MetsBlog ran a story yesterday, reporting that free agent pitcher Derek Lowe has seen interest from as many as five times this winter, and the 40-year-old still feels he can contribute to a team as a starting pitcher. Lowe, who will be turning 40 on June 1st, went 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA in 21 starts for the Indians, then was traded to the Yankees, where he went 1-1 with a 3.04 ERA in 17 relief appearances. Michael Baron mentioned Lowe could be a fit for the Mets because he could fill the void in the starting rotation for half the season until Zack Wheeler is ready for the Bigs and then transition to the bullpen. However, that would depend on whether or not the sinkerball pitcher is willing to take on such a role. Out of all the free agent pitchers left, there is one man that may be the most willing to do that, and that’s Brett Myers.
Like I said about Nyjer Morganyesterday, he hasn’t exactly been the easiest person to root for throughout his 11-year career, but the 32-year-old may be the perfect fit for the Mets, so long as he ends up in their price range. Since the New Year is almost upon us and most of the top-tier free agent pitchers have signed with their respective teams, there is a chance Sandy Alderson could convince Myers to take a one-year contract to pitch in Flushing.
Why could he be a perfect fit for the Mets in 2013? Like Lowe, he also has experience as both a starter and reliever in the Major Leagues, but not only is he eight years younger than his fellow free agent hurler, but Myers said earlier this winter he would be willing to pitch in either role next season. Talk about Alderson having an interest in pitchers like Chris Young, Joe Saunders, and Shaun Marcum is great because he wants to bring in a proven commodity to compete for the last rotation spot with their internal options, but if they follow the same path with Wheeler like they did with Matt Harvey last season, he will be in the Big Leagues by July, and New York will have six starters for five spots.
Now, don’t get me wrong; a team can never have enough pitching throughout a Major League Baseball season, and although starting pitching is a strength right now for the Mets, they’re still entering the Spring with question marks surrounding Johan Santana and Dillon Gee, both looking to bounce back from season-ending injuries (Dillon’s being a lot more serious, obviously). So, in a perfect world, if all the Mets starting pitchers stay healthy through the first half of the season and Wheeler is ready for the call, it would be great to have the option to slide their fifth starter into a bullpen role, which I would assume why Jenrry Mejia is expected to get a hard look as a starter in Port St. Lucie.
What does Myers bring to the table? He’s started 249 games in his Big League career, with eight seasons being exclusively a starter, in which he’s compiled an 89-79 record with a 4.20 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, and 1,254 strikeouts in 1,560 innings pitched. Outside of being a reliever in 2007 for the Phillies, Myers didn’t transition to the bullpen until 2012, which was his third and last with the Houston Astros. Through his first 35 appearances, the right-hander compiled 19 saves and was eventually traded to the Chicago White Sox, where he wasn’t the closer, but racked up 35 more appearances for Robin Ventura. Between the two teams, he compiled a 3-8 record in 70 appearances with a 3.31 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 41 games finished, and 41 strikeouts in 65.1 innings pitched.
If he is acquired by the Mets and pitches well enough in the spring, he breaks camp in the rotation, giving the New York some flexibility as they know he’s more than capable of holding his own in the bullpen once Wheeler is ready. If by some miracle the bullpen is performing well and there’s no room for Myers, he can become trade bait to a team looking for another durable and inexpensive arm for a run at the post-season.