needs to rediscover his groove.
Another former Mariner, Weaver is still looking for a job. His 6.20 ERA last year is unattractive, but might be worth giving a AAA audition — but certainly not an MLB job.
Also still looking for a job, Lopez had a 4.42 ERA in 14 starts with the Rockies last year. I was dead-set against making a deal for him a year ago, but today I’d consider him as a AAA option — though like Weaver there’s no way I’d give him an MLB job right away.
He won’t be ready until at least July. I still think it’s a good idea to pay for his rehab, in hopes of getting something better than Brian Lawrence for the second half.
David Wells, Roger Clemens, Russ Ortiz, John Thomson, Eric Milton
No, no, no, no, and no.
Here at MetsToday we strongly advocated for a Jon Lieber signing over the winter. However, Lieber was “promised” a rotation spot with the Cubs. Guess what? He’s starting the season in the ‘pen, as Ryan Dempster and Jason Marquis have won the 4th and 5th spots. Maybe the Cubs would consider moving the elderly innings eater for a NJ-born LOOGY. If they would throw in Matt Murton, all the better.
Jeremy Sowers (or Cliff Lee?)
Omar Minaya and Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro had a meeting a few days ago, but nothing was accomplished. Since then, Sowers was sent down and Cliff Lee won a spot in the Indians rotation. I’d take either of these lefties in a heartbeat right now.
The Giants’ lefty is in the running for a rotation spot, but is sporting a 6.00 ERA this spring. Interestingly, that’s better than the two men he’s in competition with. I’d do Pelfrey for Sanchez straight up — though it’s doubtful there’s any chance of that happening.
It wasn’t long ago he was among the top pitching prospects in all of baseball. He’s now losing a battle for a rotation spot with the Rays to J.P. Howell, and is out of options. The Rays might consider moving him, and who knows — maybe all the kid needs is Rick Peterson. Jackson is only 24 years old, by the way.
The Woodbury, NJ native has been a bust since being the centerpiece of the deal that sent Tim Hudson to Atlanta. The 26-year-old lefty made the A’s 25-man roster as a mopup reliever. He went 8-2 with a 3.28 ERA in 21 AAA starts last year. Maybe Billy Beane would part with Meyer in exchange for Ruben Gotay and/or one of the Mets’ spare relievers?
The slider machine likely is the de facto Mets #5 starter. Who knows, maybe he can recapture the magic that made him virtually unhittable in the first half of 2007.
Being the type who roots for the underdog, I’m hoping “Figgy” has a lights-out performance in the “Civil Rights Game” and earns a spot in the rotation.
It wouldn’t be MetsToday without at least one post arguing Heilman’s right to a rotation spot. Yes, it would take about a month to stretch him out, but the long-term results would be well worth the effort. With Brian Stokes, Matt Wise, Joe Smith, Steven Register, Pedro Feliciano, Ricardo Rincon, Jorge Sosa, and Scott Schoeneweis all pitching well out of the ‘pen, plus the eventual return of Duaner Sanchez looming, now is as good a time as any to give Aaron what he wants — there’s plenty of depth to fill in the gap. Omar, it can be all your idea, OK? Just do it already!
He’s looked promising in his spring appearances, including his most recent yesterday afternoon. However, he still needs polish, and ran out of gas in the fifth inning. Hopefully the Mets will stretch him out in the minors, as I think we’ll see him at some point before the end of the season.
Tony Armas, Jr.
He won’t be in shape for at least another three weeks, at minimum. Even then, I’m not sure he’s the answer.
About the Author
Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers.