Free Agent Chuckers for 2005
It is time for me to be impatient again and look towards next year since the Mets very un-awe-inspiring play against the Twins has left me with no choice. This time I am going to key in on the 2005 starting rotation.
On a side note, is anyone else just horrified when they come up with the bases loaded? Last night, with two K's in row (Cameron & Williams) to kill a would be rally is just terrible. At least put the ball in play and give us a chance. Choke up on the damn bat.
Below are the major guys that will be available and their ages in 2005.
Matt Clement, ChC, RHP, 31
Odalis Perez, L.A., LHP, 27
Pedro Martinez, Bos., RHP, 34
Derek Lowe, Bos., RHP, 31
Matt Morris, St. L., RHP, 31
Kris Benson, Pit., RHP, 30
Russ Ortiz, S.F., RHP, 31
Eric Milton, Min., LHP, 30
Brad Radke, Min., RHP, 32
Freddy Garcia, Sea., RHP, 29
Kevin Millwood, Phi, RHP, 30
I used to be all about signing Matt Morris, but I am retracting that statement. He is now 6 - 5 with a 4.05 ERA. He just does not have the stuff he had in 2001 and 2002 and will be looking for #1 starter type money. Pedro "El Diva" Martinez and Derek Lowe should be taken off the list as their added ERAs top 10, which is not good to say the least and both should have considerable contract demands (Lowe is represented by Boras, which means he'll be looking for $12,000,000 per year no matter how bad he looks). I am crossing off Ortiz, Milton, and Radke off my list as they are just not who I would want on my team. Radke has a career of 4.28 and just think we can do better. Ortiz is sporting a 4.04 ERA and has a career ERA of 3.98. I believe he is overrated anyway, his 21 wins last year where pushed along by some serious offense. On top of that, he is a member of the Atlanta Braves organization, which is the equivalent of my girlfriend sleeping with my most hated enemy before we dated. Milton has never posted an ERA under 4.00 in any full season that he has played. Millwood, will be looking for too much and frankly is not as good as him and Boras think. That leaves the four players that should be up for the honor to wear the best looking uniform in the majors, which would the New York Metropolitans uniform. Perez is somewhat of a head case, but he still has a small 3.20 ERA and a very good K/BB ratio. Also working in his favor is the fact that he is a lefty. Benson may be considered a work in progress and is not the safest bet. He has #1 stuff, but just cannot seem to put it together. Freddy Garcia is certainly an option, he may cost close to $10,000,000, and he has been erratic over the last three years. He has a career ERA of 3.91 and just scares me because you are not sure which Freddy Garcia you are getting. Finally, that leaves Clement. He is a guy that intrigues me because he seems to have gotten better in the past three years, but still posted a 4.11 ERA in 2003. He has great stuff and should be a relative bargain.
Choices, choices, choices. If it were up to me, I would step back from going after the higher priced option, which would leave Freddy Garcia out. The risk that you take with him is too much for the money he may command. That leaves Perez, Clement, and Benson. All of these guys should be in the cheaper than Garcia and have plenty of tools to let Peterson work with. All can get their heaters in the 90's although Clement & Benson have the best stuff out of the group. Benson is just an enigma of sorts. He has great stuff but his ERA over the last three years is 4.70, 4.97, and 5.37. That is a negative trend that I do not need to continue to see while he is on my team. I think he may prove to be too large of a project in the end and just not worth it. That leaves Clement and Perez. Perez is someone who is rumored to have a bad attitude. Also, it is not known if Leiter will be back or not. If he is not back, a lefty may be more enticing to pursue than a right-handed pitcher to balance out the rotation. However, Perez is someone that the Dodgers will most likely pursue after his contract is up. He will most likely be offered arbitration and cost the Mets a draft pick if he is signed. That leaves Matt Clement. Clement has looked like a different pitcher in the later years than he did in the beginning of his career. He just really looks like he has learned to pitch and his stuff can be flat out nasty. Also, he will most likely not be pursued by the Cubs to re-sign. With Zambrano, Maddux, Wood, and Prior and bevy of cheap, talented pitchers in their system (i.e. Angel Guzman, Sergio Beltre, Bobby Brownalie, Andy Sisco, etc.), they may not even offer him arbitration since they will be looking to cut costs in other areas to bolster their outfield (They will not pick up Alou's option, and Paterson is stinking up the joint). That makes him a guy that may not even cost any draft picks. Between the possibility of him not being offered arbitration, making the rotation younger, and his flat out nasty stuff, Clement is the person I would pursue in the free agent market next year to fill out the rotation.
You think you have a better idea? Throw in your two cents in the comments section.
An excerpt from the article:
High on Humber: Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson made a specific recommendation after watching videotapes of the top college pitchers.
Draft Old Dominion's Justin Verlander. And if you can't take him, grab Philip Humber of Rice. So Peterson was thrilled when Humber was available for the Mets at No. 3.
"I loved him," Peterson said. "He's a grinder, a real fierce competitor. He has three quality pitches and commands his fastball well. His curveball is a real plus pitch."
Peterson said Humber is close to being ready for the majors.
"The gap is small," he said. "A few tweaks, a few minor things and he'll be ready. He's a strike-thrower."
Peterson is anxious for the Mets to sign Humber. His plan is to have Humber report to Birmingham, Ala., to have his delivery analyzed at the American Sports Medicine Institute.
"I want to get some data on him, then have him join us for a day so he can throw a bullpen," Peterson said. "I'm anxious to see him."
The Mets have started talks with Humber's agent, Mike Moye. Humber will command a signing bonus of at least $3 million.
I like the Humber pick more and more each day. I know it's early, but I need to be optimistic about something.
My take, with Harden, Hudson, Mulder, Redman, and Joe Blanton, who is at AAA and ready to step in, he sure is expendable. Question is how much would it take to get him. I think this at least warrants a call from Mr. Duquette to Mr. Bean to feel him out.