The New York Mets are in the market for another starter. Despite there being several high-profile pitchers available, don’t expect Sandy Alderson to make a bid unless they remain unsigned right before spring training.
By then, the asking prices should have dropped. Then again, the shelves could be empty.
The Mets’ approach in the current free-agent pitching market underscores the belief they aren’t serious about making a wild-card run this season, but instead are waiting for Matt Harvey’s return in 2015.
The list includes Bronson Arroyo, Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza and Ervin Santana. Any of them would represent an immediate upgrade, but at a substantial cost.
There are also a handful of familiar faces: Johan Santana, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang and Daisuke Matsuzaka.
None from either list are expected to get a sniff from the Mets because they are too pricey or want a multi-year deal. Alderson also wants to avoid signing a pitcher who would become an obstacle to bringing up a prospect.
The Mets made their pitching splash with Bartolo Colon, and Alderson’s plan is to wait for the young arms to develop and Harvey to return from Tommy John surgery. Read that to mean 2015. In that regard, Colon’s contract is perfect because he fills a need for this season and would be around for insurance and stability in 2015.
Most of the pitchers available are middle of the rotation arms – such as John Lannan – but Alderson wants an inexpensive fifth starter, somebody they can easily replace with Jenrry Mejia, and prospects Rafael Montero, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard.
Assuming they don’t sign anybody, Mejia – who underwent elbow surgery – goes in as the fifth starter. The timetable for the prospects is not before June.
If the Mets sign a free-agent pitcher, they would want to give him a minor-league contract, which immediately eliminates about 75 percent of the field. Nobody wants to sign with a team knowing they could be phased out before the All-Star break.
Reportedly, the Mets are considering Freddy Garcia, 37, who went 4-7 with Baltimore and Atlanta last season. Garcia also worked out of the bullpen.
So, you can see the bar is set quite low.
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