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2009 Bill James Projections: Available Pitchers

The last two days we looked at The Bill James Handbook projections for Mets hitters and pitchers. That's fun and all, but one thing we've had to acknowledge is that any number of those players won't actually be on the Mets next season (I'm looking at you, Marlon Anderson!). So let's have a crack at some players who spent 2008 elsewhere but have varying degrees of likelihood of landing in Queens this offseason.

The Mets may have as many as three rotation spots to fill and as many as two three all of their bullpen spots that need plugging. There are a lot of options out there in both buckets, and the Mets will spend plenty of time this winter trying to make the staff over.

We'll do pitchers today, position players tomorrow. First the starters.

Pitcher Age G IP H HR BB SO BR/9 ERA
A.J. Burnett 32 33 224 199 21 88 218 12.0 3.62
Ryan Dempster 32 30 195 182 16 90 166 12.9 3.89
Jon Garland 29 30 186 203 22 57 93 12.8 4.38
Randy Johnson 45 28 170 153 21 41 178 10.7 3.40
Derek Lowe 36 32 206 205 17 56 132 11.6 3.60
Jake Peavy 28 32 202 173 19 65 202 10.9 3.26
C.C. Sabathia 28 34 240 226 21 70 205 11.4 3.48
Ben Sheets 30 29 186 178 19 41 159 10.7 3.39
Randy Wolf 32 32 195 198 25 70 161 12.8 4.29

Lots of interesting names on this list. I threw Jake Peavy up there just for kicks, even though there's next to zero chance the Mets will trade for him. Still, those numbers are purty, and they're *not* park-adjusted yet.

  • A.J. Burnett is a strikeout machine, but he's 32 and has a history of so-so control and arm trouble. He's a better pitcher than Oliver Perez, for sure, but he's also five years older and will probably make more money per year. The Mets could do worse, but if you're going to spend $16 million a year on Burnett, why not just spend $23 million (or whatever) on C.C. Sabathia?
  • Ryan Dempster was terrific for the Cubs this year, but should we judge him on 207 great innings of 2.96 ERA in 2008 or 1195 career innings of 4.64 ERA as a starter?
  • Jon Garland will only be 29 next year, but he has terrible strikeout marks and isn't even really a groundball pitcher. He has very good control, but is that enough?
  • Perhaps the most interesting name on this list is Randy Johnson, who had outstanding peripherals as a 44-year-old in 2008. We know he had problems in New York when he played with the Yankees, but on a one-year deal he would be a decent risk. I don't think it'll happen because I think the Mets would be gun-shy about his experience in the Bronx, but it would probably work out better than most people suspect.
  • The biggest problem with Derek Lowe -- and it's definitely a problem -- is his age. He's basically been awesome for the Dodgers these past four seasons. He is an extreme groundball pitcher, has good control and strikes out enough batters to keep 'em honest (whatever that means). Are you going to hand out $12 million a year for three years to a 36-year-old? It's a tough sell. I might go for a two-year deal with a team option, though I feel like someone will go to three.
  • Sabathia isn't as good as Peavy, but he's the same age and would cost only money and a first-round pick. He throws a ton of innings, which is both good and bad. He's going to cost Johan Santana money, and while it would be tough to pony up $50 million for two pitchers, imagine running those two out there for two games apiece in the LDS.
  • I'm a huge Ben Sheets fan: He strikes out a lot of batters, he walks very few. He's also had a laundry list of injuries and would be a colossal risk on any deal that wasn't year-to-year.
  • Randy Wolf is a BLAIM (Below League Average Innings Muncher). 200 innings of 4.30 ERA has plenty of value on the open market. Could the Mets do better? Sure. They could also do worse (see: Pedro Martinez circa 2008).

Now the relievers.

Pitcher Age G IP H HR BB SO BR/9 ERA
Kyle Farnsworth 33 53 54 50 8 23 58 12.3 4.15
Brian Fuentes 33 63 62 50 6 25 70 11.6 3.43
Trevor Hoffman 41 42 42 35 4 10 38 9.6 2.94
Brandon Lyon 29 54 55 61 5 15 35 12.6 4.16
Will Ohman 31 79 50 44 4 23 50 12.4 3.69
Arthur Rhodes 39 66 38 34 2 14 39 11.6 3.29
Juan Rincon 30 46 56 55 5 23 50 12.9 4.01
Francisco Rodriguez 27 73 66 47 5 30 85 10.6 2.90
Kerry Wood 32 62 66 53 7 28 74 11.7 3.51

There are more guys than those listed, but this is a pretty good sampling of what's out there. We've got young and old, righty and lefty, closers and middle relief.

  • Everybody hates Kyle Farnsworth, and though he isn't really closer material, he could certainly contribute to a quality bullpen if used appropriately.
  • Brian Fuentes is probably my top choice to close for the Mets next year. His platoon splits are fairly even, despite using a sidearm delivery from the left side that is commonly susceptible to right-handed batters. He'll be 33 next year, but three years of Fuentes seems preferable to six years of Francisco Rodriguez.
  • Trevor Hoffman probably won't ever leave San Diego, but he'd be a decent signing for a year if the Padres committed to rebuilding. He has great control and still strikes out a lot of batters even though his fastball tops out in the mid-to-high eighties.
  • I'm not really a huge Brandon Lyon fan. He's interesting, and has good control, but he's really a bridge guy. Could be useful in mid-to-late innings.
  • Will Ohman stunk for two years in Chicago before turning in a nice season with the Braves last year. The Mets could do worse in the middle innings.
  • Arthur Rhodes is like a hundred years old and he's not so hot against righties, but he dominates lefties like nobody's business. There's probably no room for him if the Mets still have Pedro Feliciano and Scott Schoeneweis, but none of that is set in stone.
  • Juan Rincon used to be a dominant setup man in Minnesota, but then he got busted for steroids and has been mostly terrible the past seasons.
  • Francisco Rodriguez is the prize of the free agent relief market, but I have a hard time dumping six years and $100 million on him. He's not quite as good as his saves record might indicate to someone who actually cares about that sort of thing. He's no better than the fourth-best closer in the AL; is that worth breaking the bank?
  • Kerry Wood is another interesting name. Would come far more cheaply than Rodriguez with comparable peripherals.

We'll do non-Mets batters tomorrow.