As the days of this most curious winter dwindle down, and we approach the wonder that is pitchers and catchers, the Mets carefully piece together a starting pitching staff. And they are doing it on a wing and a prayer.
Perhaps they will wave a chicken bone cross across the once magic arm of Freddy Garcia, who is attempting to come back from a torn labrum. This is the same Garcia who was among the top starters in the American League from 1999 through 2006. In that eight-year span, he ranked first in the A.L. in innings pitched, with 1,643 2/3, and second to Mike Mussina in victories, with 116.
John Maine, a man most Mets fans pencil in as the #3 starter, is also coming back from injury. He will get a garlic necklace and a Shaman. Maine, who expected to win 15+ games last year and continue developing into one of the National League’s better starters, had what he called a disappointing season. A bone spur in his right shoulder knocked him out when the Mets needed him most.
Then there's Tim Redding. Redding gets a witch doctor, a set of new bandages, a GPS navigation system, and a daily dose of my grandmother's chicken soup.
Jan 12, 2009: Signed as a free agent by the New York Mets to a one-year contract.Now while the upside of Garcia is certainly there, and Redding did throw the most big league innings of his career in 2008, we still wonder when the Mets will add some stability to this rotation.
Dec 12, 2008: Washington Nationals declined to tender a contract.
Jan 17, 2008: Re-signed by the Washington Nationals to a one-year contract.
Sep 17, 2007: Missed 9 games (elbow injury).
Sep 6, 2007: Elbow injury, day-to-day.
Jul 2, 2007: Contract purchased from Columbus (AAA).
Mar 26, 2007: Assigned to minor league camp by the Washington Nationals.
Mar 25, 2007: Outrighted to Columbus (AAA).
Feb 6, 2007: Re-signed by the Washington Nationals to a one-year contract.
Nov 6, 2006: Signed as a free agent by the Washington Nationals to a one-year contract.
Nov 1, 2006: Opted for minor league free agency.
Mar 27, 2006: Assigned to minor league camp.
Dec 23, 2005: Signed by the Chicago White Sox to a minor league contract.
Jul 16, 2005: Designated for assignment.
Jul 14, 2005: Contract purchased from Columbus (AAA).
Jul 2, 2005: Acquired from the San Diego Padres.
Jun 22, 2005: Missed 39 games (strained right shoulder).
May 9, 2005: Strained right shoulder, 15-day DL.
Mar 28, 2005: Acquired from the Houston Astros.
Feb 7, 2005: Re-signed by the Houston Astros to a one-year contract.
Oct 5, 2004: Did not make the playoff roster.
Sep 6, 2004: Recalled from New Orleans (AAA).
Aug 11, 2004: Optioned to New Orleans (AAA).
Feb 27, 2004: Re-signed by the Houston Astros to a one-year contract.
Jun 8, 2003: Missed 4 games (shoulder injury).
Jun 4, 2003: Shoulder injury, day-to-day.
Jul 25, 2002: Optioned to New Orleans (AAA).
Jul 21, 2002: Missed 1 game (right knee injury).
Jul 20, 2002: Right knee injury, day-to-day.
They now must sign Oliver Perez...there is no other way around it.
At this point Ben Sheets, with his arm worries, seems less likely of a target, but he will certainly fit in with this group.
The Mets training staff commented on the current pitching staff with one simple statement: "Holy Crap!"