What happens if the Mets fans don't acquire Roy Halladay or John Lackey for next year?
The Mets certainly will not go into 2010 with Johan Santana and the rest of the bunch from last year. Mike Pelfrey can not be counted on to be a #2 starter. At best he is a #4 until he proves otherwise. It's the same deal with John Maine. If we slot him into the #3 spot we're asking for trouble. #5 should be a competition between Jon Niese, Nelson Figueroa, and others. I guess, somehwere in the mix is Oliver Perez, but I don't know where.
Jason Marquis and Joel Piniero might be on Omar Minaya's radar screen. Neither is a career long #3 starter although it can be argued that in 2009 each could have been classified as a #3. My preference would be to sign Piniero.
Another way to go would be to sign one or two pitchers who were injured last year and will command no more than a one year incentive laden contract. On that list are Eric Bedard, Ben Sheets, Rich Harden and John Smoltz. A risky way to go, but we might get lucky.
Here are two pitchers that could be had in trades that haven't been mentioned so far: Ricky Nolasco of the Marlins and Roy Oswalt of the Astros. Either would fit in nicely into a #3 starting roll, and possibly a #2 roll with the Mets starting staff.
Nolasco will be 27 years old next season with three arbitration years on the horizon. In 2009 he was 13-9 with a high 5.06 ERA. He was better after the all-star break with a 7-2 record and 4.39 ERA. In 2008 he was 15-8 with a 3.52 ERA. Nolasco can throw 94 MPH and in 2009 struck out 195 batters in 185 innings.
Roy Oswalt will start 2010 as a 32 year old. He is currently under contract for two more years at $15 M per year. So the commitment to Roy is short term. Check out his career numbers. In 2009, he was 8-6 with a 4.12 ERA. He has been a great pitcher for many years but his effectiveness has decreased, at least partially due to injuries the past two years. He strikes guys out, doesn't walk many, and gives up very few home runs.
I am not trying to say that Nolasco and Oswalt are equivalent to Halladay. But at least Oswalt and possibly Nolasco too, could be as good as Lackey and without a long term commitment.
In any event, if the Mets do not succeed in any quest for Halladay or Lackey, who are the best alternatives??