Jan. 14 -- Mets' pitching options post-Lowe

11:17 AM

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A couple of Mets people I talked to yesterday sounded crushed that Derek Lowe had signed with the Braves. These are people who preferred Lowe to Oliver Perez because the former is more reliable and the latter...um...a touch flaky.

Another part of the concern is that the Mets don't yet know how their new ballpark is going to play. Omar Minaya has, in recent years, sought out flyball pitchers that he thought would benefit from spacious Shea Stadium. Perez and John Maine are two examples of flyball pitchers Minaya was able to get at low cost because most teams prefer groundball pitchers.

But while studies seem to show Citi Field will be an extreme pitcher's park, perhaps even more than Shea was, the Mets aren't sure, and some in the organization felt like Lowe was a better bet than Perez because he keeps the ball on the ground.

But the Mets didn't want to give Lowe four years, and they didn't want to give him $15 million a year, so off he goes to Atlanta, and now they turn their attention to Perez.

Right now, the Mets feel like they can get Perez at their price, because they don't think anybody else is interested. But two weeks ago, nobody else was interested in Lowe, and he ended up in Atlanta. It's certainly not beyond Scott Boras to wrangle Texas or the Dodgers or somebody like that into a Perez deal, and if his price gets to $60M/4 as Lowe's did, he's not coming back to the Mets.

Which leaves them with...what? Randy Wolf? Jon Garland? Pedro Martinez? Those are the names you hear, depending on which Mets person you're talking to on a given day. But I have a couple of outside-the-box ideas that the Mets should at least consider:

1. Andy Pettitte. Why not? They know he can pitch in New York. Last year wasn't a great one for him, but he still won 14 games with a 4.54 ERA in the tougher league. A switch to the NL might benefit him, and they could probably get him for one year and $12 million. They were willing to pay Lowe $12 million a year for three years. Why not Pettitte for the same money and less of a commitment?

2. Ben Sheets. Until yesterday, Mets people had been consistently saying the same thing about Sheets all winter -- too concerned about the injury history, not interested. But there's a movement among some in the organization to take a shot on Sheets, who's as talented as any pitcher in baseball when he is healthy.

When the Yankees were talking Sheets in December, their plan was to offer him a two-year deal for about $12 million - $13 million per year, plus team options for 2011 and 2012 that would increase in value (and possibly vest) if he stayed healthy in 2009 an 2010. The price may have come down since then, and it's worth thinking about. A rotation of Santana/Sheets/Main/Pelfrey/Redding would be pretty good during the stretches when Sheets is healthy, and they could pick up another desperate veteran or two (Josh Towers? Jeff Weaver? There are a million of these guys out there.) that they could stash in the bullpen or at Triple-A in case Sheets got hurt or they needed to rest him to keep him healthy.

Just a couple of ideas in case the Ollie thing falls apart, that's all.

3 Responses to "Jan. 14 -- Mets' pitching options post-Lowe"

Anonymous said :
January 14, 2009 at 1:06 PM
Sheets and Perez sounds better as you have Redding to start when Sheets is hurt, and Sheets will be hurt: that's pretty much a given at this point. Your point that the team intended an extreme pitcher's park but can't be sure is well taken though. Dan Murphy should put of comparable numbers to what he did at Shea with so much field to use, so I actually worry less about left field (as long as I don't think of the fielding part). Second base is a big problem, and that cannot be said enough!!!
Anonymous said :
January 14, 2009 at 7:36 PM
You know, it's too bad that the Mets don't see that the perfect fit for this team is not a starting pitcher, but a left fielder who would transform their lineup. If they got Manny, then they wouldn't need to go crazy and stress over Sheets or Perez. He would win games single handedly with his bat. I can't even think how much better Wright and Beltran would be hitting in front of him. It's too bad they don't see it.
Theresa said :
January 16, 2009 at 3:08 PM
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