The New York Mets Must Win the Ben Sheets Sweepstakes

Jesse MotiffSenior Analyst IJanuary 21, 2010

NEW YORK - JULY 15:  National League All-Star starting pitcher Ben Sheets #15 of Milwaukee Brewers looks on during the 79th MLB All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium on July 15, 2008 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

With the exception of signing Jason Bay, this has been a rough offseason for the New York Mets.

Carlos Beltran will miss spring training and the beginning of the season. Bengie Molina, Jason Marquis, and Joel Pinerio all spurned the Mets for other teams, leaving holes behind the plate and in the rotation.

Orlando Hudson would be a perfect fit for the team, but the Mets can't find a trade partner to take Luis Castillo off their hands.

All of this is coming off a season that saw what seemed like the entire roster spend time on the disabled list. Adding Bay to the line-up will surely help the offense, but they still need an arm in the rotation to team with Johan Santana.

Ben Sheets is available and should immediately become the team's top priority.

Sheets threw 55 pitches on Tuesday for scouts from almost every team in the league. His fastball topped out in the low 90's and his curveball showed the movement that allowed him to become a dominant strikeout pitcher for the Brewers.

Reportedly, Sheets is looking for a one-year deal with a player option for a second year. He'd like to make $12 million in 2010, but that number seems a bit unrealistic given the current deals pitchers have been getting and the fact that Sheets missed all of 2009 with a torn flexor tendon.

Sheets compiled a record of 86-83 with a 3.72 ERA in eight seasons with the Brewers. The four-time All-Star has only pitched for a winning team twice in his career.

The Cubs, Dodgers, and Cardinals have all been rumored to be strong suitors for Sheets as well. All three teams could definitely use him, but all face their own questions financially. The Mets can make the deal work financially and are as desperate as any other team to acquire a top-of-the-rotation arm.

Adding Sheets with Santana would give the Mets arguably the best one-two punch in the National League. If Oliver Perez can regain his old form and John Maine stays healthy, the Mets would suddenly have a deep rotation that could compete with any team in the league.

The NL East will be very difficult to win for the Mets in 2010. Even though the Phillies lost the World Series, they are coming back with a stronger squad this season. The Braves and Marlins have also taken steps to improve clubs that were already solid, and the Washington Nationals no longer look like a pushover.

Given his likely salary demands, Sheets is a high-risk, high reward proposition for a team that was decimated by injuries just a season ago. The Mets are in a position to take a gamble, and there no pitchers available that can provide the chance at winning the jackpot like Ben Sheets.

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