With three intriguing position players ready to debut at Triple A-Buffalo next year (Ike Davis, Josh Thole, Fernando Martinez), the Mets can afford to concentrate their financial resources on starting pitching this off-season.
Johan Santana, Oliver Perez and Mike Pelfrey will almost certainly make up three-fifths of the Mets starting rotation in 2010. The need for a consistent #2 starter to complement Santana is obvious, but with two gaping holes in the rotation the Mets might be better served by skipping the likes of John Lackey or Randy Wolf and focusing on using that money to get two starters.
The Mets do not have a pitcher in their farm system who is ready to step into the rotation before the 2012 season at the earliest. There is no one to be blocked, and therefore no reason not to sign or trade for two starters with contracts that will extend over the next two seasons.
Since I do not think that two blue-chip starters are attainable this off-season, the Mets will have to take some short-term risks. John Maine is a wild card right now - if the Mets cannot swap him for another non-tender candidate, they will have to think seriously about whether or not it will even be worth offering him a 2010 contract. If they end up spending $15 million-plus on Lackey or a package of free agent starters, the Mets may have no choice but to keep Maine and hope that he or Perez steps up to be a #3 starter. I am tired of hoping.
(Read the entire post at Productive Outs and Crackerjack)