Mets Seek Top Starter

The Mets would like to add a top starter and their ability to absorb payroll will help them acquire an arm, according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney. Few teams appear willing to take on significant salary, according to Olney, and that could position the Mets to acquire a pitcher for the stretch run.

Roy Oswalt would pitch for the Mets, but they don’t like the $26.8MM remaining on his contract. That price tag would make any team pause and the Mets know the Astros would want prospects, too. Olney hears that the team would prefer to take on salary than give up prospects.

Some within the Mets organization want to make a serious run at Cliff Lee, who would certainly cost top prospects. The Mariners are hesitant to deal Lee at this point, but most expect that to change.

If the Mets sidestep Oswalt and Lee, they could turn to Jake Westbrook, Fausto Carmona, Ben Sheets or Kevin Millwood (who is open to pitching in Queens). Westbrook, Sheets and Millwood all make $10MM-plus, which could limit the number of bidders and give the Mets an edge.


54 Responses to Mets Seek Top Starter Leave a Reply

  1. oremlk 5 years ago

    I don’t really see any opportunity for them to get a reliable frontline starter without giving up prospects unless they intend to wait until the offseason. If they’re looking for a pitcher who actually belongs at the top of a rotation these days, going after Oswalt and paying all of his salary seems like their best option… they wouldn’t have to give up as many prospects then.

  2. icedrake523 5 years ago

    Oswalt is the best option. They should eat as much of his salary as possible. It’s easy to say when I’m not signing the checks but it’s easier to replace money than prospects. Santana-Pelfrey-Oswalt easily makes them a favorite for at least the division.

    • maybe the favorite for the wild card, but i wouldn’t say the division.

      • icedrake523 5 years ago

        I meant to say at least the wild card. I think adding Oswalt would definitely give them the best rotation in the division though.

      • Just_MLB 5 years ago

        ummm…with Oswalt…that gives the mets 1-4 ( santana/pelf/oswalt/niese )…

        i think that would be the best rotation in the division

    • Ferrariman 5 years ago

      pelfrey is due for a regression…..

      • Joe_Bourgeois 5 years ago

        On what basis? Have you seen him pitch this year?

        • BentoBox 5 years ago

          Mike Pelfrey had been pitching nicely so far (3.28 FIP, 15th best in majors this year). However, he has a (.280 BABIP) which is a little low. His LOB% is high (81.5 %). His HR/FB % is low as well, (4.0 %). So he’s due for some regression.

          • mikefichera 5 years ago

            Or are those stats just evidence of a ground ball pitcher being effective?..

          • BentoBox 5 years ago

            The only thing different from last year is the O-Contact %. Batters from last year were making (76.8 %) contact when swinging at pitches thrown outside the strike zone. This year their contact rate is just (67.1 %). Also, he’s throwing more first pitch strikes (65.3 %) compared to the previous years.

            Regarding his GB tendencies, his GB% from this year (50.4 %) is more or less the same from last year (51.3 %). Also, his K/BB rose by not much, (1.90 K/BB) to (1.62 K/BB) from last year. That and maybe the defense behind him is better, (12.7 UZR) compared to last year’s (-35.9).

            Another thing that’s different is his new split fingered fastball pitch that he learned. A better fastball helped as well. His FB’s pitch value this year is (8.9) compared to last year’s (-8.2).

          • ReverendBlack 5 years ago

            Mmmmmm, nuuumbeeers.

          • Pshh… Logic.

            Seriously though, you are pretty much spot on. Pelf has been awesome, but most likely he isn’t a ~3 FIP pitcher. His split has really helped him and the defense has really really helped him a lot. One of the big differences from the split is that he can get K’s now when he really needs too. That is one thing that can’t be seen in numbers, but only by watching all of his starts.

          • so your saying he cant get any better? but he can only get worse….yea i dont believe all these stats.

          • They aren’t even stats they are matter of fact with the exception of the run value of his FB. K/BB has no subjectiveness, neither does O-swing nor first pitch strike. How much better could he really get? Pelf is very good and all stats show he is having a pretty darn good year, but if he were to get any better he’d be in Halladay/Lincecum territory. He flat out isn’t that good.

    • ReverendBlack 5 years ago

      I really hope the fuss about Oswalt’s salary is posturing to get the prospect-price down. I could see AL teams being bothered by it as he’d be more like a #3 for most of them, but for an NL team it really isn’t too much to pay for a guy like Oswalt.

