The community has spoken! By a 12% margin, the community has chose to start Angel Pagan in right, and has traded Jeff Francoeur, who was able to net us two solid prospects from the Royals organization. Jeff, we wish you luck. Also with a decent chunk of the vote was B.J. Upton, who received 15% of the vote to Francoeur's 27% and Pagan's 39. Our team budget has actually increased to a healthy $18.4 million, and another big issue has come up!
You know the rules guys, you MUST stay within (or slightly above I guess) the budget, and you might want to make sure we fill every position as well! Now let's get down to business. Now due to the fact that we have 5 rotation spots, there will be a lot of options, so it is possible that your favorite rotation will not be up there. If this is the case, please vote for "Other" and elaborate YOUR plan for the rotation. If the "Other " column is filled significantly, I'll restructure the poll, although I think I have a decent grasp at what the community wants.
It seems quite apparent that Oliver Perez and Johan Santana are going to be Mets for this year at least. Perez has an untradable contract and Santana is here to stay, and his recent elbow trouble may mean he is untradable as well (unless of course you want to trade either of them and eat their salary, althought it'll still be tough to find a taker). The rest is really up for grabs. Fighting for spots in the rotation are John Maine, Jon Niese and Mike Pelfrey mainly, and a darkhorse is Bradley Holt. Although there are 5 legitimate competitiors, some Mets fans think that they are not enough, and we need some new blood in the system.
The options for the rotation are certainly intriguing this year. Some guys outside of the organization include:
Roy Halladay. Roy has been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball over the past 5 years. He has a fail-safe repertoire and brilliant stamina to stay in the game. He's a top notch talent, with the numbers to back him up. In 2009, his FIP was 3.06 and his tRA was 3.71. In 2008, his FIP was 3.03 and his FIP 3.61. He is awesome. From 2005 to this year, Halladay has racked up a 30.4 WAR, 14.7 of that in the past 2 years. In layman's terms, he's absolutely brilliant. Halladay is quite the pricy pitcher though, as he is not a free agent. The Red Sox needed to offer 5 of their top 10 prospects and their deal was still rejected. 2010 is his last year under contract and he'll earn $15.75 million for that year. After that, he's making Arab money. We're talking $25 million a year over 7 years here my friend, and if I were him I'd settle for nothing less. In terms of trade cost, it'll likely cost Fernando Martinez, Jenrry Mejia, Brad Holt AND Jon Niese, especially knowing what the BoSox offered. He'll be 33 years old in 2010. But, the guy is good, and we all know it. So, are you willing to pay the price?
John Lackey. John Lackey certainly is less of an investment than Halladay, but that's because he's not as good of a pitcher. At his worst, Lackey is Mike Pelfrey. 2008 was by far his worst season since 2003, in which he had a 4.53 FIP, 5.32 tRA and 2.0 WAR. This certainly isn't bad, but one may ask, what's his upside? His upside at this point is something like what Johan Santana did for us in 2009, only better. Lackey posted a 3.73 FIP in 09 which was slightly better than Santana's 3.79, however his tRA of 4.47 was worse than Johan's 3.79 (no, not a typo). Where Lackey REALLY beat Johan was in the WAR department. Johan's 2.8 WAR was significantly less than Lackey's 3.9, partially because Johan was out 20 innings or so longer. Lackey has pretty much recovered from his injury (he's back at his career averages in just about everything, in fact his fastball is a tick higher), but it hurt his value significantly. Instead of seeking a deal similar to CC Sabathia's, he's now looking for something closer to A.J. Burnett. In a full season with the Mets, Lackey should be as good as Santana has been if not better (Although not quite Roy Halladay). So, are you willing to give Lackey a 5 year, $80-90 million deal?
Aaron Harang. Over 2009 there's been a lot of talk of the Reds looking to rid themselves of Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo, as they are looking to cut budget and rely on younger and cheaper pitchers such as Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, Micah Owings and Kip Wells. The Reds probably aren't too enthusiastic about the fact that their ace's ERA hasn't dipped below 4 since 2007. However, I'd welcome Harang with open arms. He's a good strikeout pitcher who allows a lot of fly balls. And where's the perfect place for pitchers like him? Citifield. The balls that were once homers will now be caught in right on the track by Angel Pagan. Matt Holliday will have no trouble calling off Beltran 20 feet in front of the wall for what was once a homer in the Great American Ballpark. Considering he'd be a bit of a salary dump, I'm assuming trading for the Harangutan would be quite easy, as he should only cost a few lower-level prospects. He has 1 year of commitment left on his contract worth $12.5 million, and has a club option for $12.75 million for 2010. It's hard to say no to. In 2009, Harang posted an FIP of 4.14. Very solid. It should go down even more in Shea...er, Chitifield.
