Recently, the Mets have asked General Manager Billy Beane to keep them in mind with regard to Joe Blanton, who is the next player expected to be moved by the rebuilding Oakland A’s. The Mets could probably get something done right now if they really wanted to, however they still believe they have a shot at landing Johan Santana and they will not go to Plan B until Plan A is dead in the water.
The fact of the matter is that only the Mets believe they are still in the hunt for Johan Santana and nobody else. While they cling to the hope that they can get something done, a major league official with knowledge of the situation said that the Twins have not backed off of their stance that Jose Reyes be included in any deal. Omar Minaya, as recently as Saturday reiterated his assertion that Jose Reyes would not be traded under any circumstances. Based on those facts alone, you can see the dilemma the Mets find themselves in as they remain locked in a holding pattern while great options like Dan Haren have simply passed them by.
Minaya continues to let everyone think that he is perfectly content with a rotation that might include Mike Pelfrey and Phil Humber in the back-end, but he is fooling nobody. The fact is that several people in the Mets front office have already shared the ballooning concern that envelops the embattled GM. Even some of the players have publicly voiced their concern over the lack of pitching including Billy Wagner, Carlos Delgado, Pedro Martinez and even the usually optimistic David Wright. Several GM’s at the Winter Meetings commented on Omar’s frustration to try and get something significant done and were sympathetic to his plight.
Now, knowing all of the facts surrounding Johan Santana, Omar’s desire for a significant addition to the rotation, his insistence not to include Jose Reyes, and his options wearing thin… there is only one thing for Omar to do right now…
Cease your fascination with Johan Santana and go hard after Joe Blanton before you end up with nothing but an 85 win season!
In Joe Blanton, you have a 27-year old right hander who made at least 31 starts in each of his last three seasons. Last year he went 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA in 230 innings. He struck out 140 batters while walking only 40. He has just become arbitration eligible so he would remain under the team’s control for at least three years. The Mets would not have to trade Jose Reyes to get him, or include both Fernando Martinez and Carlos Gomez to get him. He may be had with just one of the young outfield prospects plus Mike Pelfrey and low level prospect.
In Blanton, the Mets would be adding a solid 15 win pitcher to the bottom of the rotation who averages seven innings a start, a luxury the Mets do not currently possess. He would cost a lot less than Santana, is a better option than Lohse or Colon, and still has a bunch of upside.
It’s time to make Joe Blanton Plan A.