After they patched a couple of gaping holes in their bullpen, the Mets turned their attention to the starting rotation and smart money had them targeting either Derek Lowe or incumbent Oliver Perez. At the time, both players were likely to sign deals in the $13-$17 million annual range, and factions had formed touting the merits of one versus the other. Lowe is the consistent groundball machine, and Perez the shaky kid with great stuff. Lowe has age and experience, Perez has youth and potential.
With the pool of potential suitors drying up and no team aside from the Yankees willing to commit big to anyone, the Mets may actually be in a position to sign Lowe and Perez. Perez and Pedro Martinez cost a combined $18 million in 2008, so why not go to $25 or $28 million to bring Perez back and replace Pedro with Lowe? Give Lowe three years and $45 million, Perez three (or even four) years and $39 million (or $52 million), and call it a day with the following rotation:
That group would be among the best in baseball, evenly balanced from left to right as well as groundball to flyball. It would be a young rotation with the exception of Lowe, and given health would stay intact for the next three years. In addition to the obvious on-field benefits of this pitching coup, signing both Lowe and Perez would do two other things.
- While not quite going toe-to-toe with the Yankees, the Mets would show a willingness to spend when necessary as they move into their pricey new stadium and look to finally overcome the Phillies for NL East supremacy.
- Perhaps as importantly, Fred Wilpon would quiet his critics who say that the $300 million his family lost in Madoff's Ponzi scheme must have some impact on the Mets' financial flexibility. Wilpon has claimed that they are entirely distinct entities, but money speaks louder than words and even a modest over-indulgence in the free agent market would go a long way towards quieting the collective fears over the Mets' fiscal viability.
The market has turned in the Mets' favor, and Omar Minaya should pounce on this.