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Garland Might be Most Realistic Option

By Mike Silva ~ January 21st, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets, Offseason Speculation.

The amazing part of this offseason is that, as slow as the transactions have come, it has flown by quickly. Pitchers and catchers are right around the corner, and baseball is very near. I suspect many of the lingering free agents will start signing quickly, as was evidence yesterday with Doug Davis and Joel Pineiro coming off the board. Every offseason a general manager has various plans. Often, they hope “plans C or D” will never be realized. The Mets landed one of their primary targets, a big bat, when they signed Jason Bay. They went the “value” route with catching (thus far), and took a chance on two high reward bullpen arms in Kelvim Escobar and Ryota Igarachi. Reports are the Mets would like to sign two pitchers, and some, including yours truly, thought Joel Pineiro and Ben Sheets were both possibilities. With one gone, and another possibly headed to Texas, the Mets might have to start thinking of other options.

John Smoltz is still out there, but I would much rather have him in the bullpen than rotation. I can’t see Smoltz, age 42, giving more than 25 “league average” starts and 140 innings. I could see a dominant setup man, even at his age, out of the bullpen. If “league average” is all the Mets can hope to achieve from their rotation acquisition, you probably already have that in Jonathan Niese, but there still is the undervalued Jon Garland on the market.

I know Garland has his warts. He doesn’t strike out a ton of hitters, gives up too many hits, and always has an ERA hovering in the mid fours. Regardless, he finds a way to win games (53% of the time during his career), and is a guarantee to throw 200 innings. His 204 innings would have led the Mets staff by a wide margin last season. When you have Maine and Perez in two spots, innings is something that becomes more important. Bill James Projections have him at 12 wins, 216 innings, and an ERA of 4.33. That sounds about right. You could argue that Garland might give you exactly what Pineiro would for less money. If Pineiro received a 2 year $16 million offer, I could see Garland having to settle for 1 year and about $6 to $7 million- certainly a reasonable signing.

Signing Smoltz and Garland may leave enough money over for Minaya to seriously go after Orlando Hudson. As I said yesterday, they should at least acquire a right handed complement to Murphy. Of course, this is assuming that Delgado is not an option. Smoltz/Garland isn’t sexy, but you are coming off a season where the Mets are not a sexy destination. Perhaps Plan C is the only option right now. At the very least, the concerns about the Mets overspending on a subpar free agent class could be put to bed.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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3 Responses to Garland Might be Most Realistic Option

  1. Mark P

    Is it pride or what, but I just don’t understand what the Mets have against reaquiring Pedro Martinez. He isn’t the Pedro of old but he showed with Philly last year that he can still pitch (37K in 44 inn., .363 ERA and didn’t do badly in post season). He has no attitude, is a supporter from the bench and in the club house and could be had for a song. Not bad for an innings eater and spot starter.

  2. pete c.

    get smoltz and sheets and cross your fingers.

  3. bankruptcy attorney

    Garland may be a decent 4th or 5th starter but don’t bank on him being any more than that. If you do you don’t have a staff well enough to compete.

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