It’s sad to see our Ace get hit with an injury the year before the Mets were “Ready to Compete” but… if you think about it, it could have been worse. Imagine if we had traded Noah Syndergaard or Zack Wheeler for offensive help (Like Giancarlo Stanton or Carlos Gonzalez) in the offseason and Harvey gets this (basically inevitable) injury in Spring Training? Or in June or July? The point is, as bad as this injury is, the Mets are in a better position than they might have been in.
That’s simple. The Mets still have approximately $40 Mil to spend in the offseason and now they can look to spend part of that money in the only area for the 2014 free agent market that isn’t extremely shallow.
The starting pitcher market is actually pretty interesting. Here is a cheat sheet of names to consider:
- Bronson Arroyo (37) – Because of his age he might accept a one year deal but I’m really not sold on Arroyo being much more than an innings eater at this stage in his career.
- Scott Baker (32) – Currently scuffling in rehab… pass.
- Erik Bedard (35) – I think Bedard is a reasonable option but reminds me too much of getting Chris Young or Shaun Marcum for me to be excited.
- A.J. Burnett (37) – Burnett is a different pitcher in the NL and I think the Mets might think about signing him to a 1-year deal. I also think that Burnett can get 2 years on the open market.
- Chris Capuano (35) – [$8MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout] I don’t see the Mets going back to Capuano.
- Chris Carpenter (39) – Would the Mets take a risk on a low budget signing that might not actually pitch? Probably not.
- Bruce Chen (37) – How about not?
- Bartolo Colon (41) – I can’t see the Mets taking on a guy north of 40.
- Jorge De La Rosa (33) – A solid season in Colorado likely earns De La Rosa a 2-year deal. He might be worth the investment as an innings eater.
- Scott Feldman (30) – The options for innings eaters are plentiful. On the one hand, the Mets might look at adding one regardless of Harvey but none of these guys make up for Harvey.
- Gavin Floyd (31) – PASS!
- Jeff Francis (33) – I don’t think this is the direction we should be looking.
- Freddy Garcia (37) – NO THANKS!
- Jon Garland (34) – Yum! Innings… can I eatz them plz?
- Matt Garza (30) – Allow me to introduce Harvey option A. As the most expensive candidate in terms of length of contract etc… I don’t think Garza is the right fit for the Mets. I anticipate Garza getting at least a 3-year deal if not 4 or 5.
- Roy Halladay (37) – [$20MM vesting option] The Phillies will probably not look to bring the aging star back. He’s not the “Ace” he once was, but if he can return healthy in 2014 he’s an interesting option to not only solidify the rotation but to groom Harvey, Wheeler and Syndergaard. I kinda like the idea… I’m also known to be a bit kooky.
- Jason Hammel (31) – Innings… he eats them.
- Aaron Harang (36) – [$7MM+ mutual option with a $2MM buyout] I’ll pass here too.
- Dan Haren (33) – Low-risk/High-reward? If this were hockey and the Mets were the Devils, Lou Lamoriello would be targeting Haren. Sweet Lou is one of the best GMs in all of sports. Maybe the Lou pick is the right pick?
- Roberto Hernandez (33) – Meh?
- Tim Hudson (38) – If he comes back, he comes back as a Brave.
- Phil Hughes (28) – Like Garza, I think the Mets will be scared off by the years. One must consider with Hughes that he COULD be thought of for a high-leverage relief role down the line when Harvey returned and Syndergaard was promoted.
- Ubaldo Jimenez (30) – [may void $8MM option for 2014] He’s not the pitcher he was, but I do think I’d put him in the “Front-End” discussion.
- Josh Johnson (30) – On the one hand, he’s the most talented arm on the list. On the other, we’re looking to replace an injured player and you don’t like to do that with a supremely high injury risk. I don’t think anyone offers Johnson more than 3 years and I can’t see the Mets offering more than 2. I don’t think they would but the jury is out on if they should.
- Jeff Karstens (31) – Another ho-hum innings eater.
- Scott Kazmir (30) – Kazmir would be back home… alas he’s not the pitcher we once traded for Victor Zambrano.
- Hiroki Kuroda (39) – Too old to take the risk.
- Jon Lester (30) – [$13MM club option with a $250K buyout] I see Boston using their option.
- Colby Lewis (34) – A year on the shelf makes me skeptical. He would have been on the “Front-End” list had he been healthy. Now he’s somewhere between innings eater and medium risk top of the rotation arm.
- Ted Lilly (38) – Lilly’s storied career seems to finally be over.
- Tim Lincecum (30) – To me, this is the best option. He’s a higher risk than most people on the list but you might be able to sign him to a deal where he gets 2 years but can opt out after 1. Even this season he’s shown glimpses of brilliance.
