NY Sports Dog: Minaya: We are Still Focused on Pitching

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Minaya: We are Still Focused on Pitching

As things heat up in the chase for Derek Lowe and Ollie Perez, Omar Minaya remains perhaps the busiest GM in baseball. This is his passion--he's a dealmaker, dealing with dealmakers.

Yesterday he spoke about Pedro Martinez and gave something of a "truthful non-answer" as reported in the NY Post.

"Pedro is one of the guys who is still under consideration, but right now, the way it is, we're dealing with some other guys," Minaya said. "Is he an option? He's in a pool, but that's where he falls right now.

"We're in a position, that with the guys that are out there, the guys we are looking at, if we add one of those guys on the list, we feel real good going into the year."

The always excellent Jon Heyman is reporting that "Lowe to the Braves has reached the 'serious discussion' phase."

How serious? 4 years and $60M. If true, that obviously takes the Mets out of the hunt. While disappointing for 2009, this could actually be in the Mets favor in 2010.

So now all eyes in Met Nation turn to Ollie Perez, Omar's #1 choice to begin with. His prime is now and, in my opinion, he actually seems like less of a risk than Lowe. At age 36, Lowe comes with a few warnings, not many, but a few. The majority of pitchers tend to decline quickly after age 36, and despite an outstanding 2008, Lowe is in the danger zone for a starting pitcher. He may have a $15M 2009, followed by a $10M 2010, $5M 2011, etc.

For example, Greg Maddux ERA at 36--2.62. In the following 4 years--3.96, 4.02, 4.24, 4.20.

Now many pitchers are excellent in those mid-to late 30s years, but there is a risk, and the Mets aren't willing to make it a $60M risk.

So who do I like of the remaining free agent starting pitchers?

1. Oliver Perez, SP: Very high on Ollie. Strikeout pitcher, hitting his prime, aces against the Phils lefty lineup, and wants the ball in tough spots. He's young, he's lefty, and he's nasty. He is now the Mets priority #1.
2. Derek Lowe, SP: Innings eater who throws ground balls. Seems like the perfect fit for this team, at this time. He's older, but has a great motion and body type for longevity. Seems likely to be a Brave.
3. Jon Garland, SP: Guaranteed to start 32+ games and throw 200 innings. Battler, pitches to contact, but gets the job done. Would slot well to the #4 in this rotation, or #5 behind Ollie, which would allow Tim Redding to claim his spot as our long man/6th starter.
4. Ben Sheets, SP: Has great stuff, but the injury worry is there. Surprising lack of interest in this excellent pitcher. Someone is going to get a relative bargain. GMs must have the goods on his injury situation, and it's probably ugly. Remember, Sheets had the 5th best ERA in the NL in 2008, and now no one wants him?
5. Randy Wolf, SP: I'm not a fan. Had a very nice 2008, but before that had four consecutive years of 18 starts or less.
6. Braden Looper, SP: Very intrigued by Looper. Threw 199 innings last year with a solid 4.16 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. Not exactly a spring chicken at 34, but he would be a good 2-year signing. Past history with the team likely a factor in lack of interest.
7. Pedro Martinez, SP: Call me sentimental, call me crazy, call me an idiot--I want Pedro back for Spring Training fighting for a spot. My worry? We've heard a lot about his great frame of mind, his stamina, etc, but what we haven't heard is what is his fastball topping out at? It's probably not good, or we would know about it.
So that's where we stand. A lot of small shifts in the landscape, a few things settling down and moving toward deal territory, and a lot of speculation.

The best part? It will get even crazier as we march toward pitchers and catchers....there are so many guys out there still, and the real feeding frenzy hasn't even begun.
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1 comment:

Mr Met said...

I don't think Lowe ever wanted to be a Met, so let the Braves overpay for the guy.

I like Garland too, and if we could add him and Ollie for about $18M a year total, we will be in very good shape.

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