Jan 25

Mets Signed Daisuke Matsuzaka To Compete For Fifth Starter

After several months of speculation, the New York Mets finally did the obvious and re-sign free-agent pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka to compete for the fifth spot.

He’ll go against Jenrry Mejia, recently signed left-hander John Lannan and prospects Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom.

MATSUZAKA: Competing for 5th starter role.

MATSUZAKA: Competing for 5th starter role.

Matsuzaka was signed to a minor league contract, which is what GM Sandy Alderson wanted from the outset with a veteran presence.

Once Matsuzaka, 33, straightened out his mechanics by speeding up his delivery, he closed on an upswing and finished at 3-3 with a 4.42 ERA in seven starts with the Mets.

Matsuzaka had a 10.95 ERA over 12.1 innings over his first three starts with the Mets, but after working with pitching coach Dan Warthen, he had a 1.37 ERA over his final four starts.

Speculation has Matsuzaka and Lannan moving to the lead because of their experience, and to give Mejia more time in his recovery from elbow surgery and Montero and deGrom in their development.

An advantage of going with Matsuzaka out of the gate is if gets off to a strong start – and the same applies to Lannan – it enhances their ability to make a trade at the July 31 deadline.

Did the Mets improve their rotation with a substantial name such as David Price, or solid starters such as Matt Garza or Bronson Arroyo?

No, but they improved more than their cynics thought they might. They signed three starters to fill the back end of their rotation in Bartolo Colon as their fourth starter, and Lannan and Matsuzaka to compete for the fifth starter role.

Do they have a playoff rotation? Not likely, but they have a rotation that could be solid enough to make .500 possible.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 27

A matter of time.

I guess I’m just like the Mets in a way, just passing the time until spring training. Even for teams with little chances, spring training brings anticipation and hope.

WRIGHT: Will Mets hold onto the dream?

I’m not going to bother you with posts about the Mets not going after guys like Matt Garza and Prince Fielder, because you know as well as I do that’s not going to happen. That’s not news, it is stating the obvious.

To answer the question everybody is asking: I don’t know when Bud Selig will step in and do something about the drowning-in-red-ink Mets. He does have a double standard, going hard after the Dodgers’ ownership while letting the Mets skate. Selig has agendas; it has been that way with him for a long time.

The Mets have close to a billion dollars in debt they must pay off in the next few years, and that doesn’t even count what they might be on the hook for in the Ponzi scandal. It’s not going to get any better any time soon.

Jose Reyes is one thing. They could justify not bringing him back based on their economics and his injury history. But, David Wright is another. He’s arguably the the image of the franchise the Mets haven’t had since Tom Seaver. Reading tweets the Mets aren’t going to trade him to the Phillies offer little consolation, because we can only imagine it is a matter of time.

Wright will be a Met until at least the end of July, but other than that there are no guarantees. Privately, the Mets regret not dealing Reyes when they had the chance to get something back. They gambled and lost they could compete in the second half. Privately, they realized they had no chance in keeping him.

They can’t afford to make a similar mistake with Wright. If he’s healthy and playing well and the team is going nowhere, then what’s the point in holding on to the dream that never happened?

Dec 23

Have to stop this kind of thinking

I think about whom the Mets might fill out their rotation with next summer, Pat Misch or Dillon Gee, or if they’ll sign Jeff Francis or Chris Young. I wonder if they’ll pull a deal a sign Matt Garza.

I think about all those things and wonder how they could possibly overtake the Phillies or even compete for a wild card. I concede that .500 is about the best they can hope for with that rotation. Maybe a little better if Carlos Beltran and Jason Bay come back healthy.

Then, I realize 2011 isn’t the objective, it isn’t the prize. I realize 2011 is a sacrificial lamb. The goal is to improve, be competitive and fuel your imaginations for a winter of spending next Christmas.

The future is not now.

Dec 21

Don’t be in a rush to deal Flores

Sorry for the absence. I’ve been ill lately and had to shut it down for a few days. This is the longest I’ve gone without a post since I started doing this and I apologize.

But, we haven’t missed much as the Mets continue to hope the prices will drop on whatever pitching talent is left out there. By most accounts there’s not much more than $4 million remaining in the Mets’ budget, and that won’t be enough to land Brandon Webb, the best remaining arm.

The Mets are looking at Freddy Garcia (but so are the Yankees), Chris Young and Jeff Francis. Young appears to be the most likely. There are other free-agent pitchers, such as Jeremy Bonderman and Kevin Millwood, but they don’t register much on the thrill meter. Nobody outside of Webb raises your pulse.

The name I keep hearing in the trade market is Tampa Bay’s Matt Garza, which would be appealing, but the reported cost would be shortstop prospect Wilmer Flores.

Trading prospects are always risky, but unless the return is great (and Garza doesn’t rank that high), I’d be reluctant to deal Flores because of the uncertainty of what could happen with Jose Reyes. If Reyes gets off to a good start and the Mets are committed to signing him to an extension, then Flores would be expendable.

However, if the Mets opt to shop Reyes at the trade deadline, or he leaves after the season as a free agent, it would be good to have Flores in the fold. But, to deal Flores now and then lose Reyes would leave a hole I don’t think Ruben Tejada would be able to fill.

Flores is still several years away, but his value should only increase. While Garza is coming off a career year at 15-10, he’s still less than a .500 career pitcher.

Oct 25

Talkin’ Baseball: Game 3 in Philly

Talkin' Baseball: Game 3 chatter.

Talkin' Baseball: Game 3 chatter.

Good evening. A lot going on today kept me away from the blog. We have a few items to touch on before we get to Garza vs. Moyer.

-Willie Randolph turned down the Washington Nationals to be a coach. He must have a good feeling about either the Milwaukee or Seattle jobs. He’ll land somewhere.

-The Phillies are feeling a bit miffed because their complete rosters weren’t introduced. They weren’t because MLB and the network, that would be FOX, couldn’t have the time to squeeze that in. Actually, that’s part of the World Series TV experience I enjoy.