For Mets, It's Too Late For Figgy, But Not For Washburn

Frank GrayCorrespondent IApril 8, 2010

NEW YORK - JULY 01:  Jarrod Washburn #56 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the New York Yankees on July 1, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The New York Mets most recent starting pitching performance was in a word, disappointing. It came as a stunning blow after a dominant outing just two days before from staff ace Johan Santana. However, it has long been speculated that the team was in dire need of starting pitching over the offseason. They were more importantly in need of a starting pitcher to follow Santana in the rotation. The team needed that special one, two punch that so many playoff caliber teams have so effectively.

The off season came and went. So did the options. One by one. John Lackey. Gone to Boston and goes six scoreless against the rival Yankees in his debut. Joel Piniero. Gone to Anaheim, is set to make his debut on Thursday. Randy Wolf to Milwaukee. Where in his debut struck out eight and earned a win despite giving up four runs in six and two thirds of an inning.

Jason Marquis, who wanted to be on the Mets, also is gone. To the division rival Nationals. He made his debut Wednesday and was lit up for six runs in only four innings against the Phillies. An auspicious start, but he is a decent pitcher, and it is the Phillies lineup after all. The team decided that they could wait and hope.

Wait for the existing roster pitchers to recover from various injuries and hope they rebound back to form. If John Maine's first start is any indication of the rest of the staff, that plan has more holes than swiss cheese. Maine, against the Marlins in his season debut was torched for three home runs in five innings. This is the pitcher that just a few weeks ago said that he wasn't 'into it', when used as a middle innings pitcher and failed miserably at it.

The team saw multiple pitchers battle for the fifth starter role in the rotation. One of those who didn't win it was released just days ago. Nelson Figeuroa. He was just signed by the pitcher hungry and division rival Philadelphia Phillies.

Personally, I think the Mets must have seen that coming and therefore, should've kept him in the organization and traded him to a team outside of the division. If they felt they had no further need for him, they should not have allowed themselves to be put in a position where he could divulge team information to a rival team or hurt them in games against them.

He is now scorned and will be more than happy to ruin the Mets chances every chance he can get. This is a situation they caused by mismanaging a player. It's not the first time and it will not be the last, judging by this current administration's track record. I believe that the starting staff, as is, will be ineffective.

Outside of Johan Santana, they are not enough of a competitive foursome to make any noise in the division. All of the team's options are seemingly gone, but one. As far as I can see, there is one starting pitcher still on the market that is valuable and can make an immediate impact. Jarrod Washburn.

Here's a pitcher that throughout his career has averaged an era of 4.10 and also has an average of a 2 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio. He is not the most spectacular pitcher around, but he is reliable. That's what this staff needs. A reliable veteran. There is also Braden Looper available, but his previous stint with the club forbids me to really go into details of his capabilities. Although it was as a closer and he has found new success as a starter.

Washburn is easily the better of the two. He is a solid option that can be obtained, by simply out bidding a smaller market Seattle Mariners team that low ball offered him into desperation. Now with news of Cliff Lee going to the disabled list, I'm sure their offer will be reevaluated, so now is the time for the Mets to enter into the equation.

Simply by convincing him, the Mariners didn't want him until they were desperate, may be enough to cause him to consider a move to another time zone. They need to act just as desperately, because if John Maine and Oliver Perez are their answers to the rest of the division's rotations, the Mets will need more than health. They'll need a prayer.