Mets Need A New ACE And Not Cliff Lee

Before I begin this week’s post I apologize for my post last week on Omar Minaya and Roy Halladay.  When writing my post last week I had no intention to hurt anyone or insult anyone’s nationality. I promise in the future to be more careful with my posts.

This is not a post bashing Johan Santana.  I know early on in the 2010 season I wrote that Santana was done and I admit I was wrong.  Santana rebounded nicely and was having a great 2nd half until being sidelined with another injury that would for the 3rd consecutive year require surgery.  This surgery is now the 3rd surgery Santana has had on his pitching arm.  Santana is expected to miss most if not all of next year which means that he won’t return until 2012.  In 2012 Santana will be 33 years old. It’s time to start looking for a new Ace of the staff.  Also with this type of injury to a pitcher the pitcher has not returned to pitch again.  Look at Mark Prior and Wang as examples.  Prior hasn’t pitched since having this surgery in 2006 and Wang hasn’t pitched since having surgery last year.

Now hopefully Santana will be able to recover and be a good number 2 pitcher to our ACE. Unfortunately the Mets do not have an ACE on the staff.  As much as I like Pelfrey and Pelf has improved he just does not have what it takes to be an ACE, at least not mentally.  Physically I believe Pelf has the stuff to be a number 1 pitcher but I just cannot rely on him, he’s too much in his own head.  Jon Niese is at best a number 3 pitcher.  R.A. Dickey is a number 5 pitcher.  As much as Gee impressed me the final weeks I think we can all agree that he doesn’t have the stuff to be an ACE.  Now I know we have Jenrry Mejia but the verdict is still out on whether or not he can be a major league starter.  Also keep in mind that Mejia has had several injuries in his young career, all when he was starting.

Now the obvious is to say the Mets should go after Cliff Lee this off season. There’s no denying that Cliff Lee is one of the best pitchers in baseball.  As we’ve seen the last 2 years he’s a big game pitcher and can pitch in high pressure situations. Is it widely known that Lee wants a contract very similar to the one that C.C. Sabathia got from the Yankees.  Just to remind everyone C.C. got a 7 year deal worth 161 million dollars!  Cliff Lee next August will turn 33 years old.  That means his contract would expire after he turns 40.  Lee has also had several injuries including a groin injury back in 2008.  This year Lee suffered an oblique injury.  Also it’s been reported that Lee has been having back trouble.  Like I said Lee is a great pitcher but I think for this new front office it would be a mistake to take a chance on him. In fact if their first move was a big bust it would be a disaster.  Look at what happened with Pedro Martinez.  He was on the back end of his career, had several surgeries but the Mets signed him to a 4 year deal, something the Red Sox didn’t because they felt he wouldn’t hold up.  Unfortunately they were right. Pedro was injured for most of his contract and the Mets lost a lot of money on him.  You can say the same has happened with Santana though he has a few more years left before we can really pass judgement.

The new administration needs to learn from the past administrations mistakes. They will need to go after younger pitchers.  I for one would hope whoever gets the GM job (hopefully Alderson) tries to trade for Zack Greinke from Kansas City. It’s well known that Greinke wants a trade.  I know a lot of people would say to trade Pelf but keep in mind Pelf only has 1 more season to free agency and he’s a Boras client also.  Without a doubt we’ll have to give them Mejia and I’m OK with that. Niese is under team control for several more seasons and we’ll have to part with him as well since he’s major league ready.  You might have throw in Dudda and another prospect but If that’s what it takes then the new GM needs to make that deal.

The new GM cannot wait and see how Santana’s surgery works out.  If Santana can come back from this surgery the best case scenario is that we have 2 aces and there is nothing wrong with that.