The Futility Infielder

A Baseball Journal by Jay Jaffe I'm a baseball fan living in New York City. In between long tirades about the New York Yankees and the national pastime in general, I'm a graphic designer.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

 

Mending the Mets

With Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado and J.J. Putz on the disabled list for extended periods of time due to injuries, our New York-centric brethren over at ESPN asked a handful of Baseball Prospectus writers -- myself, Will Carroll, Christina Kahrl, and Kevin Goldstein -- to partake in a roundtable regarding what the Mets should do to navigate their current injury woes and remain in contention. They're three games behind the Philies, who are no juggernaut, and currently in the Wild Card lead, but it's tough to believe they can survive a race as constituted. Read here or here.

To me, pitching should still be their biggest concern:
If I'm the Mets, throwing Livan Hernandez and Tim Redding out there in the same rotation cycle, I'd start to sniff around the Mariners' Erik Bedard and see what it would take to acquire him. Granted, he's fragile, but he's certain to be available this summer, and he's pitching about as well as he ever has been. Better him than -- to go back to the Indians, who are roadkill waiting to be picked over by vultures -- Carl Pavano, because Bedard misses more bats.

If the price of Bedard is too steep -- and let's face it, the Mets aren't brimming with blue-chip prospects -- then Jarrod Washburn might be more attainable, particularly as he's more expensive ($10.35 million this year) and the ability to take on salary is something the Mets will need to draw on at some point in this process, given that they've got more holes than a Jarlsberg wheel. Washburn's not as good as his 3.22 ERA suggests, but he's a viable fourth starter. While they're at it, perhaps they can liberate Jeff Clement and throw him into the first-base mix. The Diamondbacks' Doug Davis is another pitcher who comes to mind, particularly as that team is DOA and always looking for salary relief.

For the relievers, LaTroy Hawkins is a name that comes to mind. He was pretty much run out of town on a rail by the Yankees last year, but he's done fantastic work with the Astros (47/13 K/BB in 43 2/3 innings, with just two homers allowed), and while he's currently closing games in Houston, the Astros are going nowhere.

...Even conceding the point that Hernandez has been serviceable (and 4.29 FIP is certainly that), you've still got Redding, a very flawed [John] Maine, a broken [Oliver] Perez, and a Mike Pelfrey who's pushing a 5.00 ERA, though that's one bombing coming off five straight quality starts. Maybe they don't break the bank for a Bedard, but they need another solid starter given that it's Johan Santana and a whole lot more going wrong than right.
That Bedard is a fragile injury case and Hawkins a guy who's as notable for his spectacular crashes and burns as for his above-average stretches only goes to show what a crapshoot the in-season trade market is. Personally, I'd fire Jerry Manuel before I'd invest to heavily in a deal, because I think he's one of the more ineffectual managers out there, and that the problems of Perez and Maine owe something to the manager's usage and ability to deal with them. Not that I think Omar Minaya, who failed to stock their corner outfield and rotation with adequate depth over the winter, should be let off the hook, but GMs generally don't get fired in-season.

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