It’s no secret that the Mets are in the market for a starting pitcher this winter. All talks to this point have surrounded their pursuit of free agent arms but their reluctance to overpay has seen them sit idly by while most of the top arms are finding their destinations. With talent on the market diminishing, the Mets need to expand their search to the trade market.
The ideal situation would have been to find that affordable starter to contribute while holding their trade chips for a potential big splash to help the offense. This is looking more unlikely with each passing day while a major shake-up is still very much in need.
Yesterday the A’s agreed to a two-year deal with Scott Kazmir, creating a sudden abundance of starting pitching in Oakland. The most likely trade candidate is 25-year-old left-hander Brett Anderson. Anderson’s career record of 26-29 and ERA of 3.81 doesn’t do him enough justice.
Anderson had Tommy John Surgery in June of 2011 and showed tremendous promise in his 2012 return. However after posting a 2.57 ERA in his six starts in 2012, a foot injury derailed his 2013 season and Anderson ended up with a 7.23 ERA over five starts.
Anderson isn’t flashy on the mound, but does a nice job to induce a high percentage of groundballs with an effective slider, changeup combination. He isn’t a bargain as he will be owed $8 million in 2014 with a $12 million club option in 2015. However, a strong argument can be made that $20 million over two years to a promising 25-year-old lefty is far more efficient than any of the contracts handed out to starting pitchers this winter.
I believe that the Mets and A’s could come to an agreement on a deal sending Ike Davis and Wilmer Flores to Oakland in return for Anderson. Anderson would slot nicely in the middle of the rotation and has the upside to provide long-term value.