Archive: October 8th, 2007

Free Agent Market: Starting Pitching

Regardless of whether Tom Glavine chooses to return, the Mets almost certainly will be in the market for a free-agent starting pitcher. Chances are, they’ll operate on the assumption Glavine is not returning, and possibly look to fill two of their rotation spots with free agent arms. Should they do, and Glavine returns, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to have an extra starter around.

Looking at the potential free agents, there are many familiar names — but not much in the way of guaranteed quality. Further, the vast majority are either coming off surgery and/or a major injury — and those that are healthy, are serious question marks. So there will be a number of GMs rolling the dice in hopes that their free-agent catch can a) remain healthy and b) return to previous form.

I’ve taken the liberty of separating the free-agent starting pitchers into four divisions — questionable health, questionable ability, questionable availability, and no questions — and then ranking them in terms of perceived potential (my judgment).

Questionable Health

1. Jason Jennings
2. Bartolo Colon
3. Freddy Garcia
4. Jon Lieber
5. Matt Clement
6. Kris Benson
7. Randy Wolf (also, questionable availability due to option)
8. Jaret Wright
9. Wade Miller
10. Eric Milton
11. Russ Ortiz
12. Joe Mays
13. Paul Wilson
14. Casey Fossum

Some interesting names there, particularly the top three. My guess is that Omar Minaya goes after Colon, and if he hasn’t become too rotund to leave his house, he might be a good gamble. I’d really like to see Jennings come to Flushing — I have a feeling he’ll be close to 100 percent healthy in 2008, and if so will be a nice #2 starter. And if he can’t pitch, Jennings would immediately improve the team as a hitter.

Questionable Ability

1. Kyle Lohse
2. Jeff Weaver
3. Odalis Perez
4. Josh Fogg
5. Kip Wells
6. Byung-Hyun Kim
7. Brett Tomko
8. Ramon Ortiz
9. Jamey Wright
10. Sidney Ponson

Personally, I don’t like any of the guys on this list — and the top three will command unrealistic, overvalued salaries. The Mets won’t sign Lohse to a $40M+ deal to be an inconsistent fifth starter.

Questionable Availability

1. Curt Schilling
2. Greg Maddux
3. Tim Wakefield
4. Joel Pineiro
5. Paul Byrd

For whatever reason, I don’t see Schilling in New York as a Met (a Yankee? Maybe). If Maddux comes back I imagine he’ll return to San Diego — or possibly create a big reunion with Glavine and Smoltz in Atlanta. Wakefield most likely goes back to Boston, and both Pineiro and Byrd have options.

No Questions

1. Livan Hernandez
2. Carlos Silva

Neither of the above would be considered top-of-the-rotation starters, so you may wonder why they’re not on the “Questionable Ability” list. However, both Hernandez and Silva are what they are — innings eaters, which is something that the Mets have been needing desperately for at least two years. While it’s doubtful either would win more than 14-15 games in a good year in a Mets uniform, it’s equally likely either would make 30+ starts, pitch 180-200 innings, and win at least 12 games.

These are a lot of names to digest, so we may want to chew on this and argue for a few days.