- Paul Maholm (32) – Another tweener pick. He’s more than an innings eater and less than a “Front-End” starter. He’s a lefty and the Mets would be happy to add him to the rotation with Niese. He’s an interesting thought even with a healthy Harvey.
- Shaun Marcum (32) – Just say no.
- Jason Marquis (35) – He’ll eat innings or cheeseburgers… whatever you give him basically.
- Ricky Nolasco (31) – Nolasco is so reliable I can’t see him getting under a 3-year deal. I think he deserves that much and I can’t see the Mets signing on for that.
- Roy Oswalt (35) – No way. No way he comes to NY and no way we want him.
- Mike Pelfrey (30) – It would be silly but there have been crazy things to happen in baseball.
- Andy Pettitte (42) – Maybe if he was a few years older… come on!
- Wandy Rodriguez (35) – [$13MM club option with a $2.5MM buyout] Rodriguez will be free of the Astros and the Mets could use a lefty but I don’t happen to like him. I guess I have to put him in that tweener list… please no.
- Jonathan Sanchez (31) – This guy used to be something. Not anymore.
- Ervin Santana (31) – Another tweener as he has upside but I can’t say I have a lot of faith in anyone named Santana pitching for the 2014 Mets.
- Johan Santana (34) – [$25MM club option with a $5.5MM buyout] Case in point.
- Joe Saunders (33) – [mutual option] If he’s a free agent he’s only an innings eater.
- James Shields (32) – [$12MM club option with a $1MM buyout] They traded Wil Myers for him. He’s not getting to free agency.
- Jason Vargas (31) – Another tweener option. Another tweener option I don’t like.
- Ryan Vogelsong (36) – [$6.5MM club option with a $300K buyout] Only 6.5 Mil should be picked up for 2014.
- Edinson Volquez (30) – I think the Mets should consider him. I will label him a tweener but he’s got good upside with his ability to strike people out.
- Tsuyoshi Wada (33) – [$5MM club option] I don’t know if he’ll hit free agency. I don’t know if it matters.
- Jake Westbrook (36) – [$9.5MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout.] Get your innings eaten somewhere else.
- Chien-Ming Wang (34) – I think he’s done.
- Suk-min Yoon (27) – An interesting thought but I don’t see the Mets going to this well.
- Chris Young (35) – I like him as a person. Less so as a real option.
- Barry Zito (36) – [$18MM vesting option with a $7MM buyout] Not the right fit.
Inning Eaters: Bronson Arroyo, Chris Capuano, Jorge De La Rosa, Scott Feldman, Jon Garland, Jason Hammel, Jeff Karstens, Jason Marquis and Joe Saunders
Tweeners: Erik Bedard, A.J. Burnett, Dan Haren, Phil Hughes, Scott Kazmir, Colby Lewis, Paul Maholm, Mike Pelfrey, Wandy Rodriguez, Ervin Santana, Edinson Volquez and Suk-min Yoon.
Front-End Starters: Matt Garza, Roy Halladay, Ubaldo Jiminez, Josh Johnson, Jon Lester (probably not available), Tim Lincecum and Ricky Nolasco
If Matt Harvey can pitch in 2014:
The Mets will need 1 pitcher from the “Innings Eater” or “Tweener” categories to log innings while Noah Syndergaard/Rafael Montero/Jacob deGrom get themselves ready for the majors… and when people inevitably get hurt. This means also that the Mets can safely trade 1 of the above mentioned pitchers in a deal to bring in an offensive player at SS or OF. There should be plenty of money left to sign a free agent outfielder and the Mets can be written into most pre-season storylines as a playoff contender.
- Matt Harvey (RHP)
- Jon Niese (LHP)
- Zack Wheeler (RHP)
- Paul Maholm (LHP) [2-year deal]
- Dillon Gee (RHP)
If Matt Harvey cannot pitch in 2014:
The Mets need 1 pitcher from the “Front-End Starter” list and 1 pitcher from the “Innings Eater” or “Tweener” lists. My favorite front-end options are Halladay, Jiminez and Lincecum. The Mets would probably avoid dealing the better prospects (Syndergaard and Montero) and would instead be looking to getting an upgrade in the outfield via free agency and hoping for things to break for them in terms of hitting (You know… like Ike Davis actually living up to organizational expectations). There is no question that losing Harvey hurts the Met chances at the post season, but the Mets DO have options to replace his production while he recovers.
- Roy Halladay (RHP) [1-year deal]
- Jon Niese (LHP)
- Dan Haren (RHP) [1-year deal with vesting option]
- Zack Wheeler (RHP)
- Dillon Gee (RHP)
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