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Is Freddy Garcia the Mets Best Starting Choice?

By Mike Silva ~ January 12th, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets, Offseason Speculation.

Jon Heyman reported yesterday the Mets will probably not sign a pitcher for more than $2 million dollars. Additionally, as I outlined yesterday, there is flexibility issues with the 40 man roster that may force the team to only consider individuals on a minor league deal.

Thus far, Jeff Francis, Chris Young, David Bush, and Freddy Garcia have been connected to the Mets in the rumor mill. I believe the Mets budget precludes them from signing Francis, rumored to want as much as $3 million dollars plus incentives this year. If Young, Bush and Garcia are what’s left, what direction should they go?

I would consider health to be the most important factor. Chris Young has the best upside, but there have been reports his medicals don’t look promising. Dave Bush is an interesting candidate, as he could give you innings, but as declining strikeout rate has seen him go from a slightly above league average pitcher to below replacement level in just two years. As a fly ball pitcher he probably would do well at Citi Field, but the Mets already have someone like Bush, who may be better, in Dillon Gee.

Ironically, it might be a former Met that could be the best choice of the three. If you read this scouting report from Chicago Now, Freddy Garcia isn’t exactly going to excite you.

He’s gone from a 200 inning strikeout workhorse, to a five inning pitcher that relies on smarts, guts, and guile. He may not throw hard, but he has good control (2.6 walks per nine innings last year), and was able to post decent numbers in the American League in 2010 (12-6, 4.64). Yes, he looked terrible with the Mets in early 2009, but I believe they didn’t allow him the time needed to get right. After his release and near retirement, he signed with Chicago and posted a 4.34 ERA in nine starts. For the statistically inclined, even his xFIP is solid (4.59) in 2010, and actually outperformed his ERA.

In the end I think Jeff Francis would be the best choice, but I don’t see the Mets spending the money it would take to acquire him. Chris Young would be my next choice, but he’s been a health issue, even more so than Garcia, the last couple of years. Dave Bush? He didn’t even put up as good number as Garcia in the National League.

I know Freddy Garcia doesn’t excite you, but he is a veteran that knows how to pitch. I also think he would just require a minor league deal.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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