Braves get Lowe. What’s next?

Sixty million over four years got it done for Derek Lowe with the Braves. The Mets were a year and $24 million short. Oliver Perez, who should feel unwanted right about now, wants four years and the Mets are at three.

Ben Sheets is still out there, injured arm and all. So are Pedro Martinez and Randy Wolf. Whatever the signing, it has been a disappointing winter for the Mets regarding their starting pitching.

The Mets entered the offseason wanting to address their bullpen, but that includes getting starters capable of eating innings. It is not unfair to attach questions to four of the five starters after Johan Santana.

Mike Pelfrey: Will he continue to progress or hit a wall, which often happens in a pitcher’s development.

John Maine: Coming off surgery.

Tim Redding: A .500 pitcher last year with a lifetime losing record. OK, for a fifth starter, but the expectations could rise.

Fifth starter: To be determined. Jon Niese will compete. Bringing back Martinez might have to be the plan.

43 thoughts on “Braves get Lowe. What’s next?

  1. Going back to last post I don’t see the panic. Derek Lowe, never the star, never the ace, aging and barely a .500 pitcher the last 2 years. Not signing him wasn’t the mistake. Not going after CC was the mistake. He came to NY, why wouldn’t he have come to a different Borough? The Wilpons would have made up the $$ difference in jersies. They weren’t selling any Lowe jersies. Other than that, Lowe, OP, Wolf, there ain’t much difference.
    So Delcos is worried about the staff… Pelfrey why? He may hit a wall or he may very well have broken that wall and produce a whole good season instead of a part of one. Maine, maybe he’s a worry, maybe he’ back to 07…. Redding is certainly better than Pedro 08. So all they need to be the same is a guy as good as OP…. If Putz really makes the pen better and KRod isn’t poison and a choke in the clutch like Wagner then there pitching is better overall.
    Offense…. Castillo sucked because he came back from double knee surgery and he wasn’t ready. If the knees are better they won’t find a better # 2 man than him in the market…. The corner outfield spots are a concern, but is Dunn or Abreu an upgrade? If so sign one and be done…. If not they better hope F Mart progresses in a hurry.

  2. Steve- My point is that the other pitchers out there are not much of a dropoff from Lowe. Remember Lowe pitched the last 4 years in the best pitchers park in baseball in a weak division. His last 2 years in Boston his ERA was 4.47 and 5.42.

  3. I really don’t get the concern for Maine. He had a bone spur shaved down on the back of his shoulder. It was arthroscopic procedure, meaning they didn’t even cut him open but poke a few holes through his skin.

    The biggest thing is that the surgery, if you can call it that, was nothing structural at all. I would expect Maine to be completely healthy.

    As for Pelfrey, just because he had a breakthrough, now Mets fans are supposed to expect a step back? Why? So he threw more innings last year…who says he can’t take the next step forward? As long as he pitches even near to the way he did from June on, he should win 12-15 games, perhaps more if he pitches very well.

    And the Mets cannot panic just because Lowe is gone. I wanted him but to argue Steve’s point from the previous thread, Lowe was not the pitcher that was going to “put the Mets over the top” Just because he may or may not have been Omar’s first choice doesn’t mean he was going to make this team the World Series favorite.

    They’ll save some money be re-signing Perez, which they more than likely will, which they can then use to either get another starter or maybe add an offensive piece.

    Now if they don’t get Perez or even Wolf, you can be completely concerned, but your pessimism JD is very unfounded considering there are still pitchers there who were on the Mets list to begin with.

  4. Chiti, Good post. Except the C.C. thing you keep bringing up. The Yankees were not going to be outbid for his services no matter what. They outbid the competition by 60M. Castillo still had a .350 obp in a bad year coming off surgery. He is not Fonzie, but hes not Doug Flynn either.

  5. (4) Ray- I agree with you about CC. The Mets could have bid $160mm and the Yankees would have gone up to $200mm. He wasn’t coming here.

  6. JD, I agree with mrmet- there will be peace in the middle east before Omar signs Pedro to the the fourth starter. I can live with Ollie or Wolf there.

  7. Sadecki (6): I can’t argue that the Met could have outbid for CC. But, if Minaya really thought he needed a special guy to get over the hump, and his big guy was Lowe something is wrong. If he thought he needed the big guy then the big he should have tried for. Making Derek Lowe your big guy is kind of pathetic.
    But I do agree the difference between the guys left and Lowe is small. Hence this Lowe talk was not worthy based on his talent. And hey there are now 2 people not on the Castillo is the worst in the world club.

    mascot: Do you read your own stuff? You wanted Lowe but he wasn’t the guy to put your team over the top. Then why would you want him. Don’t answer… Thankyou Wilpons for not making a mascot your GM……

  8. I wanted him because I want to improve the team. He’s a good pitcher. He’s not a 4/60 pitcher and I never said he was going to put this team over the top.

