Mets Starting Pitcher Targets
One month later, Paul’s commendable list of starting pitching free-agent targets for the Mets is more or less irrelevant. That’s no fault of Paul, but rather the limited budget of the Mets combined with the very quickly developing free-agent market.
So who’s left for the Mets to target?
Paul’s choices were: Tim Hudson, Paul Maholm, Scott Feldman, Scott Kazmir, Aaron Harang, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Dan Haren. Well, Hudson and Haren are gone, and based on their deals (as well as that of Jason Vargas), I’m guessing that Kazmir will be out of the Mets’ reach. Further, I doubt the Mets will pony up the necessary dough to bring back Harang or Dice-K — who would seemingly cost in the neighborhood of one year, $6-7M. Feldman and Maholm, though, may still be in the cards.
Let’s consider others that could be targets of Sandy Alderson, based on the market activity we’ve seen so far, and what we think the Mets are willing pay.
First off, we should eliminate pitchers who won’t be signed by the Mets, mainly because they will be priced out of the Mets budget in terms of years or dollars:
For various reasons, mostly having to do with economics, I don’t see the Mets in serious play for any of the above hurlers. There’s been talk about the Mets and Arroyo, but I see someone offering him a three-year deal, and I don’t see that team being the Mets.
I don’t see the Mets going back to the well with Pelfrey or Santana. After seeing Josh Johnson get $7M, my guess is Halladay is getting at least that much, and the Mets can’t afford to spend that much on a dice roll. All reports suggest Hughes will get a two-year deal, which the Mets aren’t willing to offer.
Rolling the Dice
Lewis, Baker, Floyd, Richard, and Karstens are all coming off arm injuries. Baker and Lewis would seem the best bets to make a successful and productive return in 2014, and could be targets of the Mets — though, both seem to be leaning toward returning to their previous clubs. Floyd may or may not be ready by June. For what it’s worth, Jason Marquis is also coming off TJ surgery, but won’t be around until August. Oswalt is the perennial wild card, and could be worth a gamble at the right price. One figures he’d prefer to sign with a pennant contender, but he might be interested in signing with ANYONE, to prove himself and become a deadline trading chip. Somehow, though, I’m not seeing it. Volquez was once an ace, now a disaster — see Oliver Perez. Is he worth a flyer? Maybe.
Guess what, Mets fans? The above is everyone else that’s left. I’d say Maholm, Feldman, and Hammel are the best of the bunch, but when you look at what decent 4th starters are getting, I shudder to think what a decent 5th starter will command. Two to three years and $25M? That may price out the Mets. If not Maholm, Feldman, or Hammel, then who is left for the Mets to consider? It’s looking like a return of Capuano, Dice-K, and/or Harang — if they’re not offered better deals elsewhere. And as crazy as it sounds, that’s a distinct possibility. Teams gunning for the postseason saw what happened with the Dodgers, who had 8 starting pitchers in April, only to have a shortage come midseason. In other words, they’ll pay for depth, and overpay if necessary, particularly on one-year deals. Beyond those three former Mets, I could also see Long Island native Lannan sign with the hometown team. And after so many years of Barry Zito trade rumors, it would seem appropriate for the lefty to finish his career in Flushing. Or possibly, Roberto Hernandez can pitch as well as Fausto Carmona once did, and be 2014’s Francisco Liriano — though I wouldn’t bet on it. Forget Bedard — he’s the lefthanded version of Shaun Marcum, but more injury prone.
So there you have it. Have I properly evaluated the free agent market for starting pitchers from the Mets’ perspective? Did I miss anyone? Do you think the Mets will spend more than I think, and/or, will free agent starters be more willing to take less than I believe? Answer in the comments, and be sure to suggest who you think the Mets are targeting among the pool of free-agent starting pitchers available.