Pitching: Plan B
So the Mets have lost the insanity sweepstakes of 2006. Without landing Barry Zito, the team must make some kind of move, or moves, to provide more depth in their shaky starting rotation. What is their recourse and plan of action as 2007 is about to be rung in?
Here are 10 possibilities:
1. Give Aaron Heilman another shot at the starting rotation, and cross your fingers that Duaner Sanchez will come all the way back. Ambiorix Burgos, Juan Padilla, Jason Standridge, and Jon Adkins can fight it out for the 7th-inning bridge Heilman leaves behind.
2. Package Heilman, Lastings Milledge, and either Mike Pelfrey or Philip Humber in a deal for a front-end starter such as Danny Haren or Dontrelle Willis. (Do not put this package together for a back-end guy like Javy Vazquez.)
3. Package Heilman, Milledge, and a lesser prospect for a back-end AL guy who might benefit from a switch to the NL, such as Joe Blanton or Jake Westbrook.
4. Give Mark Mulder a 2-year, guaranteed deal, and hope he can come back from surgery to be near what he used to be. Use filler guys like Alay Soler and Dave Williams in the rotation until Mulder is ready (around June).
5. Sign Joel Pineiro and pray he can recapture the magic of 2002-2003, when he was not yet 25 years old and seen as a future Cy Young winner.
6. Sign Tony Armas, Jr. and hope he can start 30 games again.
7. Sign Mark Redman to a one-year deal. He just might pull a Jamie Moyer and turn into a remarkably effective lefthander.
8. Trade a bag of balls to Los Angeles for Odalis Perez, and give him a shot to win the #5 job. Could he be worse than Jose Lima, Jeremi Gonzalez, or Victor Zambrano?
9. Lock Mike Pelfrey, Philip Humber, and Jason Vargas in a room together for the entire week before pitchers and catchers report. Give them nothing but bread, water, and a TV set that shows clips of Jeremy Bonderman’s and Justin Verlander’s 2006 season. Perhaps one or two of the three will absorb the subliminal message and have a lights-out spring training.
10. Assemble Ron Darling, Tom Seaver, David Cone, and Jerry Koosman in the Port St. Lucie bullpen. Show them a copy of the contracts given to Ted Lilly, Jason Marquis, and Barry Zito. Explain that they only have to pitch 5-6 innings per start these days. Have Jerry Grote ready behind the plate while these four men knock each other over to get to the mound. Last man standing gets a crack at the rotation.