Monday, March 9, 2009

Mets Fifth Starter Now Up in the Air

Congratulations Omar Minaya!

Your lack of effort to get the Mets some legitimate starting pitching has put the team in such a huge hole, one can only wonder if they will ever get out of it.
The men competing for the Mets number five spot in the rotation have all failed miserably to distinguish themselves. Livan Hernandez has a 4.70 ERA in three games, Jon Niese has a 9.00 ERA in two games, Freddy Garcia has a 20.25 ERA in two games, and Tim Redding had a 135.135 ERA in just a third of inning in a game against the University of Michigan. That's right the University of Michigan!!

Also, keep in mind that Johan Santana is recovering from a weird elbow injury, Mike Pelfrey has a knee problem, and John Maine is recovering from an arm injury from last season.

The Mets are in big trouble, but they could have fixed it long ago. I may sound like a broken record, but the Mets low balled Derek Lowe on a initial three year $36 million contract. Lowe wanted an extra year, yet the Mets were unwilling to give it to him. Instead, Lowe got that extra year from the Mets rival the Atlanta Braves.

The Mets could have signed a guy like Jon Garland, who is a decent number three or four starter; the Mets passed and Garland signed on with the loaded Arizona Diamondbacks.

Even in bad economic times, there was pitching to be had, but the Mets didn't want to bite on anyone. They played it conservatively and now have nothing left except questions about the health and strength of their starting rotation.

To win in baseball, a team needs good starting pitching. Outside of Santana, the Mets have mediocre starting pitching.

That said, the Mets may have no choice to but bring back Pedro Martinez. Martinez, for what it's worth, was a complete bust during his stay with the Mets. With exception of a brilliant 2005, Martinez spent more time on the DL than on the mound. When he pitched, Martinez was devolving into a five inning pitcher.

Martinez started only 48 games for the Mets from 2006-2008, compilng a record of only 17-15. From that, one can easily say that the Mets should let Pedro walk into the sunset.

Still, desperate times call for desperate measures. Martinez pitched three shut out innings for the Dominican Republic on Saturday's WBC game. Granted, it was against the Netherlands, but, then again, Tim Redding gave up five runs to a bunch of 19 year-old kids on Sunday.

Martinez could bring the same kind of energy he installed in 2005 when he came over from the World Champion Boston Red Sox. Even if Pedro's fastball tops at 91 and is now reduced to five or six innings in a start, that should be enough if he stays healthy all year.
Martinez is a smart pitcher, who uses guile and his knowledge of the strike zone to get people out. He is a better option than Hernandez who gives up 1000 hits every time he goes to the mound, or Garcia, whose fastball tops around 84, or Redding, who was never that good to begin with.

Martinez would be a perfect number five starter until the Mets find a willing trade partner in July to bring in a younger arm to help the rotation if it needs it at that time. When that happens, they can extend their rotation to six to give guys an extra day off or to throw Martinez into the bullpen in a long-relief role.

The Mets need to get off to a fast start in 2009, and a healthy Martinez would be a perfect stop gap for the first two and a half months until the Mets can find something better.

Go bring back Pedro, Omar; the Mets need him now more than ever.

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