New York Mets Look for Someone Who Can Step In

Ira LiemanContributor IMay 3, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 26:  Oliver Perez #46 of the New York Mets reacts in the dugout after he was taken out of their game against the Washington Nationals in the fifth inning on April 26, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The New York Mets need a change. So does Oliver Perez.

After busting out of the gate with four horrible starts in five appearances, Perez has an ERA close to 10.00. The Mets will likely skip his next start, and their $36 million investment looks like it needs a bailout.

Who do the Mets have that might be able to step in for Perez for a start next week against Philadelphia


Brian Stokes

He has looked great as the "long man" in the Mets bullpen. He has not given up a run in 11 innings to start the season. He made one start for the 2008 Mets, and four more for the Devil Rays in 2006.

The Mets would likely need another reliever to replace Stokes for the next week or so.


Ken Takahashi

A starter in Japan, the 40-year-old rookie came up to the Mets when they DFA'ed Casey Fossum. He pitched in relief of Perez in his first major league appearance yesterday, so he would be on track to start next Thursday without further roster moves. 


Jon Niese

He was 0-2, 6.55 ERA in Buffalo to start the year. He made three starts for the Mets in 2008, including a superb eight-inning performance last September.

Niese is on the Mets' 40-man roster, meaning that he can come up to replace a disabled player or if Perez is sent down.


Brandon Knight

Started two games for the 2008 Mets, and he has slightly better AAA stats this year (0-2, 5.50) than Niese but with less upside. He is also on the Mets' 40-man roster.


Dillon Gee

He pitched a seven-inning complete game in his last outing for Buffalo. He looked fantastic in spring training with the Mets.

Gee is not on the Mets' 40-man roster, so a move releasing some player would need to occur.


Nelson Figueroa

Haven't we been down this road? He has a decent 2.25 ERA in AAA this year and made six starts for the 2008 Mets. He made a start for the Mets a few weeks back in place of Mike Pelfrey and pitched well.

Since then he has been DFA'ed, cleared waivers, was released, filed for free agency, and came crawling back to the Mets on a minor-league deal. Similar roster madness would ensue to bring up Figgy. 


Elmer Dessens

Formerly a major league starter (although mediocre in that role), he has an ERA under 1.00 as a reliever for the Bisons. Also, he is not on the 40-man roster.

An intriguing option, to say the least. But not likely.


Pedro Martinez

No discussion on the state of the Mets' pitching staff would be complete without a mention of Pedro.

Currently a free agent and sofa jockey, he was expecting a way-above-market deal to come pitch this year, but after injuries and three subpar years, he might be looking to redeem himself.


So, now what?

The Mets need to determine what the course of action will be for Oliver Perez. If they simply put him in the bullpen as "long man" or "mop-up man" they could flip-flop him and Stokes (or Takahashi, who has a less clearly defined role) for the meantime. 

Should they decide to send him to Buffalo or the DL, I would strongly consider Knight or, more likely, Niese.

I don't see the Mets signing Pedro, as a matter of principle at this point.

If more of an overhaul is required (Sean Green might also need some conditioning), they might consider further moves. And this is why they pay Omar Minaya the big bucks.