Nov 04

Atlanta’s Paul Maholm Tops List Of NL East Free Agents That Could Entice Mets

Let’s face it, the New York Mets adding Giancarlo Stanton will not happen any time soon. Miami general manager Dan Jennings told ESPN Stanton isn’t going anywhere.

“Mr. Stanton is not available,’’ Jennings said. “He will be in right field at Marlins Park on Opening Day. We are building around him.’’

Don’t underestimate the Marlins’ ability to build quickly, evidenced by World Series titles in 1997 and 2003.

MAHOLM: Somebody Mets should consider.

MAHOLM: Somebody Mets should consider.

The Marlins are attractive because they have money and play in Miami. However, that doesn’t mean other Marlins, or other players from the NL East Division might not be able to help the Mets.

The NL East player I would most want is Braves catcher Brian McCann, but that won’t happen as Atlanta is contemplating bringing him back, and if doesn’t happen, the Mets won’t win a bidding war against the Yankees.

After him, I’ve always like left-hander Paul Maholm, who made a reasonable $6.5 million last year while going 10-11 with a 4.41 ERA while pitching 153 innings over 26 starts.

Another notable number for Maholm is that he’s only 31. While pitching for mostly poor Pittsburgh teams since 2006, Maholm has started at least 26 games every year while not working less than 150 innings in any one season.

That definitely qualifies as an innings-eater, and one that could come at a reasonable price and give the Mets several seasons. He likely wouldn’t want anything less than a two-year deal.

Considering the Mets also have bullpen holes, left-hander Eric O’Flaherty is available, especially if things don’t work out with Josh Edgin or Tim Byrdak. O’Flaherty, who made $4.3 million last year was 3-0 with a 2.50 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and three holds in 19 appearances.

Another potential reliever is Miami’s Chad Qualls, who at 35, was 5-2 with a 2.61 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 15 holds in 66 appearances. He did it all for $1 million, and a minimum raise should be able to get him.

Somebody who has always been a thorn to the Mets is Miami outfielder Juan Pierre, who hit .247, but with a paltry .284 on-base percentage. Pierre made 308 at-bats in 131 games, as essentially a role player, something he would also do in New York. Pierre would not be somebody the Mets should pursue as a starter as they essentially have the same player in Eric Young.

If Philadelphia doesn’t bring back catcher Carlos Ruiz, that’s somebody the Mets might consider because Travis d’Arnaud didn’t prove in his limited window he’s capable of playing full time. Ruiz made $5 million while hitting .268 with a .320 on-base percentage and five homers with 37 RBI last year.

The Mets could strengthen themselves, and potentially hurt Washington, by going after Dan Haren, somebody they’ve had their eyes on before. Haren made $13 million last season while going 10-14 with a 4.67 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. He worked 169.2 innings over 30 starts and would fit in will in 2014 and possibly longer as a back-end rotation starter.

He’s 33 and could benefit from pitching in larger Citi Field.