Sep 23

Capuano non-trade underscores Mets’ pitching concerns

That the Mets turned away Boston’s overture for Chris Capuano can only mean he’s in their plans for next year. Sandy Alderson’s string of reasons for why the deal didn’t go through may all ring true, but the Mets looking ahead is the primary explanation.

Capuano pitched well enough this year to warrant an extension, but the Mets’ interest in retaining him suggest the team’s long-standing concerns over its starting pitching.

CAPUANO: Mets want him back.

The 11-12 Capuano is a 57-64 lifetime pitcher with an ERA north of four runs a game. He is what he is, which is a No. 5 quality starter. Capuano, a risk that paid off, is a left hander, which makes him worth the gamble again, especially considering the Mets’ questions in that area.

Johan Santana is recovering from shoulder surgery and  had setbacks. The Mets can’t write him in with ink for next year, and who is to say if he returns he’ll even be close to his former self? As far as Santana is concerned, the Mets can’t bank on anything with him.

Jonathan Niese also pitched well at times this season, but finished on the disabled list with a pulled side muscle and therefore is a concern. This is twice now Niese finished a season on the disabled list with a pulled muscle.

There are no givens with the rest of the rotation, either, with the possible exception of R.A. Dickey, he of the unpredictable pitch. After a slow start, Dickey has closed well.

Mike Pelfrey remains an enigma. He regressed greatly this season to the point where questions are being asked if he’ll ever live up to expectations. Can anybody honestly say they have confidence in Pelfrey, when time after time he has spit the bit?

Then there’s Dillon Gee, who started hot, but hit a rocky stretch. There’s no guarantee he won’t regress like Pelfrey. Other teams have scouts, too, so he’s not surprising anybody anymore.

The Mets have pitching prospects below, but Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey are at least two years away and Jenrry Mejia is coming off Tommy John surgery.

Chris Schwinden will be invited to camp in the spring, but he doesn’t get one salivating.

You can scan the free agent lists all you like, but the Mets won’t spend for a long term deal for a CJ Wilson, Rich Harden or Mark Buehrle. There are the likes of Freddy Garcia and Jason Marquis and a handful of other retreads they’ll scan, but hardly anything you could build around.

The Mets are hardly dealing from a position of strength when it comes to their 2012 rotation, so wanting to bring back Capuano is the obvious thing to do. That is, of course, if they can sign him.

Jul 31

Mets already winners at deadline.

The Mets have already done their heavy lifting for this year’s trade deadline when they unloaded Francisco Rodriguez’s $17.5 million 2012 option and dealt Carlos Beltran to San Francisco for the Giants’ top prospect Zack Wheeler,

Even should Wheeler never make it with the Mets, GM Sandy Alderson has emerged as one of the winners at this summer’s trade market. In ridding themselves of Rodriguez’s option, they’ve gained $14.5 million worth of payroll flexibility (they would have had a $3.5 million buyout had he stayed and not made 55 appearances to finish games.)

That’s not nearly enough to re-sign Jose Reyes, but it does sweeten the pot and offer money for other areas of need, say the bullpen or another starter.

The Mets have additional pieces they could deal a contender, such as Jason Isringhausen, Tim Brydak and Angel Pagan, but it appears they will keep a pat hand for another month and continue with the objective of playing aggressive baseball.

The odds are long for a wild-card, but should the Mets slide further away, they can always deal those chips in a waiver trade. For now, the suspenseful part of their summer is over, they’ve dealt Beltran. The rest of the season is to build on the good feelings they’ve generated for being competitive and savor the victories in the moves they did make.

Jul 26

Mets losing leverage in Beltran sweepstakes?

Have the Mets lost their best chance to make a strong deal for Carlos Beltran? Did they hold on to him too long? Depending on whom you read, the favorite to obtain Beltran appears to change from hour to hour.

BELTRAN: Where's he running to?

And, none of the reports is glowing with young talent coming to Queens. A similar thread to most of the reports is a reluctance of any of the contenders to offer top prospects, although they might be will to assume more salary.

It is an impressive list from which the Mets have been asking – and being rebuffed.

The like Atlanta’s Mike Minor, Julio Teheran or Arodys Vizcaino; they are intrigued by the Phillies’ Dom Brown or Jarred Cosart; from the Giants they’ve inquired about Zack Wheeler, Brandon Belt and Gary Brown.

Not all of them, mind you, but they can’t seem to get a nibble on just one of these prospects.

The problem is these teams believe they can contend without Beltran, so why should they give up future chips for a rental?

So those earlier reports about the Mets raking in several prospects look frustratingly premature.

At this point, saving a few bucks hardly does the Mets any good. The Mets clearly have a bat teams covet, but that doesn’t mean they have leverage.

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