As noted by the Daily News’ Adam Rubin on Thursday, the Mets are unwilling to adjust the outfield dimensions of Citi Field in 2010, claiming (seriously) the club will emphasize speed, defense and pitching. To which, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman scoffs, “that will be great just as soon as they get some speed, defense and pitching.”
The Mets need to figure out why they thought they were set last year, because the picture might be bleaker now. Oliver Perez produced a 6.82 ERA in 66 innings this year (the worst ever by a Met with at least 50 innings) before needing knee surgery. He is more likely to be the Mets’ expensive No. 1 problem next year rather than their No. 2 starter. John Maine’s shoulder was still not right this year, and he could be a non-tender candidate.
As damaging as any of the voluminous injuries, especially looking forward, was Mike Pelfrey’s regression. His 5.03 ERA reflects bad pitching and — more frightening — he demonstrated an unsettling string of mental blocks.
Pat Misch and Bobby Parnell just put together impressive back-to-back starts, with Parnell working seven shutout innings in a 6-2 victory last night over the Cubs. Still Parnell, Misch and Jon Niese offer potential back-of-the-rotation depth, at best.
“I still believe, when you make projections, that Mike [Pelfrey] could be that guy [a No. 2 starter],” manager Jerry Manuel said. “But I don’t think you can go wrong getting pitching.”
That was probably a subtle, politically correct way for the manager to beg for a legitimate arm to put behind Santana. Mets officials continue to stress that even in a post-Madoff world they will carry a big payroll. Still, I don’t see them playing at the top of the free-agent market for John Lackey. Maybe they will turn this time to Randy Wolf, who was their next choice if Perez spurned them last year.
I would not be shocked if last night’s Cubs starter, Carlos Zambrano (three years, $53.75 million left after this year), is shopped by a potentially more cost-conscious new ownership group.
And I wouldn’t be shocked if Jose Lima and Bill Pulsipher are invited to spring training. Not to pitch necessarily, just to hang out. But attempts to move Big Z at this stage would have to be characterized as “baseball-conscious”, as well.