I know there are a lot of people out there wondering how Glavine will be replaced. In regards to the '08 Glavine, I do not think it will be all that hard. Keith Law says it best and this is the main reason why I am not sorry he is gone.
Glavine's stuff is just about gone. His fastball is only 80-84 mph and looks softer than that, almost like BP fastballs. His curveball is a big slow roller around 75-77 mph, and his changeup -- once a plus pitch -- is fringe-average, mostly 74-75 mph, but the way his arm slows as he throws it is a tip-off to observant hitters. His command is good, but needs to be almost perfect, and his game plan is to avoid contact at all costs. If he's not getting a generous strike zone, he's in trouble because his stuff is so hittable, and he doesn't have a pitch with which he can fool hitters.
I just saw too many games where he just had nothing and if he was not getting an inch off the plate, he was done. You could tell if Glavine was going to have a 'good' day or a 'bad' day from how the umpire was calling the first pitches. Full count on the first few batters? Glavine was going to get shelled because he was not getting a generous zone. I do not think Glavine was doing anything different for the most part on this 'good' days and 'bad' days, but he needed assistance on the 'good' ones.
Yes, he gave us innings. Yes, he did some good things for this team. However, he is an aging Hall of Famer that is way past his prime and his usefulness. Give me a first round pick in '08 and someone else who can get remotely close to his 200 innings instead. It was time the Mets and Glavine part ways and those of you who think the Mets will miss him more than they think will not be saying that as he owns a 4.75 to 5.00 ERA mid-way through the year and labors through yet another season.
For Atlanta, the move has a second ramification beyond the money spent on the contract. Glavine was a Type A free agent, and by signing him before the arbitration deadline, Atlanta ceded its first-round draft pick to the Mets. New York now has the 18th pick, and the 20th pick if it doesn't sign a Type A free agent of its own, while Atlanta won't pick until the second round if it chooses not to offer arbitration to Andruw Jones. It's strange to see an organization that built a long run of success on scouting and player development give up a draft pick for a one-year player who might be a good fifth starter if everything breaks right, and it won't help the Braves restock their farm system after a cupboard-emptying July, when they dealt prospects to Texas for Mark Teixeira.
In regards to the Braves staff, they have two legit frontline starters. Glavine fits much better in the framework of their team being he will be a #3, #4, or #5 for them. With the Mets, Willie would have contiually treated him like their ace and probably would have been starting game one or two of any potential playoff run to maximize his usage in the playoffs. The Braves bolstered their rotation at the cost of a first round draft pick, but the Mets are clearly better off in my eyes. No more Glavine to shake his head at the Mets celebrating and no more hoping the umps are on our side when he starts. I for one, am happy.
Replacing the 200-1/3 innings that Glavine gave the Mets in 2007 will be the tougher of the two because the best free-agent starters - Carlos Silva, Kyle Lohse and Livan Hernandez - really don't belong at the top of a rotation. It will take a trade and though the Mets' farm system is shallow, Minaya believes there is enough to get someone who fits the description. He said he even is willing to combine major league players with prospects to get such a pitcher.
He added that he would rather go with Mets prospects than the available free agent arms. "I think Mike Pelfrey has very good potential to (match) what's out there and better," he said.
If the price is right, Silva and Lohse are not bad choices. They make the Mets younger and give them the precious innings that were vacated by Glavine. Also, the Mets are not necessarily looking for ace. They can do it with a solid rotation, good offense, and good bullpen as in 2006. They also have three pretty good pitchers at the front end in Pedro, Maine, and Perez. Ace material these days? No, but #2 to #3 types which is just fine in a consistent rotation.
And no, Blanton is not the right guy. Unless they are pitching for a power armed difference maker, why waste the prospects? Is he really that much better than what is out there?