New York Mets' Fifth Starter: Who Will It Be?
So far this off-season the Mets have been somewhat quiet only bringing in Boof Bonser, Ronny Paulino and D.J. Carrasco. Bonser can be a solid spot-starter for the Mets while Paulino will be a nice addition to have behind the plate to backup Josh Thole. Carrasco is who I feel to be the Mets' best pickup so far. Carrasco will be a great addition to a bullpen that has lost the likes of Pedro Feliciano.
The problem with the Mets this off-season is that they have not yet filled a role that is vital, the fifth spot in the rotation. Sandy Alderson has said the he does not expect the Mets to make any moves until the new year but this spot is something that needs to be filled quickly. Yesterday, the Mets lost their shot at getting Brandon Webb who signed with the Rangers. This just goes to show a fifth starter must be chosen soon.
There are several candidates that could fill this role for the Mets, may it be Chris Young, other free agents, or some guys who are already on the team.
Candidate No. 1: Pat Misch
Misch most likely does not have a great shot at getting the job but when the Mets called on him last year he was somewhat of a reliable pitcher. Misch did not have any wins for the Mets last season but he had a solid ERA of 3.82 in twelve games for the Mets.
He will most likely start out the season in Triple-A like last season and then will be called up sporadically like the Mets did last year. Misch could also take the role Hisanori Takahashi took last year, being a reliever but also a formidable starter when called upon.
Candidate No. 2: Ben Sheets
Ben Sheets, is a player that not many people have been talking about the Mets picking up. Though, Sheets did not pitch to well last season and got hurt he could be a nice addition to the team at a cheap price. Sheets has suffered injuries throughout his career so the Mets may want to stay away from the guy but when healthy he was pitched well, other than this year.
The Mets could sign Sheets to a one-year, minor-league deal with an invite to Spring Training and if he does well in the spring give him the fifth spot in the rotation. The chances the Mets do go after Sheets are most likely very slim though. A couple seasons ago, the Mets did express interest in Sheets.
Candidate No. 3: Dillon Gee
Gee made his MLB debut last season for the Mets pitching in five starts, going 2-2 with a 2.18 ERA. For a Mets fan and pretty much a fan of team, that type of play is a sign of the future.
The Mets may want to stay away from Gee as the fifth starter due to inexperience. The Mets most likely will want to stick to a guy with some time in the bigs compared to a guy like Gee but no doubt Gee will get some playing times in the bigs this year, even if he's not the fifth starter.
Candidate No. 4: Chris Young
Chris Young and the next candidate are probably the best choices that Alderson and the Mets have. Young has spent time with the Padres and Rangers even making an All-Star game in 2007. Young has suffered injuries throughout his career just as Sheets has. These injuries caused Young to only pitch in three games last season.
When healthy, Young has pitched well but in seven MLB season he has only pitched in 135 games. 135 games is not a lot for a guy who has played in seven MLB seasons and is thirty-one years old. Though he has suffered injury problems, Young, is my personal favorite to be the fifth starter though most hope it will be the next candidate. Young could be a great pick-up for the Mets and if healthy could show his stuff like he did in San Diego.
Candidate No. 5: Jeff Francis
Francis just like Sheets and Young has also suffered from injury problems. Francis missed all of the 2009 season and missed the beginning of last season. Prior to becoming a free agent, Francis had spent his whole career up in Colorado with the Rockies. Francis' best season in Colorado came in 2007 where he went 17-9 with a 4.22 ERA, he finished ninth in NL Cy Young voting.
Francis like Young has been a good pitcher when healthy and could fill the fifth spot in the rotation for the Mets quite well. It's up to Alderson to make the decision, hopefully he makes the right one and does it very soon.