Tag: daisuke matsuzaka

Free Agent Targets: Starting Pitchers

The MLBPA compiled a full list of players who filed for free agency this offseason. Out of those, there are several possibilities that stood out to me as players I would consider signing if I were the GM of the Mets (assuming I had a moderate amount of money to spend). Mind you, I’m not saying the Mets should sign ALL of these players – that would be impossible. But this would be the pool of players from which I would choose.

We’ll break them down by position. In this post, I’ll take a look at…

Starting Pitchers

The Mets would like a veteran starting pitcher to anchor a young, Matt Harveyless rotation in 2014. Not really an ace, just someone to eat innings while Zack Wheeler, Rafael Montero, and Noah Syndergaard grow into the top-tier starters the team thinks they can be.

Tim Hudson, 38, RHP – Hudson should be fully recovered from his ankle injury (inflicted accidentally by Eric Young) by Opening Day. He had a 3.97 ERA and 1.19 WHIP before going down. He’s coming off a 4-year, $36 million deal, and should be affordable.

Paul Maholm, 31, LHP – Aside from Jon Niese, the Mets are thin on left-handed starting pitchers at the major league level, and the high minors. Maholm would give them a decent lefty arm for 150 innings or so. He wasn’t great against right-handed batters, but he held lefties to a .226/.262/.297 slash line. His last contract was 2 years, $11.25 million.

Scott Feldman, 30, LHP – Feldman is a more intriguing lefty. Once a prospect for the Texas Rangers, he started 2013 with the Cubs, and finished with the Orioles. According to MLBTR, the O’s are keen on keeping Feldman, and are looking at a 2-year, $17 million contract. If he falls through the cracks, however, he and his 2013 ERA of 3.86 and WHIP of 1.18 would be welcome in the Mets rotation.

Scott Kazmir, 29, LHP – Perhaps a return home for the prodigal son is in order? After several years of injury and ineffectiveness, Kazmir rebounded to post a 4.04 ERA, 1.32 ERA, and a 9.2 SO/9 ratio with the Cleveland Indians. Given his injury history, however, he’s still a question mark.

Aaron Harang, 35, RHP – Harang threw his final 23 innings of 2013 with the Mets, and had a 3.52 ERA and a 10.2 SO/9 ratio. However, he also walked an average of 4.7 batters per 9 innings. He looked sharp enough to be considered for a return. His last contract was 2-years, $12 million, but he may be available for less than that.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, 33, RHP – Matsuzaka spent his last 38.2 innings of 2013 with the Mets. Early on, he walked a lot of batters and took forever to deliver the ball to home plate, both hallmarks of Dice-K’s career, but in his last 4 starts, he went 26.1 innings, won 3 games, and had a 1.37 ERA. He held opposing hitters to a .461 OPS. He’s still a gamble, but he might be worth another look if they can sign him on the cheap.

Dan Haren, 33, RHP – Haren had a bad year in 2013. He had a 4.67 ERA and 4.09 FIP. However, he still struck out 8 batters per 9 innings, and had a 1.23 WHIP. His fastball velocity is down from the level it was in his halcyon days, but good pitchers figure out how to pitch without their best stuff. He’s coming off a 1-year, $13 million contract. If he asks for anywhere near that, the Mets should pass.

The Mets would be wise not to spend a large percentage of whatever offseason budget they have on starting pitchers. They have some organizational depth (as long as they don’t trade any of it), even if it’s somewhat inexperienced. They have more glaring holes to fill at other positions.

Coming up next: Free agent relief pitchers.


Link Roundup: Scraping Together a Roster

This was the Mets' reaction to Brian Wilson.

This was the Mets’ reaction to Brian Wilson.

Pitchers and Catchers report in less than a month, and the Mets still have holes to fill on their roster.

They need a starting pitcher to help replace the 220 innings left behind by R.A. Dickey.  Rumor had it they were interested in Daisuke Matsuzaka, but another rumor had it they weren’t.

They also need a late-inning bullpen arm to either close or set up.  They worked out RHP Brian Wilson, but apparently were not impressed.  Wilson, however is still on the Mets’ radar.  The former Giants closer is coming off his second Tommy John surgery.  He also had a procedure to repair his FHCL (Facial Hair Cruciate Ligament).

