Of all the off-season moves the Mets made, the one with the biggest upside is the addition of Freddy Garcia as a potential 5th starter.
It's also one of the moves that fans, the media, players and management love--the lightning in a bottle move.
Why I like it is because there is absolutely no risk, but a ton of reward.
According to this piece in the Daily News:
So far as anyone can tell, the shoulder is healthy--that is checkmark number one.
Garcia had an MRI exam on his shoulder in Venezuela after experiencing the winter-ball inflammation, which revealed no damage. Another MRI given by the Mets last week also showed him to have a clean bill of health.
"We played catch today with no problem," Santana said. "When we talked, we said if he stays healthy he's going to have a pretty good chance. He's done it in the past. He's a great competitor. He's a guy who will take the ball any time. He has that kind of mentality. Regardless of the situation, the team he's facing or anything, he's always that guy who wants the ball. That's what you need."
The next question is, "can he still win in the big leagues?"
We're not suggesting that he can return to the form that allowed him to put up eight 200+ inning
seasons in his first nine years.
But he did fare well in his return to the big leagues last September after a long absence:
|2008 Season Stats|
Moreover, he held the powerful Texas Ranger lineup scoreless over 5 innings in his first game back:
|Game Log September 29, 2008|
|Sep 29||@CWS||L 8-2||5.0||2||2||2||0||3||3||7||7||70||20||55||-||-||4.20|
|Sep 23||KC||L 5-0||5.0||7||5||5||3||2||6||6||8||77||23||37||L(1-1)||-||4.50|
|Sep 17||@TEX||W 17-4||5.0||2||1||0||0||1||3||5||9||59||18||63||W(1-0)||-||0.00|
|Monthly Totals||15.0||11||8||7||3||6||12||18||24||206||61||--||1-1||0 sv||4.20|
All good signs as we move forward.
The early chatter in St Lucie points to a wonderful battle for the 5th starter this Spring. And, unlike last year, we seem to have three solid options in Garcia, Tim Redding and Jon Niese.
Moreover, as all baseball fans know, a team needs a minimum of 6 major league quality starters to break with the team out of camp.
Don't believe me? Consider this:
11 different players made starts for the Mets in 2008....eleven!
How good will 2009 be if we can cut that down to 6 or 7 guys making all 162 starts?
The answer? Very good...very good indeed.
Here's a video of the arrival of Steady Freddy: