Please don’t hold my pessimism against me. Usually I’m a “glass is half-full” kind of guy, but the 2010 Mets are essentially relying on the same starting rotation they had last year as it’s been painfully told and shown to us all winter long.
Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, Oliver Perez and perhaps either Nelson Figueroa or Jon Niese, are going to round out the staff. It’s a rotation with more health issues than a VH1 reality show and about as much raw intimidation as Tim Gunn.
Bottom line, like Casey Stengel said, “Good pitching will always stop good hitting…and vice-versa”. I love ya Casey but sadly that does seem to be the logic of our beloved Amazin’s.
The solution is about as complex as the situation itself. We can’t trade our way out of this and we can’t sign every free agent under the sun. With an off season full of fans demanding the Mets pay top dollar for a few nominal pitcher’s at best, the Mets were oddly content with the signing of Kelvim Escobar to a 1 year 1.25 million dollar contract.
The same Kelvim Escobar who tore the labrum in his pitching arm a few years ago with the Angels. The same Kelvim Escobar who hasn’t pitched an inning so far this Spring. The same Kelvin Escobar who will probably start the season on the disabled list. The same Kelvin Escobar whom I guessing won’t get as much as a nanosecond on the mound at Citi Field.
Now in defense of the Mets, the pick of the pitching litter this off season was John Lackey. The Mets did make a play for him but unfortunately he ended up with the Boston Red Sox. His stats were impressively solid but his health always seemed to be the 800-pound gorilla in the room.
Whether the Mets didn’t offer as much money or guaranteed years or a personal Swedish bikini model masseuse, whatever, he didn’t sign with them. Not every player is meant for the bright lights of New York. Go ask Bobby Bonilla who even as a native New Yorker, was given the warm welcome of an overpaid MTA executive with a runaway case of the swine flu.
There were a few others on the Mets radar this winter such as Joel Pineiro, Jon Garland and even John Smoltz. All have their pluses and minuses with Pineiro being the favorite in this bunch by many.
Pineiro eventually signed with the Angels. Garland signed with the Padres and Smoltz is still out there probably golfing with Pedro Martinez until someone needs an experienced arm in August. Quite the crop I must say. If the Mets didn’t have bad luck they’d have none at all.
I feel signing Smoltz, I mean prying Smoltz off the greens at Isleworth, might pay off in one of two ways provided he’s healthy. It’s a big gamble I know and it’s easy for any of us to say lets give 5 million to a 42 year old pitcher with health issues and call it a day, especially since it isn’t our money.
With recent news that the Minnesota Twins closer, Joe Nathan, may miss the season with an arm injury, now is the time for the Mets to get off the pot and bring in this versatile veteran pitcher. He would be a greater financial risk than Kelvim Escobar for sure but his upside could be invaluable.
However if the Mets fizzle out before the trade deadline, and Smoltz is still pitching effectively, theoretically he could draw interest from a contender.
If you remember the year was 1987 and the Detroit Tigers were in a heated pennant race against the Blue Jays. To bolster their pitching the Tigers acquired Doyle Alexander from the Atlanta Braves, sending a little known minor league pitcher by the name of John Smoltz to Atlanta. The rest is history of course.
Of course if it happens, and he signs with the Mets, I wish Smoltzie health and success. Yet it would be a fitting end for Smoltz to be traded for a minor league pitcher, but with our luck we’d probably stay in contention right up to the very last day of the season and blow it.
But then again what am I saying, nothing like that has ever happened before. Silly me.