Monday, January 02, 2006

Mets rotation breakdown

This was a post I made on the Mets message board in a response to a thread title: "What should be done about Benson?" The main point of the thread was what the future of the Mets rotation was going to look like past '06 and whether or not Kris Benson should be held onto in light of the coming changes. My response looks at all the potential starters except Jay Seo, whom I know nothing about... If you don't care about the Mets or about baseball, please proceed to the next post, or the previous one for that matter.

Benson is OK as a #3 or #4 starter. But he is inconsistent and his arm gets tired after 3/4's of the season. He had a really nice first half last year, but he was terrible down the stretch. He should stay, but never higher than a #3 - and look for call ups to take his starts late in the year to save his arm. Don't think for a moment that his wife's Tomfoolery has not been the source of the teams attempt to move him. He may not be Omar's favorite, but more important than Benson's arm is the mood in the clubhouse. If the front office thinks things will quiet down, the talks surrounding Benson's departure probably will too.

Glavine is going to the HOF. He will pitch successfully in this league for at least 5 more years if he wants to. He has shown that he is a savvy guy, and is still LEARNING to pitch better and better, as he showed last season. He is not a power guy, so his arm falling apart is not as big an issue. If he does not stay as a Met past '06, look for him to try to finish out his career in Atlanta at a reduced rate - that is the only place you can expect him to take less money to play. Besides - if he plays this year like he did after his slow start last season, he can basically name his price on the FA market. If Roger Clemens can still pitch with power at 43, expect Glavine to be in the league at least to that age if not longer.

Pedro will probably have his last season as a #1 guy this year, if he can get his toe healthy at all. And especially if Omar brings in the likes of a Barry Zito or another top of the rotation guy. Expect Pedro and the Mets to work him till the wheels fall off - but before his contract is over, he will likely be a 3 or 4 spot pitcher, he just won't be able to take the innings.

Trachsel will probably be gone after this season. He has been old reliable for the Mets these last few years, but after examining how he responds after his back surgery, it's not a stretch to think he might get dealt before the deadline to a team of his choice (he's a 10-5 player), if it will help bolster the Mets. If not, expect him to have a decent out year and get a two year contract elsewhere as a free agent.

Zambrano could go either way. Maybe this is the year he gets his arm under control and breaks out with the potential we all know is there. But if that does not happen, expect him to find another place to call home before the season is out.

Heilman has basically called the front office out, and I expect for them to respond. That response will dictate what they think he is worth. If he gets the spot in the rotation he and many of us think he is worthy of, expect him to have an above average season as the #4 or #5 starter, but don't go thinking he'll be a 18-20 game winner, because he is not there, at least not yet. If he does not start and is still a Met, he will quietly and professionally hold down his spot in the pen as the 7th or 8th inning guy, depending on who else is here by opening day, but don't expect him to be happy about it. He is up for arbitration after this season, and a full year in the pen will sorely lower his value.

This is Greg Gentry reporting from Philadelphia, now back to Carl and Harold in the studio.

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