On Sunday, Bill Madden of the Daily News created a stir in Mets circles when he reported that the Mets will only have about $20 million to spend this offseason. Not nearly enough for the Mets to address their myriad of problems. He said that the Mets should not be considered as bidders for free agents Matt Holliday, Jason Bay and John Lackey and that they will certainly reduce payroll from last season. He believes that the Mets will focus instead on second-tier free agents.
Today, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that a source told him that the Mets would not pursue starting pitcher Rich Harden.
Bart Hubbuch of the NY Post, also adds that the Mets are in the hunt for Ben Sheets who missed all of last season after tendon surgery on his elbow.
Ben Sheets hasn’t pitched in the majors in more than a year, but that will not keep the Mets from keeping an eye on the former All-Star right-hander this winter. The oft-injured Sheets, who last pitched with the Brewers in 2008, has been sidelined since February because of surgery to repair the flexor tendon in his forearm, but he expects to be healthy by spring training.
A major-league source confirmed that Sheets, 31, would be among a group of second-tier, relatively low-cost starting pitchers the Mets will consider this offseason while continuing their pursuit of top free-agent starter John Lackey.
As much as I like the upside of 28 year old Rich Harden, I can certainly understand the reasoning of the Mets apprehension considering his inability to stay healthy. Still he may still be worth a flyer as a buy low candidate with a high reward.
Sheets is also someone who could give the Mets some value, but it’s important to note that it can sometimes take an entire season to come all the way back from elbow surgery. In other words, he may be ready to pitch by spring training, but will he be able to pitch as effectively as he did before the injury?