    Keep cherry-picking my comments though to fit what you say.

  9. 4/60 is a lot of cash for a 35 yr old pitcher. Granted he’s never had a serious injury, but, there’s always a first time. I don’t blame the Mets for not stretching to 4/60.

    There are some deals on surface you think should be done, then something happens to prove right for not. I have a feeling this is one of those deals they’ll be happy to not have done later in the contract.

  10. Over the last few years when the Braves have signed at one or more FA pitchers that pitcher at some time have ended up on the DL list for an extended times over the next 2 seasons. So there could very well be problems for the Braves.
    Why don’t the Mets try and make a couple of trades. 1st see what the Padres would be asking for Jake Peavy. If the Braves want to pay out the nose for Lowe and we can make a decent trade for him why not do it. He would be much better then Lowe and would that not stick it in the Braves Face with Peavy a Met. And the 2nd trade work a deal with the Rangers for Young the Mets Take on Youngs 60 Million contract they get out from under his $16 million a year and trade Casillo for his total 18 million even if we pay say total of 5 million of his $ 18 million salary they would come out ahead with money freed up. Young could then go back to his 2nd base position. That would make a solid infield for the Mets.

  11. Delcos (12):You are correct. I’m just trying to be a positive force trying something different for the new year….

    Sam (10)… I’m glad the guy ain’t coming right now. I’m doubly glad he’s gonna go downhill in the NL East. I never wanted him. I have been consistent in opposing the signing of old average talent to long term deals. If they improved the pen as they claim all they need is a guy as good ass OP, maybe OP, and the rotation is better and the pen is better, and then pray the ??? pan out on O.

    paperweight (8): Do you shed tears when omeone says you ain’t Mr perfect….Remember I predicted you would turn on Lowe the instant he signed elsewhwere. Surprise surprise….

  12. I haven’t turned on Lowe at all. I mean, seriously, do you read or do you just get off on me responding to you?

    I like Lowe and think he will be a good pitcher for the Braves. But he’s not a $15mm/year pitcher and he’s not an ace. I never said he was. I said he was a guy that could have slotted in perfectly behind Santana if the price was right.

    I mentioned in virtually every thread about pitching that personally 3/42 is as high as I would go.

    I mean, you really cannot read. The Braves are the idiots, not Boras and Lowe.

  13. And on it goes…. Anyway the good thing is now that the braves have put all that money into Lowe, They wont have any money left for Peavy.

  14. (16) Sadecki: I guess he has become a new hobby. Whatever, he helps me pass the offseason….. The last of the negative Chiti for ’09…. The real question for you tho is do the Braves have any money left for the Wolf man. Sorry bout your new found Cards but I have to root for the Eagles. The good people of PA were very supportive of the Giants last year, even tho 99% around here are Steeler fans, and they want the Eagles in the big one so even tho I really want the Cards to win I’ll root for the Eagles and Steelers Sunday….

    empty paper head… OK, I bite. What exactly is a 15 million dollar pitcher. Please, pray tell… all the GMs and agents are dying to know…. as is the late and not so great Chiti… Take your time, I’m gonna read all your posts, well not all, I’ll be snoring well before I finish a couple lines of your incessant and boring salary lectures. (and incorrect so called facts you spew out with no basis) and then I’ll be going to the Pitt game tomorrow nite so you have plenty of time to show your brilliance….. A 15 million $$ pitcher is….. blah blah blah…. I can’t wait! I bet it will be so great the HoF will relent and change the plaques.

  15. Firstly, I love that Lowe was insulted that the Mets offered him $36 million…I wish someone would insult me like that. Am I disappointed that the Mets missed out on Lowe – yes. Do I think that Omar overplayed his hand – sure. But frankly as good and consistent and durable as Lowe is, no way is he a $15 million dollar pitcher. And my bet is that this will hurt ATL in the end more than it helps.

    Frankly IMO Omar should make a reasonable 4/$44 offer to OP with a timetable. I would like Omar to get OP and Wolf (if reasonable 2/$18 or 3/$25 deal) if possible. Sign a good utility guy and another LOOGY and call it an offseason. With a rotation of Santana, Pelfrey, OP, Maine, Wolf, and Redding and a bullpen with Putz & KRod, this team can be alright.

  16. Chiti, This has been such a boring offseason I am glad you found a hobby that you enjoy. I told mrmet that you were a rascal, but he still wants to play with you. Oh, well boys will be boys.

  17. Chili, are you advocating a six man rotation? We havent seen that since the Bobby V days.

  18. Lowe is not a 60 million dollar pitcher and unless the mets were bored and just wanted to stick it to the yanks why would we go after CC?