  3. Infield Fly 5 years ago

    This winter the Mets passed up the only guy who maybe could have helped in John Lackey. Now the reality is there are pitchers who are available who are “meh,” and there is a pitcher available who could actually help them win – namely Oswalt. It may cost us but we’ll have him for more than just a rental, and we NEED pitching. So, Jeff & Omar, if you’re serious about winning, bring him on!!

    • The same John Lackey with a 4.54 ERA? He wouldn’t have helped anything.

      • BentoBox 5 years ago

        Let’s rewrite that, The same John Lackey with a 4.72 FIP? He would’ve been fourth in that Met’s rotation. People will be calling Minaya so many expletives if he did sign Lackey.

      • Infield Fly 5 years ago

        Point taken – except that he would be facing NL lineups, not AL ones, which would likely make a positive difference for a while at least. Anyway, Lackey is far from my main concern at this point.

        • Just_MLB 5 years ago

          except that Lackey NEVER wanted to come to NYC…

      • ReverendBlack 5 years ago

        Seriously doubt Lackey’s performance would be so bad in the NL East. It’s unlikely to stay as bad as it is even in the AL East.

      • Yankees420 5 years ago

        Don’t forget the 5 year 80+MM commitment.

    • im sure the red sox wish the mets would have signed lackey too…i hated that signing for the sox, i was utterly disappointed in epstein.

      • ReverendBlack 5 years ago

        If Lackey’s ERA were 3, would you be telling happy Sox fans it was too soon to call the contract?

        • As a Red Sox fan, I’ve been calling that contract since the day it was signed. It’s too long. Flat out. If you don’t believe me, feel free to parse through my comment logs, haha. So no, I’d say it’s not too soon to call the contract. Unless Lackey pitches lights out one season and helps win a WS, I would be very surprised not to see people punching themselves in the face rather than watch him pitch the fifth year of his contract at that price.

          Lackey was always a borderline top pitcher. Throwing 80m at him was just a bad idea. I fully expect him to be able to put up a season or two with sub 4 ERA, but it will still be a bad deal by the money.

  4. NattyBohGuy 5 years ago

    Guthrie has done pretty well here in Baltimore, and might be a good 4/5 slot guy, but to contend for the wildcard or division they’ll have to put up Lee or Oswalt. I’d personally rather see Lee if for no other reason than I’d like to see him face the Phillies team that gave him away.

  5. aap212 5 years ago

    If they want a real top starter and really don’t want to part with Flores–which I hope they don’t–then get ready to pay full freight on Oswalt. I hope they do.

  6. How about the Mets do something smart right now and don’t give up prospect and sign a FA. YUNIESKY MAYA….The Answer…in his prime, has five pitches, definately better than Westbrook. Give up Nothing but a contract.

    • Yankees420 5 years ago

      I’d like to know what proof you have that he is “definately better than Westbrook” because as far as I can tell the guy has never thrown a pitch in the MLB, so you really can’t compare them until that happens.

      • yeah but in comparasion to what you give up…talent vs straight money…Ok so he is unproven in the majors. He is in his prime and an ace in I would take that as my number three starter…its better than giving up a boatload of prospects for a rental

        • Yankees420 5 years ago

          I understand you line of thinking, I just don’t think that any team that signs Maya should throw him into the big leagues right away, so I don’t think he’d really be able to help any club this year.

  7. i like guthrie, hes doing well in the AL east, what would it take to get him?

    • ReverendBlack 5 years ago

      Might be a bargain, but he’s no guarantee. The Mets don’t seem to like the low-cost low-risk approach, though; they like to make splashes.

      While drowning, if that wasn’t clear.

  8. East Coast Bias 5 years ago

    Why pay 10m for Sheets, Millwood, Westbrook when you can get Oswalt for just 3.5 more? If you’re going to pony up the 10m, may as well go for the better talent. I understand it’s an extra year, but at least you get a real top end guy. Enough risks. Go for the proven talent!

    I didn’t mention Lee because he will cost top prospects, and most likely just for the remainder of the year. Mets should either go for Oswalt now, with a lower prospect pool, and have a greater return on investment (signed for next year as well as remainder of this year). Or don’t give up any prospects and just go all in for Lee via Free Agency at the end of the season.

  9. either way you look at it for Roy Oswalt you will give prospects. Astros will not except B level prospects becouse there will be teams willing to out bid your proposal by just throwing out a couple of there A prospects. Dont flatter yourself by thinking it wont cost you. Oswalt is more established then Lee Period end of story…………..

    • ReverendBlack 5 years ago

      Whatever “established” is supposed to mean here, all other things being equal, I’ll take Lee over Oswalt every single day.

      • East Coast Bias 5 years ago

        I have a sneaky suspicion you are not alone in that thinking.