The Mets also need a right handed hitting outfielder.  They’ve been looking to bring back Scott Hairston after his career year in Flushing in 2012, but balked at his most recent asking price of 2 years, $8 million.  They countered with a 1 year, $2 million offer.

If Hairston is their biggest offseason free agent target, then they surely are strapped for cash.  The Mets aren’t even shopping in the frozen food section anymore, they’re buying packages of “manager’s special” chicken that expired yesterday.

That’s not a knock against Hairston – he’s a useful, if unspectacular, player – it’s a knock against the Wilpons, who continue to grind their franchise into the ground.

In more positive news, David Wright will represent the Mets on Team USA in this year’s World Baseball Classic.  He’ll be joined by former teammate R.A. Dickey.



Mets Game 41: Win Over Red Sox

Mets 5 Red Sox 3

For the first time in five tries, the Mets won a ballgame.

Ace Johan Santana gave the Mets seven strong innings, allowing only three hits, and the offense gave him sufficient support for the second time in as many starts.

This is why the Mets broke the bank to pay for a “stopper” last February.

Offensively, it was a team effort, with runs driven in by Angel Pagan, Gary Sheffield, David Wright, Omir Santos, and, unbelievably, Ramon Martinez.

Francisco Rodriguez came on in the ninth to earn his 12th save in a dozen tries.


Sheffield’s RBI was the Mets’ first homerun since May 13. Sheffield also hit the Mets last homerun.

The home plate umpire had a huge strike zone, for both sides.

The Mets made three errors behind Santana — two were by Ramon Martinez.

In the fifth inning, Angel Pagan sacrificed Danny Murphy to second, and Murphy inexplicably tried to continue on to third base. First baseman Kevin Youkilis TOOK HIS TIME throwing the ball across the diamond and still pegged Murphy by ten feet. Apparently, hitting in the leadoff spot confused Daniel into thinking he has Reyes-like running speed.

In the sixth inning, Santana plugged Youkilis with a fastball on the middle part of the plate. Youkilis crowds the plate and had he not been hit by the pitch, it might’ve been a strike. In any case, Youkilis took his time walking to first and Santana told him (in so many words) to move his keister. The two exchanged words but nothing came of it.

Several times during the broadcast, Ron Darling pointed out Dice-K’s “gyro ball”. Just for the record, the “gyro ball” is a myth, and Matsuzaka himself denied that he threw such a pitch several years ago. Here in the USA, we call that particular pitch a “hanging slider”.

Speaking of Matsuzaka, I was extremely pleased to see him leave the game after the fifth. His methodical rhythm and laborious attempt to make batters swing and miss at every single pitch drive me crazy. It’s like watching Steve Trachsel all over again — except, Trax rarely caused hitters to miss.

Bobby “Don’t Call Me Mel” Parnell was clocked at 100 MPH on the SNY radar gun for one pitch against J.D. Drew. Where did that come from? Parnell threw a perfect 8th frame to set up the save for K-Rod.

K-Rod was clocked at 95, which is a speed he hadn’t reached earlier. I wonder if the gun was on the fast side, or if the pitchers were emotionally hopped up for the ballgame.

Gary Sheffield did a pretty nice job dealing with the Green Monster in left field. Originally slated to be the DH, he went to left and Jeremy Reed to center so that Carlos Beltran, who is suffering from a sore knee, could be the designated hitter.

Reed didn’t have too many chances in center, but he made a fantastic running catch in the ninth on a Jason Varitek line drive, jumping at the last moment and slamming into the outfield wall with an impressive “thud”.

Ryan Church left the game early with a sore right hamstring. The infirmary is getting crowded.

Julio Lugo reminds me of those logic / IQ test questions … you know, “which of these does not belong?” Can’t put my finger on it, but he just doesn’t “fit” into the mold that all the other Red Sox players seem to be cut from.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Red Sox do it again in Fenway on Saturday at 7:10 PM. Mike Pelfrey goes to the hill against Josh Beckett.