Thoughts on the State of the Mets’ Starting Pitching

By Danny Abriano

I was in Punta Cana, DR from Thursday to tonight, which meant that I had awesome time but no cell phone service.  It was liberating and awesome, and the only “big” news I missed was Phil Hughes signing with the Twins.  After landing back in the City, I saw that Scott Kazmir had agreed to sign with the Athletics.

Jul 26, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia (58) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Before the offseason kicked into gear, I wanted the Mets to sign one of Josh Johnson, Tim Hudson, or Scott Kazmir.  It’s December 2nd, the Mets haven’t signed a starting pitcher, and the three pitchers that were on my wish list are all off the board.  It’s unfortunate, but the only signing that stung is Kazmir’s.

The Mets – with 2015 rotation options that should include Matt Harvey, Jonathon Niese, Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee, Jenrry Mejia, Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, and Jacob deGrom, should only be interested in signing pitchers who will command no more than two guaranteed years – otherwise be blocking young pitchers who should be both ready and deserving in 2015 and beyond.  Johnson, Hudson, and Kazmir all signed for two years or less, while Hughes agreed to a three year deal with Minnesota worth $24 million.

Josh Johnson would’ve been a high risk, high reward signing, but he took less money to go to San Diego.  Translation?  He wasn’t an option for anyone but San Diego.

Tim Hudson would’ve been another solid get, but he was snatched up quickly by the Giants.  It was later reported that Hudson (who signed for two years) would’ve considered the Mets or another team in the northeast, but I don’t really buy that.

I started to come around lately on the idea of Phil Hughes.  However, although the average annual value he got was relatively low, I wouldn’t have given him three years if I were the Mets.

Scott Kazmir, though, would’ve been a great fit.  It was reported weeks ago by Adam Rubin of ESPN that the Mets weren’t interested in Kazmir, and I never understood why.  He’s entering his age 30 season, has regained his velocity, is coming off a very solid 2013 campaign, and will be making $11 million annually over the course of his two year deal with Oakland.

Where do the Mets turn now?

They have two rotation spots open, and the expectation was that they would sign a second tier free agent and a low base salary guy (think an Aaron Harang type).  Those low base salary guys are still out there, but the second tier guys are dropping like flies.

At this point, the Mets may be better served handing rotation spots to Jenrry Mejia and Rafael Montero out of spring training if the alternative is signing Bronson Arroyo (who they’re either interested in or not interested in, depending on which report you believe).

With starting pitching options starting to dwindle, something will have to give.  The one strong suit the Mets have is starting pitching depth, and it wouldn’t be the craziest thing to let it roll with what they have.

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