    We are not getting him anyway unless we are more stupid than the yanks.

    case in point, is ARod worth the money he got from Texas? I rather have DWright and his 5 million dollar contract.

  19. John you bring up a good point about the injuries and sophomore jinx.

    Maine and Johan are coming off surgeries, Pelfrey still has questions after his breakout season last year. Redding is a 500 pitcher – which is fine for a #5.

    Lowe would have been great as a #4, Ollie is fine as well. I just don’t like that he has too many 6 and done games or 2 and done or 4 and done…

    Perhaps we really do need Manny. A good offense can hide an avg pitching staff.

  20. Saw this morning in the Times that the Mets interest in Sheets is picking up. I know the injury history and I know that something must be scaring teams away, but if the Mets can re-sign Perez or if they go the Randy Wolf route, I’d love to see Sheets here on a one-year deal with semi-reasonable incentives that would kick in an option for 2010.

    Rotation would be excellent.

  21. The concern with Pelfrey is the “Verducci Effect”, where a pitcher under 25 who has a significant increase in innings is prone to regression the following season. There are numerous examples of this throughout baseball. Now, there is a thought that since he throws mostly fastballs, this may not be an issue, but there is reason for some concern. If oyu look at all of his stats, he was far from a dominant force.

    Lowe is actually quite a good pitcher, though I agree with the idea that he may not be worth $15 million in yrs 3 and 4. He is an upgrade over Ollie, that’s for sure. Doesn’t walk people, generates a lot of ground balls, does not give up a lot of homers. Not an ace, but, he’d have been a good #2 for the Mets.

    It will be interesting to see what Omar does now. Ollie could be back, but he may have to overpay. Wolf is not a good pitcher, and has been prone to injury. Garland is not that good either. Sheets is very interesting, since he has shown Ace-like potential. the concern there is his arm. There were reports that his shoulder was messed up.

    I don’t see a trade, since the farm is kind of bare right now.

  22. (22) Dave- In terms of coming off the surgery, I’d be more inclined to be worried about Santana than Maine simply because that at least involved a piece of cartilage.

    Maine had a few holes poked in his shoulder and they shaved a spur off his shoulder blade. Nothing structural so I’d be quite shocked if he isn’t completely healthy by the time ST begins.

    And no, I’m not worried about Santana, either. If he could pitch the way he did with a torn meniscus, I think he’ll be fine with a repaired one.

    As for Pelfrey, I really think the media and many Mets fans love to put the negative spin on things. Maybe he does regress, but his biggest problem was never home runs or extra base hits…it was control. And from June onward, his control was excellent.

    Now maybe he gets hurt because of the jump in innings, but why don’t I hear anything like that about Tim Lincecum? Or how about Jon Lester? Never heard a thing about it in regards to Chien-Ming Wang.

    It’s an anit-NY thing, in my opinion. When the Mets had an aging rotation in ’06 and ’07, that was everyone’s big bugaboo, yet when the Braves brought back Tom Glavine last year, giving them to 40+ pitchers in their rotation (and we saw what happened), the media creamed themselves and many picked Atlanta to *win* the World Series.

    The double standard is sickening.

  23. “Now maybe he gets hurt because of the jump in innings, but why don’t I hear anything like that about Tim Lincecum? Or how about Jon Lester? Never heard a thing about it in regards to Chien-Ming Wang.”

    There was concern expressed about Lincecum and Lester. But remember, with Lester, Boston has gradually increased his innings. Pelfrey had a huge jump. As for Wang, he did wind up injured, so that helps to prove the theory. And there was concern expressed about Chamberlain last yr.

    As for Maine, reports were that they removed the “largest bone spur” ever. Now, that could be hyperbole, but in 07 he had a hip issue, then the spur last yr. That’s cause for some concern.

  24. Very good point on Maine, I forgot about the hip issue.

    As for Wang, I know he had arm trouble his first season in the bigs in ’05, but that wasn’t a result of a jump in innings. He pitched 218 and 199 1/3 in ’06 and ’07. Last year he hurt his foot running the bases.

  25. Hope i’m not jinxing anything, but Johan didn’t fall under the Verducci Effect. Actually neither did Pedro. Ollie didn’t get hurt either, he just didn’t pitch well following his 2004 season with the Bucs. I think you can easily find players who do not fall into this Verducci effect too.

  26. (28) Steve- It certainly happens and is something to be cognizant of, but too many “experts” make it sound like it’s a given.

    Plus, Pelfrey is a big, big guy, which can’t hurt.

  27. Mr.Met: Don’t know if you caught the MLB Hot Stove report last night. Bobby V was on speaking about the pitchers in Japan who can throw sometimes as many as 200 pitches in a bullpen session and then come back the next day due to their pitching mechanics. I would think that if a pitcher has poor mechanics, it might lead them onto that Verducci list more than anything else.