      • He’s seasoned AND he’s veteran. Darn it, what more do you want? 😉 This is why I always buy my cars from Chrysler rather than those newfangled Kia machines. I’d MUCH rather have something that was good a while back than something that was good more recently.

    • Just_MLB 5 years ago

      yeah i think Oswalt might be a slightly more injury prone pitcher

    • Yankees420 5 years ago

      From everything that’s been reported and the trend of the last few years in baseball, I don’t think many teams will outbid the Mets if they are willing to take on all of Oswalt’s salary. There aren’t really many teams with the ability to absorb that salary and the need for a pitcher of his caliber, and from what I’ve read the Astros aren’t willing to take on much of his salary in order to secure a better return. I could always be wrong but my prediction is that if a team takes on all, or almost all of his salary, then said team won’t be trading away too many “A” prospects, probably just 1.

  10. If it is the Mets Oswalt goes to. Wilmor Flores would be the Starting point. Dont really see F-Mart or Heavens or even Tejada being any where near what the Astros are looking for. As for after that that is all up to what the Astros wont.

    Injury Prone??? He has had a sore back but if you look at it he still pitched his games. So Injury Prone. Where the He11 do people get that he is injury prone?

    Look it up he hasnt really missed a game. Maybe 10 over his hole career. Lee on the other I recall some months where he was out.

  11. Msforever 5 years ago

    I don’t think Lee will go to the Mets. The Mets don’t have a very strong farm system and what few prospects they do have, they seem to want to hang on to. Lee will probably go to the Twins.

    • NattyBohGuy 5 years ago

      I do agree that the Mets probably do want to hold on to what prospects they do have, but I’m just curious what you’re basing the statement that they don’t have a strong farm system on? If you could clarify, I’d appreciate it. I mean, just looking down the list of players that started with the Mets: Wright, Reyes, Davis, Murphy, Niese, Pelfrey. Albeit, a few of those haven’t been superstars (Murphy being the first one that pops up and Niese and Davis haven’t gone far enough to be definitively solid players), those players seem to be pretty reliable, sans injuries. Though, the fact that they’ve been held onto since their debuts does confirm that they don’t let prospects go very much, I’m still trying to understand where you are getting the statement that they ‘don’t have a strong farm system’ from.

  12. If the Mets get Cliff Lee they will get into the post season

  13. I wouldn’t mind the Mets giving up Fernando Martinez Holt and a couple lesser prospects for Lee as long as they don’t sign him to a ridiculous 5 year 20 mil per year deal in the off season. It should really improve their chances at the playoffs and they could get the two draft picks when he leaves.

  14. NattyBohGuy 5 years ago

    Mets seem to have a tendency to sign pitchers that play well first for the couple years, but then peter out and can’t sustain. Glavine, Martinez, Maine, Perez (worst by far), and K-Rod is starting to show he’s not as ‘lights out’ as he seemed to many. Glavine and Martinez, though, did well for their short contracts after they left for the Braves and Phillies respectively, and for Pedro it was probably due to resting from the injuries he got. What does that say about their tenures with the Mets? I don’t know really. No matter who they sign, I’m hoping for a shorter contract, even if it means taking a punch in gut by paying a little more per year; I’d rather rely on Ike, Tejada, etc. than be stuck with some abyssmal Perez-esque contract, especially considering that R.A Dickey will be less efficient after guys get more exposure to him, and the Pelfrey probably won’t sustain.

    tl;dr — Please, Omar, don’t give the new ace a contract that’s too long and puts a pothole in our rotation every 5 starts. We’ve had that with Maine for too long.

  15. Ferrariman 5 years ago

    i can also see

    wandy rodriguez
    brett myers
    ted lilly
    paul maholm
    rodrigo lopez
    brad penny

  16. Boz 5 years ago

    i dont think Wilson and Arroyo are avail. both teams they play for are currently in 1st place.

  17. mrsjohnmiltonrocks 5 years ago

    Add Jake Westbrook to the list. Subtract CJ Wilson, Shaun Marcum, Nick Blackburn. I believe Marcum and Wilson are both wanted and needed by their current team; Nick Blackburn signed a long term deal with the Twins a couple of months ago.

    I really like the idea of Wandy Rodriguez for the Mets. He just seems so lost on the mound right now, like he’s in desperate need in a change of approach and a change of scenery.

  18. mikefichera 5 years ago

    Wandy reminds me of Oliver Perez, I wouldn’t go near him.

  19. wandy is horrible…i hate this change of scenery cliche ppl talk about. He sucks in houston and he will suck in ny, scenery doesnt change how he pitches.

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