Jan 11

Jan. 11.10: A call to arms.

I had a Poll request over the weekend as to whom should the Mets target to improve their pitching. There are some decent arms, and some risks out there. There’s nobody, however, that cries out, “Sign me, sign me.”

Here’s the main names on the list: Joel Pineiro, Jon Garland, Doug Davis, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Ben Sheets, Chien-Ming Wang and Erik Bedard.

The Mets are talking with Smoltz and still are considering Pineiro.

So, who do you want?

Post your comments here and vote in the poll.

Jan 09

Jan. 9.10: Mets looking at pitching.

The Mets are interested in bolstering their rotation. Better late than never. Among the names left in the market are Joel Pineiro, Jon Garland, Doug Davis, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Ben Sheets, Chien-Ming Wang and Erik Bedard.

The Mets are talking with Smoltz which does nothing in terms of making them younger, but if he’s on – at this stage he’s a four or five – he could be valuable. He did pitch well down the stretch last year. Yeah, I’d like a young stud, but there aren’t any out there.

Sheets, Wang and Bedard, coming off injuries, represent the biggest risk.

Dec 26

Dec. 26.09: Pitching market not great ….

The real trend-setter for starting pitcher’s contracts isn’t John Lackey but Randy Wolf, he of the 101-85 career record in 11 years (basically 10-9 a season), who signed a three-year contract with Milwaukee for $29.75 million.

Ben Sheets, despite his injury history, wants $12 million per season and Joel Pineiro wants a four-year deal with a higher annual average than Wolf. Aroldis Chapman, the Cuban defector who has never thrown a pitch in the major leagues, has a $15.5 million offer on the table from the Red Sox.

Also, lurking are Pedro Martinez, Erik Bedard, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson and Brett Myers. There are three Hall of Famers there, but that’s in the future and past tenses. Present tense, well, they aren’t much better than whom the Mets have now.

For the Mets to add pitching, their choices are to overpay for mediocrity, or in the case of Sheets, take a health gamble. The Mets are gambling their current rotation will progress, and if it doesn’t, then at least they have the economics on their side (save Oliver Perez).

Not encouraging, is it?

Jan 19

Sheets: Risk/Reward.

The more I think about it, the more I believe there is an upside to signing Ben Sheets. Yes, he has an injury history, but his history also includes 31 starts and 198 innings last season with Milwaukee.

The market is running away from Sheets, but the Mets should be able to sign him to a year plus an option with a contract loaded with incentives. If Sheets proves healthy, he’d be a great pick up.

Of course, signing Sheets shouldn’t be the Mets only move with spring training a month away. There’s still Randy Wolf and Andy Pettitte to consider, not to mention Oliver Perez. Remember, we’re talking about the fourth or fifth starter, so I wouldn’t dismiss Pettitte so easily.

Jan 13

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.