Brandon Webb: Can New York Mets Afford To Roll Dice on Former D-backs Pitcher?

Nick Carlo@@carlo2612Analyst IIDecember 21, 2010

PHOENIX - APRIL 06:  Starting pitcher Brandon Webb #17 of the Arizona Diamondbacks throws the first pitch of the MLB openning day game against the Colorado Rockies at Chase Field on April 6, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Big name free agents are flying off the market at a rapid pace.  Almost every big name free agent has agreed to terms with a team.

The free agent class of 2010 was very top heavy.  It lacked depth, especially in the pitchers market.  After Cliff Lee signed with Philadelphia, that made Carl Pavano the new top free agent pitcher.

Pavano has recently had a couple of solid seasons, but I don't think that he is anywhere near worth the money he is asking for.  I could talk a lot about Pavano, but the team that we are focusing on has no interest in him.

The New York Mets are in desperate need of another starting pitcher.  With Johan Santana injured and Hisanori Takahashi gone, there are some holes in the Mets rotation.

As of now the Mets rotation looks like this.

1. Mike Pelfrey

2. R.A. Dickey

3. Jon Niese

4. Dillon Gee


That leaves one spot for the Mets to fill.  Some of the names that have been mentioned are Jeff Francis, Chris Young, Freddy Garcia and Brandon Webb.  The team is probably looking at other pitchers too, but these are currently the main candidates for the job.

The sexiest name on this list is most likely Brandon Webb.  Two years ago, most people foresaw Webb as being one of the premier pitchers in the 2010 free agent market.  It didn't work out like that.  Webb's career has been in a landslide the last couple of years.

Injuries have riddled his past two seasons and that leaves him where he is now: a gamble for teams to take.  Webb is an amazing talent and there's no denying that. 

In 2008, Webb went 22-7 with a 3.30 ERA.  He placed second in the Cy Young voting and made the NL All-Star team.  Webb was looking at getting big bucks this offseason, but things took a turn for the worst.

After that stellar season, the injury bug hit him.  Webb started one game all of 2009, and didn't even make an appearance in 2010.

That brings us to where we are now.  Many teams are looking at Webb.  He can turn out to be a great signing for a team that can get him at a discount price, but he can also turn out to be a horrible signing for a team that has little money to spend. 

The Mets are one team that have very little money to spend.  It is estimated that they have about $5 million to spend for the rest of the offseason.  That is just enough for the Mets to sign another pitcher to round out their rotation.

The question is who will the Mets sign, and will they have enough money to sign some pitchers? The Mets will try their best to work out discount deals with the four previously mentioned players, but it will be hard to make Webb lower his asking price. 

There are many options for the Mets right now, and their front office is currently weighing those options.  One of the biggest questions is if the Mets will make a serious run at Webb, and if they will be able to sign him or not.

If Webb and the Mets work together, then they might be able to work out an incentive-laden contract with a base salary around $4.5 million or $5 million.  Many things would have to go right for that to happen, but let's play what if. 

What if the Mets can get Webb for that kind of contract? Should they take a chance with him or pass up the opportunity? 

I think that every team in the MLB would love to have Brandon Webb on their team.  Talent like his just doesn't fly away over night.  But there is plenty of downside to this for the Mets.  Maybe not so much for other teams, but the Mets have to be extremely cautious with Webb.

If the Mets sign him and he doesn't perform well or gets injured, then it will be a very bad situation for the organization.  The Mets pretty much get one chance to sign a pitcher this offseason, and they have to get it right.

They have little money to spend, and they can't afford to screw up.  Brandon Webb is a talented player, but I think that he is too big a gamble for the Mets to take.  With that said, if the Mets do sign him I certainly won't be disappointed, because I trust Sandy Alderson's judgement on players. 

But with the knowledge that I currently have on this situation, I would say to stay away from Webb.  He is a talented player, but the Mets are in no position to be taking gambles.  The team has to play it safe for now. Too bad the Mets have to be in this position.

I would've loved it if the Mets had the money to take a chance on Webb, but we all know that this is just the way things are going for the Mets.  Have confidence in Sandy Alderson though. He will make the right move after this is all said and done.