If you’ve been following the Mets it’s not hard to read the tealeaves as far as which direction they’ll go in adding a starter to their rotation.
I know a lot of you aren’t going to like this, but my guess is their first option will be Oliver Perez.
Perez’s rehab so far has gone well, and with around $20 million still remaining on his contract, I see them spending that money first because finances are a big issue with the team. They aren’t going to eat the contract and Perez’s contract, injury history and erratic performance make him impossible to deal. Therefore, his real value to the Mets isn’t as a trade commodity but in the hope he’ll find it.
From what I’ve heard, the asking price in terms of prospects is high for Cliff Lee, and regardless of their supposed interest in him over Roy Oswalt, I believe the Mets find it distasteful to offer all that for a rental, and that’s what it will be because they won’t pay what he’ll be asking.
The Astros are asking a lot for Oswalt – some reports have them asking for as many as three highly rated prospects – and aren’t willing to pick up any salary.
I believe the Mets are more likely to acquire a pitcher from the next tier down, say Dan Haren, who I think will be a good, albeit expensive, option. Even so, there’s still the issue of what to do with Perez.
Since it’s unlikely they’ll stick him in the bullpen, my thinking is the Mets will activate him after the All-Star break and give him at least two starts before making a deal.
The Mets went into the last off-season knowing they had pitching problems, but opted to stay intact.
They now have a second chance, and I think they’ll make the same decision.