After a 5-13 start and watching half this team end up on the disabled list, I didn’t think I would ever write this post. But so help me, the Mets have stayed alive thanks in part to some unexpected contributions and some great starting pitching.
But let’s be honest here people. This overachieving group of players are not World Series contenders. Sure, it’s a been a fun to watch these guys play their hearts out, but we can’t expect it to last another 81 games. We’ve already seen some regression in the forms of Dillon Gee, Justin Turner, Jonathon Niese and more.
Therefore, my question to you is really quite simple. Instead of just writing this off, saying “yeah, it was a good first half” and selling the farm, why can’t the Mets make themselves better? Why can’t they be buyers at the deadline, instead of sellers? Yes I know, money. But there are some options out there that can help in the second half and not simultaneously bankrupt the team.
In my opinion, the lineup is set. With David Wright, Jose Reyes and (hopefully) Ike Davis returning, I believe they have enough pop to keep pace with any team in the National League. Dan Murphy has been performing admirably, Josh Thole has to come around eventually and maybe Jason Bay can perform better when he has protection around him (fingers crossed).
It’s the rotation that concerns me. Johan Santana has not pitched in a year and a half and we have no idea what to expect from him when he returns. Yes, we are hoping he will be ace he was before he went down, but we really don’t know. R.A. Dickey has been solid, sporting a 3.61 ERA after a pretty horrendous April. Dillon Gee started 8-1, but has given up four runs or more in three of his last four starts. Mike Pelfrey is still an inconsistent as ever. Jonathon Niese and Chris Capuano have both been serviceable, but can they really keep it up for another half season?
The Mets need to bring in at least one or two decent starters at the deadline to be able to continue to contend. Obviously there is no way they can build a staff that can hold a candle to the Phillies staff, but there are some good names that should be available for a decent price at the deadline.
1. Paul Maholm – 6-9, 2.96 ERA, 75 K’s, 42 BB’s, 1.18 WHIP
The Pirates are actually a decent team this year, which is why they would be wise to sell high with Maholm, whose 2.96 ERA and 1.18 WHIP are way above his career numbers in those departments. Maholm has been on fire recently, allowing two earned runs or less in eight of his past ten starts.
2. Erik Bedard – 4-6, 3.00 ERA, 85 K’s, 26 BB’S, 1.11 WHIP
Yes, Bedard is on the disabled list, again. But the lefty is quietly having a great season in Seattle, posting a shiny 1.11 WHIP and a 3.00 ERA. Seattle is on the decline and may be looking to move Bedard while he still has some value. The injury hurts that value a bit, but that may play right into the Mets favor as perennial contenders such as the Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers may shy away from trading for him. The Mets could slip in and get him for cheap.
3. Jeremy Guthrie – 3-12, 4.18 ERA, 78 K’s, 32 BB’s, 1.33 WHIP
Don’t let that W-L record fool you, as the Orioles have just been a bad team. Guthrie may not look great, but in his first 12 starts before the Orioles fell off the face of the Earth, Guthrie posted a 3.24 ERA. The Orioles are now 18 games out in the AL East and have a good amount of young arms who are rising fast, which makes Guthrie expendable. He has been an underachiever in Baltimore for years and maybe a change of leagues and scenery could be just what he needs to bounce back.
4. Brett Myers – 3-9, 4.87 ERA, 84 K’s, 37 BB’s, 1.37 WHIP
The owner of the baseball’s worst record at 30-62, the Astros will be in sell, sell, sell mode for the next three weeks. On the top of that list will be Myers. Myers has certainly shown his age this season, but could still be a valuable fourth starter in the Mets rotation and will bring veteran leadership to help guys like Niese and Gee.
5. Wandy Rodriguez – 6-6, 3.52 ERA, 82 K’s, 33 BB’s, 1.34 WHIP
Wandy will not come cheap, but the Astros are the worst team in baseball so nobody is off limits at the moment. He has made 101 starts since 2007, logging a 3.33 ERA with 1.28 WHIP and a solid 2.87 K/BB ratio. He has hit a bit of a rough patch, allowing five earned runs in three of his past four starts. That could be a good thing for teams interested, and that may lower his value just a bit.
Longshot: Felix Hernandez – 8-7, 3.19 ERA, 140 K’s, 43 BB’s, 1.15 WHIP
Alright, a HUGE longshot, I know. King Felix has been on the trade block for about two years now and everyone is wondering when he is going to move. With Seattle slipping and Hernandez coming off his first Cy Young, his value won’t get much higher. The Mets would have to give up the farm to get him and probably don’t have the prospects or the money to even consider taking on his five-year, 108 million dollar contract, but hey I’ve seen weirder things happen. It’s definitely possible that King Felix will end up in New York, but just not with the team we are hoping for.
Some other names to keep an eye on:
Kevin Correia, Pittsburgh Pirates
Hiroki Kuroda, Los Angeles Dodgers
Livan Hernandez, Washington Nationals
Ryan Dempster, Chicago Cubs
It’s unfortunate that the Mets are broke, because now would be a great time for them to pull out their wallets and make a huge trade to jumpstart them into contention. But since that can’t happen, the scouts need to work overtime to try and pull a diamond out of the rough.