After trading R.A. Dickey, the Mets seem to be scouring the market for a viable replacement, mainly looking through what some might call "#3s" or "Back end starters" to put the finishing touches on what one can generously call an interesting rotation.
Shaun Marcum, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang, Chris Young and Carl Pavano all seem to be targets for the Mets to fill the spot once held by a Cy Young winner. None of these options seem particularly terrible, and while some are clearly better than others, getting any one of these guys at a bargain price would be a good signing/trade.
Still, though, I believe that the Mets can do better, and by better, I mean Jake Arrieta. The Mets have yet to be linked to Arrieta, but if we have learned anything from Alderson & Co. that really doesn't seem to make much of a difference. The Orioles, who will begin next season with Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Jason Hammel and Miguel Gonzalez certainly in the rotation, and are courting mid-2012 acquisiton Joe Saunders to round out the end of their rotation. If they sign Saunders, they will have a set 5-man rotation, 6 bullpen slots already filled, and Brian Matusz, Steve Johnson, Jake Arrieta, and Zach Britton all fighting to remain relevant with Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman likely on the fast track to the bigs. Matusz had success in limited time in the bullpen toward the end of last season for the Orioles, and would be the second lefty to accompany Troy Patton, so I'd imagine he would be the likely one to fill out the last bullpen spot. With Britton and Johnson likely to start in AAA and Tommy Hunter in the bigs in a swing-man role, Arrieta and his 6+ ERA in 2012 may have become a bit superfluous to the Orioles pitching staff, despite posting a 4.05 FIP and 3.65 xFIP in over 100 innings last season. Toward the end of the year the Orioles tried him in a bullpen role, but it showed no significant progress.
So why should the Mets take him on? For one, as I mentioned above, his peripherals indicate that Arrieta was probably very unlucky in his poor season with the Orioles, who aren't known for being very friendly towards pitchers with their defense or park. As one delves deeper into the numbers, it actually becomes quite apparent that a change of scenery to Citifeld may be just what he needs. To scratch the surface, Arrieta's home ERA in the notoriously hitter-friendly Camden Yards was 7.12 last year, compared to a much less abysmal 5.17 road ERA. The difference is even more apparent in his peripherals, which show a 1.78 HR/9 at home, vs. a 0.67 mark at home. This is the cause of his 5.04 FIP at home, while he boasts a strong 2.95 FIP on the road (3.94 and 3.32 xFIPs, respectively).
Also, Arrieta's stuff can be just filthy. Last year his average fastball velocity was 93.4 MPH, and he has been lauded for getting some solid sink on the pitch. His walk rate last year was a very respectable 2.75 BB/9, indicating a welcome improvement in control over past seasons, and his K/9 was a robust 8.56. Arrieta also boasts a nasty power-curve that can definitely be a plus secondary as he hones its command, and a promising hard slider that can act as a sort of cutter. His changeup is a bit of a throwaway, but it definitely exists.
A mini-highlight video of his stuff: http://baltimore.orioles.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=25065017&c_id=mlb
In addition to the goodness I think Arrieta has, he isn't arbitration eligible until after next year. So he's going to cost us like $500,000 this year, opening us up to signing Scott Hairston, and maybe even Ronny Cedeño and some relief help as well.
Who would we trade? The Orioles have a logjam of shitty second baseman, and perhaps we could entice them with Jordany Valdespin. He has 20 HR power in Camden and 20 SB ability, he's a contact hitter, and he is not by any means a bad second baseman, and he can get some good playing time out in Baltimore. I think that's a pretty fair deal for both sides.