Mets Consider Ben Sheets, Andy Pettitte

According to David Lennon of Newsday, the Mets are considering Ben Sheets and Andy Pettitte to fill out their starting rotation.

Per Lennon:

For his part, Minaya has played it cool, suggesting that he has other options if Perez falls through. Two of the most intriguing names still available are Ben Sheets and Andy Pettitte, with the Mets only recently showing interest in the former Brewers ace. A person familiar with the situation said yesterday that Sheets is now being discussed, but it’s unclear what the parameters of such a deal would be.

In other words, Sheets and Pettite are fallback options in the event Oliver Perez can’t be signed. Why? Why not sign Sheets or Pettitte IN ADDITION TO continuing negotiations with Perez? Why do the Mets seem focused on having “just enough” when every other playoff-bound team is stockpiling starting pitchers? (The Cubs, for example, just added LHP Garrett Olson to their stable of arms.)

First off, I’m not putting any stock into the Andy Pettitte talk. Sure, I’d love to see him in a Mets uniform, but it smells to me to be a negotiation ploy on Pettitte’s part — not unlike Jorge Posada’s insincere overtures of a year ago. With talk of the Yankees dropping their $10M offer, Pettitte is desperate for leverage, and the possibility of becoming a Met is too much for the Bronx faithful to bear. Fleeing for a faraway location such as Houston or LA is not as devastating as seeing Pettitte in a Mets cap on the back page of the tabloids every fifth day — the Yankees would overpay for no reason other than to appease their fan base.

That the Mets are considering Sheets is great news, as he has big-game skills (whether he can execute in big games, unfortunately, is another story). But, Sheets is certainly not the type of pitcher that the Mets can rely on to make 30+ starts and provide 190-200 innings. He’s an ideal gamble to fill out the back end — much the way the Red Sox are counting on Brad Penny. If they sign Sheets, the Mets are still short one pitcher for the front end. There are too many existing question marks — the health of Johan Santana and John Maine, the readiness of Jon Niese or Bobby Parnell — to bring in another question mark to fill a hole.

Again, I love the idea of Sheets — so long as the Mets don’t stop there. Bring in Sheets, AND Perez, AND Freddy Garcia or Pedro Martinez too. To make the postseason, a team needs both quantity and quality comprising the starting rotation pool.

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. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. sincekindergarten January 18, 2009 at 6:49 pm
    Pretty much the only way that Pettitte comes to CitiField would be to tweak the Yankees. I’m not sure that he’s that vindictive. Ben Sheets, OTOH, would be a decent risk, as long as Omar had signed Ollie first. That way, Redding goes to be the long man and Maine becomes the #5, until Sheets gets injured. (It’s not a question of if, but when.)

    But, if Ollie bolts, signing both Sheets and Pettitte becomes viable. Though, I’m not sure if Omar does it, seeing that Randy Wolf would likely come cheaper than Pettitte.

  2. Micalpalyn January 19, 2009 at 12:05 am
    i for one would laud a Ben Sheets move!!! This is a great example of an Omar-esque buy low oppurtunity. BUT we all question the injury history which as yet does not appear to be of the torn labrum, blown out elbow variety. I believe at the time of the injury Ben was out dueling Santana.

    Sheets is EVERYTHING Omar needs. he is a credible righty ace. He is still in his prime, somehow he wont cost a 5yr/90M deal. He when healthy is dominant AND consistent. Despite mising near a month he pitched 4 more innings than Ollie. The bonus is if Mil then sign Ollie…(and we get their pick). Granted Sheets might still not be healthy to start the season, but isnt that where Niese and Bobby-P come in. Not to mention a Randy Wolf.

  3. joe January 19, 2009 at 1:09 am
    I question Sheets’ mental toughness and ability to stay healthy, but love his stuff. Niese and Parnell are spot-start fodder, not people to rely on for extended periods. Wolf’s handedness is his only advantage, and for the Mets a LHP is a must-have. That said I’d rather they just reach down into their pockets and give Ollie the money he wants. At worst he’ll be better than Wolf, at best he might just win a Cy Young.
  4. isuzudude January 19, 2009 at 9:20 am
    I agree that if the Mets sign Sheets, the best they can expect is a #3 pitcher. Omar would still need to plan on adding another one more pitcher of the #2/#3 caliber, and the only guy left on the radar on the free agent market at this point is Perez. I think Mic makes a very good point in that Sheets is the classic “buy low” type of player Omar loves to pursue, and though he may not be counted on to pitch 200 innings and start 30 times, you can feel pretty confident that every time he takes the ball when healthy, he’s going to give you an ace-like performance. With the way the pitching market is shaping up now, Sheets is certainly worth the gamble. Because, since I agree that Pettitte is only going to use the Mets for posturing, if Perez does indeed sign elsewhere, Omar will have waited himself into sifting through the remnants of this year’s free agent class. And adding Randy Wolf, Jon Garland, Pedro Martinez, or Freddy Garcia to the Johan/Pelfrey/Maine/Redding quartet is just not going to cut it.
  5. Micalpalyn January 19, 2009 at 12:35 pm
    Ollie: For all his plus points, Ollie for TWO yrs in a row had the Mets fate in his hand ……and floundered. He is NOT a pariah.
  6. joe January 19, 2009 at 12:40 pm
    Mic, you bring up a good point that most Mets fans are forgetting right now. Bitter cold and lack of pitching can play with the mind.