Joel Pineiro. Pineiro presents another interesting option. He's coming off of a fantastic year, the first decent one he's had since 2005. Pineiro will be only 31 in 2010, so he may be looking for 3 years at $30 million, especially coming after his briliant 2009 where his BB/9 was just 1.14, and his FIP was 3.27. Pineiro's year may have been a legitimate breakthrough. He's been using his fastball WAYYY more than usual and it appears to have gotten him significantly more ground balls. What I like about Pineiro is his low walk percentage which is always a plus, and that he gained success with a .293 BABIP. What I don't like about Pineiro is his ridiculously low K rate, high home run tendencies, and decreasing fastball velocity (2009 was the lowest it's ever been at 89 MPH). If Pineiro's new approach (or move to the NL) was the reason for his success, he should be a welcome guest at Citifield. If not, he could be an Ollie-sized mistake.
Rich Harden. Harden is an oft-injured pitcher who probably considers himself successful for pitching 150 innings, but there are benefits to signing him. Harden has never signed anything past his arbitration contract, so the market for him should be interesting. No team will be willing to give him a huge contract as he hasn't pitched 150 innings since 2004, but it's hard to simply ignore his talent. He should be able to get two years out of a team, and maybe $8 million or so per year. At this value, he could be a very nice grab from the market. In years where he's pitcher over 120 innings, he's actually brought significant value to his team: (2004: 4.5 WAR, 2005: 3.9 WAR, 2008: 4.4 WAR, 2009: 1.8 WAR). He's also a ridiculous strikeout pitcher. Of course, with his injury risk, the Mets should have a good backup plan in mind if they sign him.
Jon Garland. It's pretty easy to summarize Garland: Mediocre, but healthy and consistant. If for some reason the Dodgers decline his option (doubtful), he'll likely look for a 2 or 3 year deal at $8 million per.
Justin Duchsherer. Fantastic in 2008, injuries ended him early, clinical depression had him out 2009. He is healthy, but he may not have the Empire State of Mind.
Erik Bedard. Bedard is also a pitcher who's had his bouts with injuries over the past couple of years, but his name isn't quite synonymous with the word yet. However, there's a lot going against Bedard right now. His torn labrum means that his return will be mid- to late- 2010, and the surgery is going to be a big one. Bedard isn't much of a solution that will go into effect Opening Day and he may not even make much impact in 2010, but he could be a buy-low contract worth nothing. Bedard is two years older than Harden, and has at least gotten 80 innings out of the years he's been injured for long periods of time. A one year, $3 million deal may be enough to land the lefty, but a 2 year deal worth $3 million the first year and $5 million the second would be enough to land the lefty automatically. His numbers are actually a bit better than Harden's, but both are rather unique cases. He doesn't seem to want to pitch in New York.
Randy Wolf. Sorry guys for forgetting him originally, but I'm adding him in before a lot of people get to voting. Wolf has had strong showings in the past 2 years despite bouncing around more than a super ball. The Padres took a chance on the lefty with a large injury history, even though he hadn't pitched for more than 20 starts in the three previous seasons before (although his numbers with the Dodgers in 2007 were promising). Wolf split the year between San Diego and Houston and finished posting a more than solid 4.17 FIP with a quite good 4.27 tRA, and also managed to get in 190 IP. The Mets passed over him to get Perez in the offseason, and look what's happened? Perez is wobbly and Wolf pitches 214 innings with a 3.96 FIP and 4.93 tRA. Miles above Perez. I don't know what kind fo contract he'll be looking for, as over the past 4 years he's been bouncing from Philly to LA to SD to Houston and back to LA. I'm sure he'd take the first 3 year contract he sees, but realistically a 2 year, $16-20 million contract is to be expected. He's a curveballer who, in terms of injuries, is all or nothing, which is the nature of the curveball. If healthy he should be a durable, great #2/3 starter. If he gets injured, he'll likely be on the 60 day DL.
Doug Davis. Davis has a reputation to be a solid, durable pitcher. He's had the fortune of a relatively stable career and would probably like to keep it that way. At 34 years old going into 2010 he probably could get a 2 year deal worth $14-15 million with a third year club option. Davis is a VERY hittable pitcher so a strong defense is necessary before acquiring him. Numbers-wise, he's had 9 years of being a regular in the rotation, and has exceeded 180 IP 6 times. Expecting a 4.40 FIP from him is reasonable, but also a high tRA (6.24 this year). I'd be wary of him, as I projected a significant drop in value for this year. His WAR has been on a steady decline since 2004.
NOTE: If you believe that another in-organization pitcher should be a member of the Opening Day rotation in the spot of any newly acquired player, please put other. If you wish to do so with a player that we already have, like, say, if you want Santana, Lackey, Mejia, Maine, Perez, simply vote for Santana, Lackey, Pelfrey, Maine/Niese, Perez and then specify that you want Mejia as part of the rotation in the comments section below.
Also, there will be a Maine/Niese runoff after this for the 4th spot in the rotation.