As the Mets worry about Johan Santana’s elbow, and feel pretty good about John Maine, Mike Pelfrey and Ollie Perez in the middle, there are too many guys who can’t seem to win that fifth starter’s role. A fifth starter is a luxury until May 1, but not if someone gets hurt (or is already hurt), but we wouldn’t be Mets fans if we didn’t look back at what might have been for this rotation. I’m talking about Scott Kazmir, the guy who Jim Duquette traded away in 2004 and who helped the Rays to the AL championship last season, and who currently is the #1 starter for Tampa.
Yeah, it sucks to look back on these deals, especially when you consider that the Mets received Victor Zambrano in return. You all know the numbers, but for effect, let’s look at them again. Zambrano pitched in parts of three seasons for the Mets, and went 10-14. Meanwhile, Kazmir has won 47 games for the Rays since 2004, on some pretty awful teams, and has a 3.61 career ERA with 783 strikeouts in 723 innings.
Those are great numbers, yes, but the biggest one for our purposes here is that Kazmir has averaged 200 inninngs of work per season. If he were still with New York, and I know it’s a stretch and that stretch includes some sour grapes, but this dude would sit nicely behind Johan, or maybe be the #3 guy behind Maine to give us a lefty-righty-lefty 1-2-3 punch, with Pelfrey and Perez the 4 and 5 guys and Redding and Livan in the bullpen where they belong right now.
I know Duquette hasn’t been the only GM, or even Mets’ GM, that’s made a bad deal. But he really hurt the franchise with that move. It’s not Nolan Ryan, but it’s up there!