Trading away reigning NL Cy Young award winner R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays has left the New York Mets with a hole in their rotation to start 2013. If the year were to kickoff today we’d likely see a rotation consisting of Johan Santana, Jonathon Niese, Matt Harvey, Dillon Gee, and ummm, uhhhh, well there’s……perhaps….maybe….????? The point is that the team is still looking at several options to fill the gap that currently exists and while names like Chris Young and Joe Saunders have recently been mentioned, in house candidates such as Aaron Laffey, Jenrry Mejia, Collin McHugh, Jeremy Hefner, and Zack Wheeler are also options.
According to Andy McCullough of the Star Ledger, we can now add Carl Pavano, Shaun Marcum, and Javier Vazquez to the list of players the team has checked in on.
Photo by Michael G. Baron
During the winter, the team has been in contact with both Shaun Marcum and Carl Pavano. Their scouts in the Puerto Rico winter league have watched one-time All Star Javier Vazquez, who is making a comeback after sitting out 2012. And there was also some interest in bringing back Chris Young, who posted a 4.15 ERA in 115 innings last season.
“Those are the types of starting pitchers with whom we’ve had conversations,” Alderson said.
Discussions between the Mets and Pavano have been “very preliminary,” said David Pepe, Pavano’s agent. “We’re definitely interested in that situation,” Pepe said. “Or any situation where he’s going to take the ball every fifth day, and take a team deep into games.”
The Mets are one of several clubs to check in on Pavano, the 37-year-old right-hander. He garnered infamy during his four-year tenure with the Yankees from 2005 to 2008. The Yankees paid him $39.95 million to pitch just 145 2/3 innings. His time there was fraught with calamity — various ailments for his right shoulder, Tommy John surgery on his elbow, broken ribs in a car crash, teammates questioning his commitment.
Pavano rehabilitated his career during the subsequent three seasons, averaging 214 innings and a 4.36 ERA with Cleveland and Minnesota. He signed a two-year, $16 million deal with the Twins heading into 2011. But he suffered from weakness in his shoulder throughout 2012. His velocity dropped. He did not pitch after June 1.
Marcum is certainly an intriguing option as the 31-year-old put up a 3.62 ERA from 2010 to 2012, but those numbers will likely mean other teams will be in on the bidding. That is, as we’ve all come to know, a recipe for the Mets backing out.
The team simply seems unwilling to pay market value for free agents if they deem that the market is inflated. Their thinking may payoff in the long term but for now, it leaves them unable to do anything to help the team in 2013. At some point I think the front office needs to realize that this is the price for doing business. I’m not saying they should shell out ridiculous multi-year contracts, but overpaying on a one or two year deal for a player that will help the team right away should be tolerable in a big market. I don’t stop putting gas in my car just because I think the prices are too high, I still need to find a way to get to work.