December 01, 2006

The non-existing rotation

Ted Berg at Flushing's Fussings (SNY), writes a nice article about the state of the Mets and how he feels they should go about putting together a rotation for next year without trading Milledge. Here is a couple of exerts from the article:

The Mets lineup, especially for the length of time that Moises Alou stays healthy, will be among the best, if not the best, in the National League. What they need in their starting pitchers is reliability, not vulnerability. There's a reason Steve Trachsel won 15 games last year with an ERA right around 5.00: he pitched every fifth day. Any average pitcher the Mets find who can pitch consistently and avoid injury will likely rack up the wins, if only as a product of the inevitable run support.

As it stands right now, the Mets have only El Duque and John Maine likely set in their rotation. Behind them, they have a stable of young arms: Oliver Perez, Brian Bannister, Phil Humber, Mike Pelfrey and Jason Vargas.

With every day that passes, it appears less likely that the team will resign Tom Glavine, though I'm holding out hope. I'd also still love to see them land Barry Zito, who has started 34 or 35 games in six straight seasons, but the market for pitchers is now ridiculous. If Adam Eaton, who is neither good nor consistently healthy, can command 24 million over three seasons, Zito will probably pull in 15-20 million a year for five years or more.

If the team can find room in its budget for that, which is understandable, they will need to find at least one more proven Major Leaguer: if not Glavine, than maybe Gil Meche.

Beyond that, though, the best idea might be letting all those young pitchers duel for the last couple of spots in the rotation. The trade market is always enticing, but with Milledge as the most suitable candidate to replace Alou when he gets injured or Shawn Green if he struggles and Aaron Heilman an invaluable part of the bullpen now that Chad Bradford is headed elsewhere, the Amazins would be smart to hang on to their two most valuable trading chips.

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