Durbin, Bonderman, Millwood Still Available

While researching something else, I noticed that veteran righthanders Chad Durbin, Jeremy Bonderman, and Kevin Millwood are still on the free agent market.

The 33-year-old Durbin has been a serviceable reliever for the Phillies for the past few years, filling in as a long man, middle reliever, and even a closer. Though he walks too many batters for my taste, Durbin does get swings and misses (about 8 Ks for every 9 IP) and has a rubber arm. Additionally, before landing in Philadelphia, he was used as a starter with varying degrees of mediocrity. Apparently, Durbin was looking for a two-year deal, the Phillies balked, and he’s since been trying to catch on with another “pennant contender”. However, no top teams are banging down his door, so he’s stuck with Seattle as a possible landing spot.

Considering Durbin’s experience, durability, and versatility, might he be of interest to the Mets? Particularly if the price is right? He’d essentially be redundant to D.J. Carrasco, but the Mets likely will need to have redundancy in that “swingman” role.

As for Bonderman, I’m mildly surprised he hasn’t caught on with someone by now, considering his relatively young age (28) and previous success. I know he has battled arm problems in the past few years, but he proved healthy last year, making 29 starts. His main issue last year was adjusting to the transition from power pitcher to finesse guy, resulting in wild inconsistency — some starts he looked great, in others he was batted around. My guess is he has been picky about choosing his next team — or, he’s holding out for a guaranteed MLB contract — because there are several rotations that would welcome him into competition for a #5 spot. His stance could be similar to that of Kevin Millwood, who is also still on the market because he is refusing to accept a minor-league deal. Interestingly, both Millwood and Bonderman were rumored to be on the verge of signing with the Cleveland Indians, but I haven’t seen anything reported in the last few weeks (can anyone provide an update?).

The Mets currently have R.A. Dickey, Mike Pelfrey, and Jon Niese penciled into the rotation, with the last two spots up for grabs among Chris Young, Chris Capuano, Dillon Gee, Pat Misch, Boof Bonser, Oliver Perez, and D.J. Carrasco (I’m not counting Jenrry Mejia as the organization would prefer he start the year in the minors). That’s a pretty large group, but it’s more about quantity rather than quality, and it’s chock full of question marks in regard to both health and the ability to perform at the MLB level. I would consider bringing in a veteran like Millwood not only to enter competition for the back-end of the rotation, but also to provide insurance against one of Dickey, Pelfrey, or Niese going down with an injury. If you think the rotation looks a little shaky now, imagine how it would be if something were to happen to one of the top three?

What do you think? Would you consider adding one more pitcher to camp? If so, who?

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. Izzy February 23, 2011 at 11:02 am
    This pitching staff is filled with mediocrites all over. Bringing in more arms would be a prudent move especially on minor league deals. However, it will not happen, even a minor league deal with a guarantee for making the club will stop the Mets from moving. As for these guys you mentioned,seeing Millwood several times last year, he looked finished. He should retire. Bonderman I don’t know and Durbin whats another reliever. The guys here are no better no worse.