You Say Pedro, I Say Tomato

After the uproar caused by the inaugural review of a potential Met team on the field, it's time to look at what the Mets pitching might have or have to offer in 2005.

First of all, let's all applaud the departure of Al Leiter. As pointed out by Flushing Local:

"Despite Leiter's low ERA and BAA, the numbers for Al have been unmistakably deteriorating these last few years. No longer a power pitcher with good control, 2005 could be the year that Leiter gives up more walks the strikeouts. Typically, he was unable to pitch past the fifth inning this season. As he enters his 40th year on the planet, it's unlikely his stamina will do anything other than fade. And as he pitches himself into jam after jam, it's almost certainly going to be harder for him to escape unscathed."

To which I would add, the Mets already have an aged lefty who can't pitch more than five or six innings an outing and his name is Tom Glavine. Seeing as how the Mets bullpen is nothing to dance a jig (more like a polka) over to begin with, it seems pretty clear that taxing it further with two back-to-back starters who are almost guaranteed to give the pen three or four innings of work an outing is not a wise move. Let's be thankful that the Wilpon Idiot Collective didn't get dewy-eyed and nostalgic over this one. Score one for Omar. So adios Al, good luck and thanks for what you gave us.

It's touching that Omar has offered a contract to Pedro Martinez. Pedro is better than anyone the Mets currently have in their starting rotation. But personally, I can't stomach the prima donna mentality and the predictability of his failures against the Yankees, not to mention the delicacy of his fragile ego and the special clubhouse treatment he appears to believe he merits for his art. Yes, it would put the Met starting rotation on the map, give it notoreity for something more than overpaying Kris Benson, but if it ends up playing out to the tune of a rumoured 4 year $50 million guaranteed contract that will be needed to yank him away from the Red Sox, well, that sort of signing just reeks of desperation although now that the Sox are joining the pilgrimage to Santo Domingo, a big payday looks likely on Pedro's horizon.

I still would rather see the Mets try and trade Hamstring Jose Reyes to the A's for Barry Zito, or whatever reasonable combination it would take for the move to happen. First of all, signing Kris Benson and his tabloid pin-up wife Anna would be small potatoes compared to having Barry Zito's squeeze, Alyssa Milano, glowing at Shea.

It also allows a neatly unfolded logic of why not even bother attempting to sign Carl Pavano, the former Mr Alyssa Milano when obviously, he is passé, old news, last week's rubbish. Now Pavano has been downgraded to prancing around city to city, for something his agent is calling Carlapalooza.

Carlapalooza? It's a frightening ploy and really brings into question what his agent is trying to say about him. Why, for example, is it not "Carl-palooza"? Isn't that sufficient to get the idea across? Carla-palooza seems to infer some rather dodgy information about the over-wooed star pitcher that I don't think I want to know about.

So if the Mets could have Glavine, Zito, Benson, Trachsel and if healthy, Zambrano, we've got the makings, even without Pedro, of a starting rotation which doesn't automatically inducing vomiting, not to mention the star quality, of Anna Benson and Alyssa Milano, trailing two of the pitchers like soup cans tied to the back of the bridal limo. Odd logic, I understand but frankly, Benson and Zambrano were odd acquisitions to begin with and sadly, I'd much rather be discussing what the Twin K's, Kazmir and Keppel might be doing for the Mets this time next season. But such was the logic of the Idiot Collective last season so I'll simply point out that Zambrano was a magical 8-2 with a 2.88 ERA at home last season and a fairly miserable 3-5 with a 5.91 ERA away. He also seems to prefer artificial turf, upon which he had a 3.12 ERA when pitching as opposed to his 5.91 ERA on grass which is why, apparently, he was traded for to begin with, that superlative record on grass.

If, as recent history would seem to indicate, the Mets are unable to get Zito or even Pedro, what might be on the horizan? Well, as it appears Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano will eventually be signed by the Mariners and Yankees respectively, and with even Eric Milton rumoured to be headed for the Bronx, there isn't much left to get excited about, is there? Not unless you are easily excitable to begin with. Omar's recent activity might point in the direction of Odalis Perez but frankly, if this is the best solution he can sketch, it might be time to stand at the drawing board a little longer until he conjures up more nightmares like Kevin Millwood, the maddeningly inconsistent Matt Clement or Brad Ratke. Incidentally, the pros and cons of Odalis are well drawn up at The Metropolitans. And for the trivia starved, it might do well to point out that free agent Russ Ortiz has the most wins over the past four years of any free-agent pitcher on the market.

If this is where we stand with the starting rotation, frankly, what difference does the bullpen make? Well, one burning question now that Franco and Stanton are gone is who will be the token lead-blowers rolling out of the pen next season? Well, one way to see the blown lead blown to fruition might be to re-sign righty Mike DeJean, right? Lefty to blow leads, why haven't you heard? The Mets traded for the indominable Felix Heredia and his 6.28 ERA. And just when you thought you'd had enough, there's always the looming threat that Scott Strickland makes it back from Tommy John surgery in time for the season.

There are a few bright spots though. Righty Orber Moreno still has promise and closer Braden Looper should be relieved he probably won't have many saves to hold next season.

Overall, alot of luck will be required. Failing Pedro, the Mets ace will likely be the 38 going quickly on to 39 year old Tom Glavine. Thereafter, far too many question marks, potential disasters and probable injuries which will probably mean there's a good chance we'll be seeing many pieces of the Norfolk starting rotation as the season progresses.


In today's Star Ledger, Omar says of pontential pitchers:

"If we do get a guy -- a guy like Pedro -- then we're pretty solid across the board," Minaya said. "Pitching is so important and if there are pitchers who are available out there we have to consider them. We are at four (starters) right now (and) feeling comfortable if we have to go with Jae Seo or (Aaron) Heilman at the fifth spot."

I don't know about the rest of you but Jae Seo or Heilman at the fifth spot does not make me feel comfortable at all. Not unless I'd feel comfortable nestled beneath even the Washington Nats in the NL East next season.

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