While Newsday’s Ken Davidoff proposes making a run at the D-Train, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney once again raises the spectre of Barry Zito in a Mets uniform.
The complication is that Zito is eligible for free agency, and it’s unlikely that Beane would give the Mets a window to negotiate with Zito as a precursor to a trade. The Mets would have to learn as much about Zito’s contract desire through back-channel communication before taking a leap of faith, believing that they could actually sign Zito. They would have to assume that signing the left-hander would cost them somewhere in the area of five years and $70 million to $80 million, which is what Zito could get, in light of A.J. Burnett’s five-year, $55 million deal last fall.
Zito (above) turns 28 Saturday, he’s left-handed, he’s got 88 career victories, he’s won a Cy Young Award. Assuming the Mets would sign Zito if they traded for him, he could be the ace who becomes their bridge into the future as Martinez and Glavine move on.
Personally, I wouldn’t trade Lastings Milledge for the left-hander, because Milledge is an extraordinary talent. But you’d have a very hard time finding fault with the Mets if they were to be aggressive and make a deal for the best pitcher available who would give them a chance to succeed in late October.
MetsGeek’s Eric Simon characterizes the Zito-to-Flushing rumors as “ludicrous” and advocates filling the 4th slot in the rotation with the oft-neglected Aaron Heilman.
As a starter, Heilman pitched extremely well in winter league play as well as in spring training, and it’s no secret that he fancies a return to the rotation. Again, Randolph has repeatedly stated that he has no intention of breaking up the big three (Billy Wagner, Duaner Sanchez, Heilman), and it’s certainly hard to argue that point considering how well the Mets’ bullpen has performed this season. However, with Jorge Julio pitching much better of late, maybe the Mets can afford to pull Heilman from the pen and call up MetsGeek favorite Heath Bell, who is dominating AAA (again).