With the stunning contract given to Barry Zito by the San Francisco Giants, the Mets now appear to be shut out in their effort to improve their 2006 rotation. With a 1 through 5 of Tom Glavine, Orlando Hernandez, John Maine, Oliver Perez and heavy competition for the 5th, the hopes of repeating in 2007 must take a serious dip.
If you read the 3rd and 4th starter's names and then "heavy competition for the 5th" and didn't think twice, I want to draw your attention back to it. John Maine and Oliver Perez are the automatic 3rd and 4th starters! No amount of lipstick is going turn that pig into a beauty pagaent winner.
Pedro Martinez is expected to be back in the 2nd half, but how likely are your World Series hopes if they hinge on the complete recovery of a pitcher coming off rotator cuff surgery?
Phil Humber is one of the pitchers expected to compete for the 5th spot, along with Mike Pelfrey, but even Humber was shut down this fall with shoulder soreness. Former Pirates lefty Dave Williams will be in the mix as will Cuban righty Andy Soler and lefty Justin Vargas.
What the Mets should have are the four 5th starter candidates plus Oliver Perez competing for the one spot. Instead they have Perez pencilled in at the 4th spot and the other four competing for the 5th. Ugh.
What also needs to be factored in is the durability of Orlando Hernandez. El Duque is good for no more than 150 innings. This means there are 10 or so starts from the #2 slot that must be filled be one of the losers in the 5th starter comp. It's depressing.
With 40-year-old Moises Alou in LF and the shade of Shawn Green in RF, do the Mets deal their best trading chip, OF Lastings Milledge, and risk relying on Alou and Green for power production or do they deal him for the best innings-eater they can find right now?
There seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel for the Mets.