With Roy Halladay having a cheesesteak in Philly, John Lackey downing some chowder in Boston, and pretty much every other reasonable #2 starter nestled at home for the rest of the winter, the Mets find themselves playing a game of chance.
There's no sure deal out there to improve their starting rotation. There's only varying levels of risk. So the question is how much are the Mets wiling to risk when it comes to starting pitching next year? Let's look at the options:
Risky: Joel Piniero, Jon Garland, or Doug Davis
These are the free agent pitchers that appear to be on the Mets radar. None of them are a solid #2 option. All of them appear to be asking for too high of an asking price. And each of them have the potential to be the worst signing of the offseason. However, there's the chance that one of them will step up to perform above expectations, although I find that doubtful.
Riskier: Ben Sheets or Pedro Martinez
After a year of non-stop injuries are the Mets willing to take a chance on one guy who hasn't pitched in over a year or another guy who may have peaked last season? Neither of these pitchers appear to be on the Mets wish list, but there could come a time when the Mets might be desperate enough to start calling their agents.
Riskiest: Oliver Perez, John Maine and Mike Pelfrey
The riskiest option of all is for the Mets to go back with the exact same rotation they had in 2009 and pray that at least one of these guys can turn their career around. While there's no additional monetary risk in this option, the odds aren't worse here than the Lions making the playoffs next year.
Of all these options, I'd be more inclined to take a shot at Ben Sheets, but not at his current asking price which is about $12 million a season. That's just ridiculous, but Mr. Sheets may feel like negotiating as January turns to February and he's still unemployed. Sheets will only look for a year deal so there's no long term investment risk there as opposed to Piniero/Garland/Davis who are probably seeking multi-year deals.
I'd also be open to trying out Bronson Arroyo if the Mets can some how convince the Reds to take Luis Castillo or Oliver Perez off their hands, but that seems less likely as the off season wears on.
While standing pat may be the riskiest of all options, the last thing I want is for the Mets to sign a long term, overprice contract to a guy who's not a proven #2 starter. Just look at Oliver Perez if you don't know what I mean.