Thoughts on “Sticker Shock” & Phil Hughes

By Danny Abriano

Earlier today on Twitter, Mike Puma put out two tweets that were of interest.  The first discussed how the Mets felt about the current price for free agents, and the second had to do with a starting pitcher the Mets are interested in.  Let’s take them one at a time:

As of now, I’m in the “sit back and relax” portion of the fanbase – a portion that’s growing smaller by the day.  Still, tweets like the above one from Puma make me agitated.

I’m hoping that Puma is ad-libbing, but the fact that he put sticker shock in quotations makes me think someone in the Mets’ front office actually said it.

Hunter Pence was overpaid, Tim Lincecum was grossly overpaid, and a bunch of other players have been overpaid.  However, Jhonny Peralta wanting a three year deal isn’t something that should cause the Mets to have “sticker shock.”  Peralta is just 31 years old, and is one of two quality shortstops on the market (the other is Stephen Drew).

It’s amusing that Peralta’s camp is asking for “way more” than $45 million over three years (a general manager would have to be on drugs to give that to him), but looking for a deal that’s three years long (at a lower average annual value) is perfectly sane for someone of his caliber.

The second tweet Puma sent out noted that the Mets preferred Phil Hughes over Bronson Arroyo:

I don’t want the Mets to sign Arroyo, but I’m starting to come around a bit on Hughes.

Two of the pitchers who would’ve been a perfect fit for the Mets (Tim Hudson and Josh Johnson) have already signed elsewhere.  Hudson got a two year deal from the Giants and Johnson took less money to head to the Padres for 2014.

Sep 25, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Phil Hughes (65) pitches during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

As has been noted many times, the Mets aren’t desperate for starting pitching.  Because of that fact, they shouldn’t be looking to hand out any deal to a starting pitcher that’s longer than two years.

Hughes, 27, is coming off a dreadful 2013 season, and should be able to be had on a one or two year deal.  In 145.2 innings pitched over 29 games started in 2013, Hughes allowed 170 hits, walked 42, and struck out 121.  He had an ERA of 5.19 (his FIP was 4.50) and a 1.46 WHIP.

While Hughes’ numbers were ugly, his home/road splits were stark.  Away from the homer haven that is the new Yankee Stadium, Hughes posted an ERA of 3.88 to go along with a 1.35 WHIP.

Additionally, Hughes’ velocity was fine.  One thing he did in 2013 that was different than previous years, was all but abandon his curve (he only threw it 8.6 percent of the time).

Perhaps a neutral ballpark and getting away from the Yankees would help Hughes rediscover his form.

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