    BTW I think you mean he IS a pariah? (Pariah = outcast / despised character)

  7. isuzudude January 19, 2009 at 5:05 pm
    Maybe he meant MESSIAH? Either case, Mic, if you are trying to drum up a point for the Mets not to retain Ollie, then I’m confused. Because you were deadset against Derek Lowe, too. So if you don’t like either Lowe or Perez, I’m curious – who do you want the Mets to fill out the rotation with? Are Sheets and Wolf enough to get the Mets to the postseason?
  8. Micalpalyn January 19, 2009 at 6:25 pm
    Dude: Yes I was between Pariah and messiah. No he is not an outcast but a saviour he is not either.

    To address the question: I think I can be resolved in my consistency dude. No I dont like Lowe. I like Ollie but not as a #4 pitcher (the past 2 yrs) trying to get #2 money. As such U see Omar’s stoicism. I actually like Sheets as a perfect #2 behind Santana. #3 I like Maine, #4 Pelfrey and #5 Redding with Maine or Wolf as the #6 or rotation stop gaps. If Sheets and Maine are slow to be ready…Niese would be OK, Wolf better.

    On Sheets; hearing the Philths could dabble should send Omar into Jeff Wilpon’s office.

  9. Micalpalyn January 19, 2009 at 6:29 pm
    PS Mets signed Dirty……hint
  10. Micalpalyn January 20, 2009 at 9:13 am
    OK. Apparrently Sheets wants 2yrs and 18M, with an option. Thats hardly overwealming. Ben for 3yrs and 25M is very doable and a bargain.
  11. isuzudude January 20, 2009 at 9:28 am
    Mic, I think the reason why you don’t want to give Ollie any more than $10-mil per season is because you see him as a #4, while most of us see him as at least a top-teir #3. Through all of his inconsistency, Perez has still managed to average 31 starts over the past 2 years with the Mets, throwing 371 innings with 354 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.90. Again, at the least I think that bodes #3 quality and salary. And at 27, there’s a chance Ollie still hasn’t reached his full potential. Omar’s stoicism is most likely to be blamed on a different reason than Ollie’s projected value. Whether that be stubborness, the economy, a tightened budget, or something else is up for debate. If Perez was asking for a 5-yr, $90-mil contract, yes I’d tell him to take a hike. But the way things are shaping out, knowing how desperate the Mets are becoming for pitching, if Perez can be had on a 3-yr, $35-mil contract, you gotta let him sign on the dotted line. I’m not too sure if I can agree, either, that Sheets is the perfect #2 behind Johan if Perez isn’t retained, because then you are generating a rotation that includes 2 injury question marks in Sheets and Maine with hardly a safety net to fall back on. Also, know that you’d probably be in the minority if you think that Maine is a #3 while Ollie is a #4, and if you think that Redding would hold on to a rotation spot if the Mets signed Randy Wolf along with Perez or Sheets.

    And regarding Sheets and the Phillies: if hearing that the Braves got involved with Derek Lowe didn’t light a fire under Omar, I don’t think anything will.

  12. Micalpalyn January 20, 2009 at 9:25 pm
    Dude: If you are Boras I am penny pincher Omar. I dont see the Braves WITH Lowe as a threat…for the title. They were abysmal, old and not likely to be competitive Kawasaki is a rookie (at 32?), and Vaz will eat innings….but thats it. Lowe is not Peavy. In fact I’d EASILY have Sheets over Lowe. Sheets I think compares to Peavy. The only reason not to go for Sheets are the questions on toughness and injury.
  13. isuzudude April 6, 2009 at 7:51 am
    “In fact I’d EASILY have Sheets over Lowe.”

    Mic, I know the season has just begun, but do you think it’s time to eat some crow yet?