Jul 08

Mets’ pitching options: Perez first.

PEREZ: In a happier time.

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.

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Jun 29

Oswalt over Lee

Both Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee are available on the trade market, but considering all that’s going on around the Mets these days with Johan Santana, Oswalt is the best fit.

With Santana struggling, and reports he’s lost three to four mph. off his fastball and he’s no longer as elite as he used to be, the Mets must be farsighted about whom they bring in, as they are looking to bolster the front end of the rotation.

Given that, unless there was a chance to sign Lee long term, I believe the proper route would be Oswalt as you are addressing your pitching needs over the next three years for the cost of top prospects, presumably guys like Angel Pagan and Jenrry Mejia.

To surrender your blue chips for answers down the road is one thing. To surrender them for a rental is quite another. This thinking might be different if Santana were Santana, but he’s not, and that must be factored into the equation.

Jun 14

Friend: Oswalt would OK deal to Mets.

Just because Roy Oswalt told a friend he would accept a trade to the Mets doesn’t mean he’s in Manhattan on the off-day looking at apartments.

OSWALT: Won't come cheap.

Depending on what “friend’’ you talk to, Oswalt said he’d also accept trades to Philadelphia, St. Louis, the Yankees, Texas and Washington Nationals. However, if it means getting out of Houston, a chance at the playoffs and perhaps an extension, the list of places suddenly favorable to Oswalt could grow.

The Mets have been getting sterling pitching from rotation fill-ins RA Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi – together they are 9-2, but Takahashi is only 2-1 as a starter – but that’s not to say all their pitching concerns have been answered.

We don’t know how long this run will last as neither Dickey nor Takahashi are proven over the long haul. We don’t know that about Jon Niese, either, and John Maine continues to throw 88.

If the Mets are to get Oswalt, they should strike now while it is early. The closer to the deadline, the more the Astros will be asking.

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May 25

May 25.10: Oswalt: Go for it.

The odds are long against pulling the trigger on this deal, but the Mets must seriously consider making a decisive and early run at Roy Oswalt to get an edge on the field before the trade deadline.

Make the run now as the price figures to spike in July.

And, the sooner the better, while the Mets are still considered a competitive team. How long that lasts is questionable with three-fifths of the rotation – suspect to begin with – out indefinitely.

How often will Omar Minaya get a second chance like this? After holding a pat hand during the winter, the Mets’ rotation is in shambles but now there’s the prospect of Oswalt, which would give them instant credibility as a contender. Minaya can redeem his winter with a simple phone call.

After playing a listless pat hand, he’s been now dealt a chance at an ace. Johan Santana, Oswalt and Mike Pelfrey would be as good as any trio in the league.

Oswalt is owed $31 million for this year and next with a $16 million club option for 2012. That’s a lot of money, but it is better well spent than Oliver Perez’s deal.

Oswalt also makes more sense than Cliff Lee in that his cost is definable, while Lee wants to test the market. Trading for Lee over Oswalt would be foolish, as it would be dealing for a hired gun.

For as bad as the Mets have played at times, they are still only five games behind the Phillies in the NL East. After winning two of three over the Yankees, there’s a sense of growing optimism. However, getting an Oswalt would legitimatize that optimism and spurn it to another level.

The odds might be gone, but go for it.

Dec 22

Dec. 22.09: The calm before the storm?

If there are other teams involved with Jason Bay, that could explain the silence from his camp. The mystery team, might have to make another deal to free up salary to make the trade.

The Yankees are reportedly talking trade about bringing in a pitcher, with Javier Vazquez’s name popping up. Would the Braves be interested if that were the case? Reports still are naming the Mariners, Giants and Angels. One report had the Mariners considering moving Cliff Lee. That would only mean the Yankees.

If this is true, then the Mets have fallen in Bay’s pecking order. Not that he appeared high to begin with.