With only a few weeks before pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Port St. Lucie, the Mets still have some holes to fill.
Conveniently, there are still several free agents available, many of whom have some type of skill or value to offer. Let’s do a quick rundown on the pitchers who are still available and how they might help.
No-brainer. The only free agent left who can significantly impact the Mets’ chance for success in 2010 — IF healthy. A big if, to be sure, but there isn’t anyone else who can help the Mets as much as Sheets can.
He won’t be a difference-maker, but Garland is the one of the few remaining free agent with a good chance of tossing 200 innings in 2010. That may not sound so promising, but the way the Mets have been built since 2006 is like this: try to put together an “American League lineup” that can score a lot of runs, get starting pitchers who can keep the game close through six, and cross your fingers. Garland can win 12-14 games on a club with a strong offense, so he fits the bill.
Stop laughing (or screaming), and see the notes above re: Garland. Now, consider that Looper made 34 starts in 2009 and pitched 194 innings — no Met starter reached either of those thresholds. And it wasn’t a fluke, since Looper made 33 starts / 199 IP in 2008 and 31 starts / 175 IP in 2007.
A number of people are talking up the possibility of Wang joining the Mets. That would be great over the long term, but understand he won’t be throwing a big league pitch until 2011.
This would be a tough one to swallow … wasn’t it bad enough we had to endure Tom Glavine? Seriously though, Smoltz would bring a level of professionalism sorely needed in Flushing. He won’t be the dominating pitcher he was in Atlanta, but he still has enough to be a competitive mid- or back-end starter (I’m not sure his stuff translates to a setup role). I wouldn’t worry about his arm since his shoulder is fairly new after 2008 surgery and his elbow is only 8 years old.
Again, stop snickering, please. Yes he’s over 40, hefty, and ugly as heck, but year in and year out, the guy appears in 65-70 games, throws a ton of strikes, and rarely is the reason his team loses a ballgame. I’m not sold on the recovering Kelvim Escobar and Ryota Igarashi being the answer in the 7th and 8th innings, and believe Weathers would be an inexpensive, smart backup plan — he can probably be had on a non-guaranteed, minor league deal.
Gregg has proven time and time again that he’s not a reliable closer. Luckily, the Mets already have a closer, so Gregg would be a candidate for a middle relief / setup role. See my notes on Igarashi / Escobar.
He’s the best LOOGY left on the market. Don’t the Mets need another lefty to team with Pedro Feliciano? Last I checked, both the Phillies and the Braves remain in the NL East.
Did I miss anyone of consequence? Discuss in the comments.
Next post will cover the position players / hitters who remain on the open market.
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.