Buzz: The Mets plan for Pitching

Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com believes the Mets are only willing to give a two-year, $15 million contract to free-agent RHP Joel Pineiro, who is seeking a three-year deal worth roughly $30 million.

…as you can read below, last week, i mentioned to how people i talked with believe pineiro, Jon Garland, Jarrod Washburn and Doug Davis all might end up accepting one– or two-year deals… from what i can tell, the Mets really like pineiro, mostly because he throws strikes, avoids walks, and keeps the ball down, which they believe can continue without Dave Duncan… however, they do not seem willing to give him more than a two-year contract, as i mentioned the day before

Original Post, Jan. 7, at 1:32 pm:

Today, I talked to an agent, a person with another team, and someone connected to the Mets, and all three believe free-agent pitchers Joel Pineiro, Jon Garland, Jarrod Washburn and Doug Davis all might end up accepting a one– or two-year deal.

From what I can gather, Garland would prefer to re-sign with the Dodgers, or a team out West, and Washburn is hoping to remain in Seattle, while the market for Davis has been limited at best.

In Pineiro’s case, interested teams are concerned whether he can maintain last season’s success without Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan.

From what I can tell, the Mets really like Pineiro, mostly because he throws strikes, avoids walks, and keeps the ball down, which they believe can continue without Duncan.  However, they do not seem willing to give him more than a two-year contract, as I mentioned yesterday morning.  In their view, he’s a No. 3 or 4 starter asking to be paid like a No. 2… of course, that didn’t seem to stop them from giving Oliver Perez a three-year deal.

According to people connected to the team, the Mets also have interest in free-agent RHP John Smoltz, who could compete for the back-of-the-rotation, but also pitch from the team’s bullpen.

I think the Mets have legit concerns about Francisco Rodriguez, and I would think a pitcher like Smoltz could not only pick up slack in the rotation, but he could also step in and finish games.

Last off season, Smoltz signed a one-year, $5 million deal with Boston; after he rejected a one-year, $2 million deal from the Braves.  The buzz around Smoltz suggests he is looking for something similar, i.e., one year and tons of incentives, with a few million guaranteed, but while staying in the National League, where he is open to pitching in relief.

He didn’t pitch well in Boston, but people I talked with are convinced he was tipping his pitches, and then also struggled to adjust to the American League.  He was released by the Red Sox in August, and then signed with the Cardinals, with whom he was 1–3 in seven starts with a 4.26 ERA.

Though he missed a game or two last year with shoulder tendinitis, and will be be 43 years old through much of next season, Smoltz has been connected in rumor this off season to the Nationals, Phillies, Cardinals, Dodgers, Mariners, Rangers and Orioles.

In the end, though I still think they’d prefer to trade for a starting pitcher, I believe the Mets might look to sign a guy like Smoltz, on a one-year deal to be insurance for the rotation and bullpen, while also trying to ink a pitcher like Pinerio to a two-year deal… I think this is still possible, but it’s going to mean playing the open market in a very strategic way.