While not the mooted D-Train or Barry Zito deals we keep hearing about, the New York Daily News’ Adam Rubin writes the Mets have other options to augment their starting rotation, perhaps a greater necessity given the condition of Pedro Martinez.
The White Sox have been calling around to clubs – including the Mets – letting it be known that Javier Vazquez or Freddy Garcia would be available. The price: top-notch relief help, which would allow the Sox to fortify their bullpen leading to closer Bobby Jenks, sources told the Daily News. Chicago has 23-year-old Brandon McCarthy ready to step into its rotation.
The Phillies, also looking to add to their rotation in a thin market, are willing to give up closer Tom Gordon in a deal with the Sox, according to a source.
Pedro Martinez, who has missed back-to-back starts with a balky right hip, had been expected to return from the disabled list on Wednesday – the fifth game after the All-Star break, when the Mets are in Cincinnati. But Willie Randolph said yesterday that Martinez will have to be pushed back from that scheduled assignment. The ace is weak and had been unable to throw during the break because of a stomach ailment that was possibly caused by food poisoning, the manager said. Martinez didn’t leave the clubhouse during yesterday’s workout.
As a result of Martinez’s condition, after rookie Mike Pelfrey pitches Tuesday in the series opener against the Reds, the Mets are prepared to skip Martinez and go back to today’s starter, Steve Trachsel, on Wednesday. Trachsel would be on standard rest because the Mets have an off-day on Monday. John Maine will remain with the Mets and be available in the bullpen for now, Randolph said. The manager described Maine as a secondary option to Trachsel for Martinez’s start.
Rubin suggests that Garcia or Vazquez would cost the Mets either Duaner Sanchez or Aaron Heilman.
Though holes in the starting rotation would seem to be the biggest concern in Flushing, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman insists the Mets are amongst the teams who’ve expressed interest in Philadelphia’s Bobby Abreu.
Two sources confirmed to The Post that the Mets recently contacted Phillies GM Pat Gillick to say that if Abreu, closer Tom Gordon or starter Jon Lieber are made available before the July 31 non-waiver deadline, to count the Mets in.
That revelation complicates life for the Yanks. The Mets simply have come to believe top starters such as Dontrelle Willis, Barry Zito and Jason Schmidt will not be available. One Mets official described the pitching market as “No. 4 and No. 5 starters who you will have to pray can really help you.” The Mets have been closely linked with one such starter, Washington’s Livan Hernandez, who is due $7 million next year and has the NL’s second-worst ERA (5.94).
So if they cannot upgrade their rotation, the Mets are considering improving the offense as a way to alleviate pressure on their staff, notably young starters Mike Pelfrey and John Maine. Abreu, for example, would add even more speed, patience and power to a lineup that generated the NL’s most first-half runs. Imagine Abreu amidst Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, David Wright and Cliff Floyd, and replacing free-agent-to-be Floyd in the future.