Remaining Pitching Options

arroyo-vs-metsIt is no secret that the Mets need to acquire more quality pitching to contend in 2010 — both in the starting rotation and the bullpen (though, most people are ignoring the ‘pen part of the issue).

Let’s go over the names being bandied about.

Joel Pineiro
I’ve always liked Pineiro’s stuff, going back to his days in Seattle. He would’ve been a great pickup two or three years ago, when Pineiro could be had for dirt cheap and the Mets had one of the few pitching coaches in baseball capable of changing a pitcher’s career. Now, he’s overpriced and bound to fail the moment he walks away from Dave Duncan.

Bronson Arroyo
He is one of the few “sure things” that may or may not be available. Though perhaps not a true “#2”, Arroyo is a lock for 200 IP and 15+ wins, and has proven to be unflappable on the big stage. But what will it take to pry him away from Cincinnati?

Aaron Harang
Harang is the pitcher more likely to leave Cincy. It almost seems like the Reds are dangling Arroyo in front of opposing teams, then attempting to pull the old “bait and switch” by offering up Harang instead. Though he still may be better than every Met starter not named Santana, Harang’s performance and numbers have fallen steadily since throwing 465 combined innings in 2006-2007. His future prognosis is sketchy — and right now the Mets need to find someone not sketchy.

Jarrod Washburn
This guy scares me, in the same way that Randy Wolf does and Kenny Rogers did (must be a lefty thing). Washburn has proven to be a solid starter and workhorse — in some seasons. In other seasons, he’s fragile and undependable. How do we know which Washburn will show up in 2010?

Ben Sheets
It would be completely irresponsible for the Mets to sign someone as risky as Sheets — who may not even throw a pitch in 2010. But, his upside is tremendous, and the Mets have no chance to acquire someone with his ceiling. Sometimes you have to take the advice of Risky Business and just say, “what the f—“.

Erik Bedard
Forget it. He’s riskier than Sheets and is a few inches below Sheets’ ceiling. I’d be surprised to see him pitch in 30 games over the next TWO YEARS. I’d feel more confident in Pedro Martinez fulfilling the value of a contract than Bedard right now.

Jon Garland
The poor man’s Arroyo: a lock to toss 200 innings, but he may or may not win more than 10 games. Still, the Mets can really use someone to eat up innings who can give the team a chance to win through at least the first 6 innings of every start. A Steve Trachsel type, if you will (shudder).

Bottom Line

The Mets already have nothing but question marks in their starting rotation — and that includes Johan Santana, who is coming off surgery and therefore not necessarily a guarantee to return 100% right away. That said they need someone who can provide dependability — even if it is at the cost of being unspectacular. Which is why I like the ideas of Arroyo and Garland, two pitchers who have as good a chance as anyone in baseball to make 32 starts and gobble up 200 innings. But at the same time, the Mets should consider Sheets, who if healthy is their best chance of assembling (with Santana) a one-two duo that compares with the top contenders.

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. Vern January 13, 2010 at 9:46 pm
    Starting Pithing is one of the two remaining MUSTS for the Mets to address this off season.

    Relief pitching has been addressed for the most part. Only a second lefty (behind Pedro Feliciano) has to be addressed. There seam to be a surplus of northpaws (as compared to southpaws)with the additions of Kelvim Escobar and Ryota Igarashi, the signing a couple to minor league deals and the return of much of the 2009 bullpen

    The surplus of righty bullpen members may suggest that the Mets might be traders “of” righty relief pitching rather than traders “for” relief help.