Pitching In: Who's Left for the Mets?

Jason LempertCorrespondent IJanuary 21, 2010

MILWAUKEE - JULY 29: Starting pitcher Ben Sheets #15 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers the ball against the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park July 29, 2008 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It's safe to say the New York Mets are hoping to have better success in the 2010 regular season than they are having in the offseason. They have more losses than wins this winter, and to many Mets fan, the frustration may be just beginning.

Jason Marquis (Nationals), Roy Halladay (Phillies), John Lackey (Red Sox), Kevin Millwood (Orioles), Joel Pineiro (Angels), and Vincente Padilla (Dodgers) are the pitchers that the Mets have had at least kicked the tires about this winter, but struck out when it mattered most.

So, if the season began today, the Mets would still have the same starting five as they had in 2009: Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, and then some combination of Oliver Perez, Jon Niese, Fernando Nieve—oh, and let's not forget newcomer R.A. Dickey!

But there may still be hope. Although the big names are dropping off the boards faster than frozen iguanas dropped from the trees in South Florida a few weeks ago, some decent arms still linger about.

Jon Garland and Ben Sheets are the two most talked about pitchers right now. Sheets would of course be a risky sign for any team, being that he appeared in zero games in 2009. 

But the upside is certainly there.

He'll be 32 in July, and should come relatively cheap (one-year, $2 million contract perhaps?). Everyone knows what this guy is capable of when healthy. The question is, is he capable of staying healthy?

Garland could also be a nice fit in Queens. He doesn't put up great numbers, but he puts up good numbers. He won't strike out 200 batters, but somehow he manages to get double-digit wins every season. But the Mets were shopping for a No. 2 starter to go behind Santana, and at this point in their careers, neither Garland nor Sheets fit that bill.

Another option, which has not been quite as discussed, is lefty Erik Bedard. He provides another injury risk, but the reward could be worth it. He turns 31 in March, and if he could return to his 2007 form (13-5, 3.16, 221), he could end up being a real steal. 

And then, there's Pedro. He certainly is not a No. 2 starter at this point in his career, but he was nothing short of spectacular down the stretch in 2009 with the Phillies. He enjoyed his time with the Mets from 2005-2008 and could help solidify the back end of the rotation.

Chien-Ming Wang could be another alternative, though a left shoulder injury will likely keep him sidelined until May. Some other potential options (and perhaps risks) include: John Smoltz, Jose Contreras, Jarrod Washburn, Rich Hill, or former Met Braden Looper.

The bottom line is the Mets need to make a move and fast.

Omar Minaya will not make many friends if he doesn't strike while the stove is still hot–and it is rapidly cooling. It is extremely difficult for Mets fans to watch the Phillies, Braves, and even the Nationals improve themselves to the point where they are better favored than the boys from Flushing.

Meanwhile, the Mets are sitting back and watching all of their targeted players go put on other uniforms, having press conferences in other cities.

Time is running out, and if the Mets are content to have Pelfrey as their No. 2 starter and Omir Santos as their primary catcher, 2010 may be another tough year to be a Mets fan.