  28. I did see that Steve. It was interesting. To relate it to Pelfrey, he has solid mechanics. Doesn’t put excess stress on his arm and I think he uses a lot of drive from his legs, which is good.

    Somewhere along the line in the last 30 years, pitchers have been programmed to not go over a certain amount of innings.

    If your arm is going to flame out, it’s going to flame out, but it certainly didn’t hurt guys like Tom Seaver or Jim Palmer or Juan Marichal who were throwing close to 300 innings every year.

  29. He’s old and he spurned us. To hell with him.
    Omar needs to focus on the young stuff. I think its actually time mets think about building a young team instead of keeping up with the Jones’ or the yankees for that matter. Just my 3 cents.

  30. ” I would think that if a pitcher has poor mechanics, it might lead them onto that Verducci list more than anything else.”

    Which is why Lincecum may not fall victim.

    Of course the Verducci Effect may not happen to ALL pitchers, but the research shows that a big increase in innings over 1 yr leads to issues the following year in a majority of situations, be they injuries or decreased effectiveness.

  31. As for Johan, two things to remember.

    1. He started out in the pen. It was not until 2004 that he became a full time starter.

    2. His innings increase was from 108 in 02 (14 starts in 27 appearances) to 158 in 03 (18 starts, 45 appearances) to 228 in 04 (34 starts at age 25)

    By bringing him along slowly, the Twins were able to minimize the VE.

  32. Some Verducci info from his Feb 08 column.

    “Here’s the way I track it: Find major league pitchers 25-and-under who broke the 30-inning rule. In some cases a pitcher’s innings the previous season may have been artificially depressed, such as by injury, so I’ll use his professional high for the baseline, or, in the case of a recent draftee like Kennedy, his college workload. All innings count (minors, majors, postseason).

    In 2005 and ’06 I found 17 pitchers I defined as at-risk of the YAE. None made it through the next year without an injury or a higher ERA. Ten of them broke down, the most seriously hurt being Francisco Liriano, Gustavo Chacin, Adam Loewen, Scott Mathieson and Anibel Sanchez. Eleven of them had worse ERAs, by an average of about a run and a half. Remember, it’s a general rule; there are exceptions, the superlative Justin Verlander being one.”

    His identified pitchers for last season:

    1. Ian Kennedy – injury/poor performance
    2. Fausto Carmona – injury
    3. Ubaldo Jimenez – no injury, but a 102 inning increase
    4. Tom Gorzellany – injury
    5. Dustin McGowan – injury
    6. Chad Gaudin – traded to Cubs. moved to pen
    7. Yovani Gallardo – freak knee injury on a collision. tore his ACL.

  33. Just curious for opinions….are pitchers home/away splits indicative of how good a pitcher is? or is it indicative of a pitcher just being very comfortable with his home park and park dimensions? Reason why I ask is even though I was a supporter of signing Lowe, his 2008 home/road splits were pretty telling…

    Home: 2.30 ERA 88 hits 117 IP
    Away: 4.42 ERA 106 hits 94 IP

  34. Comfort factor and luck.

    I know some mounds “feel” different according to things I’ve read/heard from pitchers. Also, you have to remember that Lowe was pitching his home games at Dodger Stadium…big, big, big time pitcher’s park.

  35. To bring a Mets perspective into it, here are their primary starters from last year and their home/road splits:

    Pelfrey: (H)3.02 ERA 109 hits 119 ip

  36. sorry..hit wrong button!

    Pelf: (R) 4.76 ERA 100 hits in 81 1/3 ip

    Santana: (H) 2.09 ERA 99 hits in 120 1/3 ip
    (R) 3.00 ERA 107 hits in 114 ip

    Perez: (H) 4.50 ERA 76 hits in 96 ip
    (R) 3.95 ERA 91 hits in 91 ip

    Maine: (H) 4.76 ERA 55 hits in 64 1/3 ip
    (R) 3.69 ERA 67 hits in 75 2/3 ip

    Pedro: (H) 5.00 REA 41 hits in 45 ip
    (R) 6.05 ERA 86 hits in 64 ip

  37. mrmet0805 (23)

    I agree. Get one of Wolf or OP and go get Sheets. If Sheets is healthy and esp healthy at year end he would be a Big plus.

  38. Boras must be the modern day PT Barnum.

    CC – a great pitcher was signed for 7 years and 40 million more than he should have signed for. This for a 300 pound pitcher.

    Then Lowe gets for years at 15 per.

    It must be fun proving a sucker is born every minute.

  39. Boras isn’t CC’s agent. The best thing that happened to Sabathia, and Burnett for that matter, is that the Yankees missed the playoffs last season.