Havin Glavine Means A Little If Not Alot

We can all breathe a little more freely now that Tom Glavine has decided to return to the Mets next season.

No amount of money can live down that top...

One less gaping hole in the rotation although considering the Braves didn't even offer a contract to their former employee, how difficult could the decision for Mr Glavine really have been to begin with?

There were minor outpourings of indignation from a few sources considering the latitude Glavine was given to decide but frankly all one has to do is to consider where the Mets would have been had Glavine decided on their division rivals instead.

Forget about where another "name" starter might have come from, another time-worn hurler with nearly impecable standards so vulnerable to the haphazard nature of an umpire's strike zone. The important issue here, underneath the headline, is that Tom Glavine won't win victory 300 in a Braves uniform. Take that, you heathens. Another blow struck against the auld empire. It doesn't clinch a second NL East title on the trot but it certainly eases a bit of the worry about who will be pitching for the Mets next season.

*****No Big News On The Horizan*****

Reading the tea leaves of newspaper backpages, trying to decipher what all the hidden messages are between the lines I still can't figure out what the Mets intend on doing about the bullpen and starting rotation.

It would appear that the Marlins have stated unequivocably that the coveted D Train is not available (unless of course...)which makes one consider the endless possibilities of conditions under which such bold and unequivocable statements could be broken. How many times have we heard such blather only to see so and so fired or so and so traded just under the deadline? Still, the Marlins have little reason to get rid of a cheap meal ticket like Dontrelle without something important waved under their noses so the question is really how willing would they be for Heilman, Milledge and Humber/Pelfrey? Would you take that deal? Would you take two potential middle-of-the-road starters and a potential five tool head-case outfielder for one solid and brilliant yearly Cy Young candidate starter? Omar fleeced the Marlins once or twice already so it isn't a question of ability but desire.

If not, that leaves the Mets to go for broke with Barry Zito which in every day parlance would appear on its face to be a bad decision. Are the Mets merely playing games by pretending they aren't going to jump into a Boras-incited bidding war with the likes of the Texas Rangers who have shown time and again they are quite capable of paying scads more millions than their most idiotic competitors for the same pound of flesh?

On the one hand, since Citibank has been so keen on flooding the Mets coffers, there's no reason NOT to pay the man what his agent can gouge out of the Mets. They need a front line starter and Zito is a front line starter who will cost them nothing in the personnel department.

On the other hand, for some strange reason it just doesn't feel comfortable to satisfy oneself with having outbid the Rangers for a guy who might wilt under the pressure of a the NYC hype machine. And then there's that omni-fearful idea that this guy has never had a serious injury. Does that mean he's a sure bet to avoid serious injury in the future or a sure bet to blow out his arm in Spring Training should the Mets sign him to some massive 6 or 7 year deal?

If the papers are to be believed, Dontrelle and Ben Sheets are both unavailable which would leave us, sans Zito, in the hunt of the likes of Freddy Garcia, Javier Vazquez or Jason Jennings.

Of the trio, we can nip any thoughts of the big righty Jennings right in the bud. He's not a front end starter, he's more in the mould of Steve Trachsel, albeit perhaps with a little bigger, more durable and a few more guts. Take away his Coors Field stats (which admittedly, are impressive) and he's 12-18 with a 4.50 ERA over the last three seasons.

Garcia, another big righty, has the pedigree of a welsh cob. He's certainly better than Jennings but let's face it, he's fattened up his stats over the last several years against the likes of the Tigers, against whom he is 11-2 since 2003. However, he's good and he averages around 30 starts so he wouldn't be a bad addition if for no other reason than unlike Jennings, his ERA is bound to improve moving from AL to NL. 44-28 over the last three years and 30 years old. Listed at 250 pounds he would certainly be the Mets heaviest starter.

Vasquez is a smaller version of Garcia and his numbers in late season reflect that. Watch the nose dive over the last three seasons, pre and post All Star game: Pre All Star Game: 26-17 4.37 and Post All Star Game: 10-20 5.16.

Of these three, I'd shoot for Garcia and hope for the best.

Zito AND Garcia, now that's something to sit up and take notice for. If they managed that we could all breath easier, we could all go through the rest of the off season thinking we've got every chance at winning the NL East again.

But will that happen? Not likely. Still, Zito, Garcia, Glavine, Duque and a few Mets young'uns getting more experience in the #5 role would be nice to fill in whilst Pedro is away. And think about this: it would also give the Mets some latitude for next July's trading deadline if we could afford to dump a few healthy young Met arms for whomever might come available to help in that postseason push.

And of the bullpen, we say sorry to see Chad Bradford go but no worries that he had to follow the money. He deserved it after last season. Happy to see Duaner Sanchez appears to be recovering on schedule.


dado said...

Dude, how can you seriously not be PRAYING we sign Zito? He's the closest thing the Mets will have to a Cy Young candidate next season. If we don't sign him, our season might as well be over!

Walter said...

As usual, Jaap, your analysis is deep and precise. However, being from Atlanta, I object to your label of "heathen." I will get back to you soon in a side email. For now your up-to-bat on the Baseball Nooz main page.

Jaap said...

Cheers, Walter. Perhaps "heathen" is a bit too harsh a terminology for people living in or hailing from Atlanta. Especially since it is the off season and all. How then, how is it you good folks call Turner Field, half empty or half full? Good to hear from you, Walter.

Jaap said...

Dado, praying? To play minion to Scott Boras' cynical capitalism? Pshaw. Look at where that got the Red Sox, signing a worthless, injury-prone hack like JD Drew. If Boras is interested in his client rather than his own pocket, he'll listen more to the Mets than the Rangers. The Rangers are a pitcher's Waterloo and Zito will be as unhappy there as was the last multimillion dollar free agent pitcher to go there...