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Assorted Mets Rumors in the Dwindling Market

The Mets have gained "momentum"  toward an deal with John Smoltz, which would undoubtedly be their best deal of the offseason with Smoltz's supposed demand of $4 million guaranteed. Both the Mets and the Cardinals, his other chief suitor, have a opening in the rotation, but the Mets have the #2 spot open for him, while he would probably be the #4 on the Cardinals. Each team offers job security, but the Mets offer that unique brand of "start until your arm falls off" security. 

Last season, Smoltz obviously pitched much better than his ERA indicates, but some concerns linger about his getting knocked around  in Boston. His fastball lost a tick, which lead to some hard contact, but I think the spacious dimensions of Citi Field and the National League would mitigate against most of that. His slider still ranks among the best in the game.

I also read somewhere that Tim Kurkjian reported the Mets interest in 2B Felipe Lopez and "SP" Braden Looper on Baseball Tonight. No other sources have corroborated the rumor, but it gives me hope, so I'll write about it anyway. Felipe Lopez, despite a 4.6 WAR 2009, has nearly no market for his services with Orlando Hudson, his clone with the much better reputation, only seriously negotiating with a few teams. The Mets could reasonably sign him to a contract that wouldn't make them feel guilty about not moving Castillo first. Then, in spring training, Lopez could win the secondbase job, giving the Mets a very good infield defense, without sacrificing any offense. Lopez also provides much better insurance on Jose Reyes than Alex Cora and would prevent Cora's stupid option from vesting. 

I've written about the urgency to replace Castillo over and over again this offseason, but as spring training approaches and I get needlessly optimistic about the season, that urgency increase. Castillo unequivocally represents the only player who will not improve on his 2009. Everyone else in the starting 12, be it due to injuries or youth, has room for improvement next season. Castillo's career peaked, and the Mets shouldn't blow the chance at an unlikely playoff run because they were too cheap to sign Felipe Lopez. 

Looper stinks.