The New York Mets: Starting Pitching In 2010

Joe FiorelloCorrespondent IAugust 11, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 27:  Erik Bedard #45 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum on May 27, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

There’s really nothing to be gained from complaining about this season any more.  The team is awful, and that’s all there is.

Since 2009 has ended sooner than any of us would like, I’ve decided to dedicate some time thinking about the direction the team needs to take to have success next season.

I will evaluate the Mets roster, position by position, and try and figure out what I would do.  I won’t create fantasy trades, but I will look at who will be on the roster next season, as well as the free agent pool in an attempt to come up with ideas to improve the team.

Since Citi Field’s first season has presented it as a pitcher friendly park, I think starting pitching and speed should be the teams top priority.

The Mets starting pitching has been inconsistent at best this season, and it’s an issue that needs to be addressed above all others.

The rotation next will look something like this:

1. Johan Santana
2. Mike Pelfrey
3. Oliver Perez
4. John Maine
5. ?????

I believe that aside from Johan Santana, all the Mets starters are overvalued in their rotation spot, meaning Mike Pelfrey should be a No. 3 starter, Perez an No. 4, and Maine a No. 5.

This means that the Mets should be in the market for at least one top tier starter to fill their No. 2 hole.

I say at least one, because the Mets have a lot of question marks regarding injured starting pitchers for next season.

No one can be sure John Maine will be effective if he returns after his mystery shoulder ailment. Jon Niese and Fernando Nieve were effective in their limited time with the team this season, but will both be battling back from major hamstring injuries, so their value will also be questioned.

That being said, I searched through the free agent list for starting pitchers in 2010. 

I’ve left out all players that have a club option for next season, assuming their respective teams will resign them.  I’ve come up with a list of five players I believe the Mets should look at adding to their roster next season.

The first player on my list is Erik Bedard. 

The 31-year-old lefty is 5-3 this season in 15 starts.  He’s sporting a 2.82 ERA and opposing hitters are batting .212 against him.  He’s averaging 9.8 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9.  He would be a legitimate No. 2 starter in this rotation and would compliment the power arms currently in the rotation with a great curve ball.

The next player I looked at is Rich Harden. 

He’s a 28-year-old righty that is 7-7 in 19 starts this season.  His ERA is a little high at 4.41, but he’s got a great strikeout rate at 10.7 K/9 while walking just under four in the same span.  He’s got a high home run rate at 1.7 HR/9, but that number will surely be improved pitching half his games in Citi Field.  Opposing batters are hitting .242 against him.

Harden would most likely be a No. 3 or No.4 starter in the Mets rotation, so although it would add depth, it would not strengthen from the top down.

Next, I looked at John Lackey. 

The 31-year-old right-hander is 7-5 in 17 starts with a 3.88 ERA.  Opposing batters are batting .256 against him and he’s striking out 7.5 K/9 while walking 2.6 BB/9.  I think Lackey has the stuff to be a No. 2 starter, especially in the National League.  He has postseason experience, and has pitched on World Series caliber teams for the last few seasons. 

He would be a welcome addition to the rotation.

I also think the Mets should look at Jason Marquis. 

He’s having the best season of his career so far, sporting a 3.65 ERA with a .200 BAA.  He’s 12-8 in 22 starts so far.  He’s also a New York kid, playing his High School ball on Staten Island.  Having a local guy on your team is something the Mets have been missing since the departure of John Franco.  If Marquis can have this type of season for years to come, he’s also a legitimate candidate for the No. 2 starter spot.

The last guy I looked at is Joel Pinero. 

The 31-year-old right-hander is 10-9 in 22 starts so far.  He’s got a 3.22 ERA with an incredible .174 BAA.  He’s not overpowering, but he’s a ground ball machine.  He would be a perfect fit for a stadium like Citi Field.  Like Harden, he’s probably not a No. 2 starter, but he will strengthen the overall rotation, which is something worth looking at.

I stopped at five pitchers, but the truth is, there are others out there that might give you better results than the bottom of the Mets rotation has so far this season.

I will discuss every position the same way I’ve broken down starting pitching in the coming days.  Maybe Omar can look at these ideas and take them as his own, since I sincerely believe he has no plans or ideas of his own.


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