Mets Need To Make Do With What They Have (Starting Pitching Edition)

For those of you who know me, you know that I am a major advocate for pitching in baseball. I understand that the Mets haven’t been active this offseason and I’m damn sure not happy about it. (Believe me, the Marcum deal ticked me off more than Greinke’s –> Why were the Mets not in on that?!) But whatever has happened is already set in stone and no amount of crying, whining, or moaning about it is going to change a thing. Alderson’s going to go ahead with his plan whether you like it or not and it seems like we don’t have that much money to work with. Thus, I’ve compiled a list of players to look at or at least think about in the pitching market that are available through trade or a small contract. This piece will focus on Starting Pitching while the follow-up will focus on the bullpen.

Free Agency

Justin Duchscherer: 33 years old and riddled with injuries in the past, Duchscherer is on the comeback trail and in game shape. An All-Star in 2005 and 2008, he worked as a set-up man and a starter. Sporting a career ERA of 3.13, a 2.87 K/BB ratio, a HR/9 under 1 and a career WHIP of 1.137, Justin Duchscherer might benefit from some games in Citi Field.

Jeremy Bonderman: He’s 28, rocks a variety of pitches, and has been alright in the innings department for the majority of his career. The only thing holding the man back has been injuries. Don’t expect the Mets to go after this guy.

Jeff Francis: A 29 year old southpaw who pitched for the Colorado Rockies, Francis has had his fair share of troubles pitching for the Rockies. A career ERA of 4.77 does not tell the whole story by any means — but note that his home/away splits really aren’t that telling. He’s got good stuff, could benefit from spacious Citi Field, and is looking for an incentive laden deal. Once a 17 game winner, one wonders if the Mets could strike gold with this one.

John Maine: Sound familiar? If the Maine Man is willing to take a major pay cut to stay with the Mets, I would take a flyer. At 30 years old, there’s still time.

Kevin Millwood: Here, you see your prototypical innings eater with the potential for much more. He averages 208 IP per year with a 4.11 ERA, a 1.0 HR/9, 2.49 K/BB ratio and a healthy 161 K’s a year. In 2005, he pitched to a sparkling 2.86 ERA in 192 Innings. At 35 years old, he’s not the worst you could pick up.

Brad Penny: A respected veteran pitcher, Brad Penny still has something to offer to an MLB team. A two-time All-Star, he once led the MLB with the least HR/9 in a season with only 0.4 HR/9 and averages 0.9 for his career. It’s not likely the Mets go after this guy, though.

Brandon Webb: The 2006 Cy Young winner is now a free agent – due to injury, however. Webb has incredible stuff and is known for his dangerous sinker, impeccable ERA at 3.27 for his career, pitching over 200 IP for 5 straight seasons and much more. But nobody, and I mean nobody, can figure out how Brandon Webb will react to his injury this coming season. The Mets have labeled him as too much of an injury risk.

Chris Young: Looks can be deceiving indeed. At 31 years old and a towering 6 feet 10 inches, Young provides a pitching style that fits Citi Field perfectly – pinpoint control and he pours in the strikes. He has even gotten compliments from some guy named Mike Piazza saying that he’s got great movement on his pitches and his ability to locate his fastball is something special.

Via Trade (perhaps?)

Matt Garza: Personal favorite of mine – but what would the Rays command for him? He’s young, he’s got the stuff, and he’d be under team control for a little while. Career ERA of 3.97, a 2.23 K/BB and barely 27 years old, he’s barely touching his potential.

Fausto Carmona: A former 19-game winner with a 3.06 ERA, he’s lost it ever since that season. Is it worth it to take a risk and trade for him? I’d do it. I love his stuff, Citi Field helps anybody, and he might be coming at a cheap price now.

Carlos Zambrano: He’s got an attitude and he’s proven in Chicago – but can he handle New York and is he still available? Big Z has a career ERA of 3.50 and averages about 207 IP per year. He sometimes has problems with walks, but makes up for it with a low HR/9 rate.

Wandy Rodriguez: Wandy might be available sooner than later from Houston since that organization isn’t exactly going in the right direction. He wouldn’t be a major acquisition, but expect Houston to command a decent return for him with a 3.02 ERA in 09′ who turns 32 next year.