Report: Mets Aren’t After Sabathia

What a shock! The Mets aren’t interested in having two $100 million starting pitchers on the team. Marty Noble at confirms that the Mets won’t be offering CC Sabathia a contract.

The word in the press is that the Yankees already offered Sabathia 6-years/$140 million. And I’m sure the Yankees will go as high as it takes to get Sabathia.

The Mets going after Sabathia never made sense from the beginning. With holes in the outfield, bullpen, and rotation, there’s no room for another $100 million contract on this team.

It’s a nice dream to think of Johan Santana and Sabathia pitching back-to-back days all season, but it’s not happening.

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Mets 2008 Off-Season Needs: Starting Pitching

You probably thought my next off-season needs post would be the bullpen. Yes, that post is coming soon. It’s almost too much to think about though. So for now, let’s talk about the starting pitching situation.

Returning starters Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, and John Maine will be in the rotation. Santana is a shut-down ace and really requires no further discussion. He’ll be starting on opening day in Cincinnati, period. Pelfrey had a break out season in 2008 and should be the #2 behind Santana. He seemed to run out of gas a bit in September but really found himself in May.

John Maine is coming off shoulder surgery to address a bone spur. He’s cleared to start throwing again in December and should be fine for spring training. I really thought he was going to have a break out season after being nearly unhittable in spring training. But the injuries really damaged his season.

Pedro Martinez and Oliver Perez will both be free agents after the World Series ends. I don’t expect to see Pedro back again. And Ollie will probably get a better offer than he’s worth from someone other than the Mets. If Omar Minaya can make a decent deal with Ollie and Scott Boras (doubtful) in the neighborhood of 3-years/$27 million, he should take it. But I think some team out there will go to four or five years for Ollie because he’s only going to be 27 years old during the 2009 season.

That leaves two openings to be filled in the rotation. Expect Jon Niese and Bobby Parnell to get a shot to compete for one of those spots in spring training. One of those two promising minor leaguers should get a chance to occupy the #5 spot in the rotation.

The Mets will probably look to fill a #4 spot from free agency and take a chance on a “project” starter as insurance in case Niese and Parnell aren’t ready for the majors yet. You can see the complete list of starters that will be free agents next month at MLB Trade Rumors. Beyond CC Sabathia (17-10 2.70) and Ben Sheets (13-9 3.09), the list isn’t really that impressive. Don’t expect the Mets to splurge on another ace like those two. They got Johan Santana last off-season. So I don’t see the Mets making another huge financial commitment to a starter.

A.J. Burnett (18-10 4.07) will probably opt out of his Blue Jays contract. But he’ll be looking for a long-term deal and I don’t expect the Mets to get into a 4+ year deal with any pitchers at this point.

There are several guys that could fit nicely into the middle of the rotation like Derek Lowe (14-11 3.24). Despite the rumors that he doesn’t want to be on the east coast again, he’ll go where the money is. He’ll be 36 years old next season but he could certainly fill the spot in the middle of the rotation. Jon Garland (14-8 4.90) and Ryan Dempster (17-6 4.51) are certainly worth talking to about a three year contract as well.

The “project” pitcher that the Mets pick up on a one-year deal could be anyone from Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Carl Pavano, Matt Clement, or Sidney Ponson. The tricky part will be finding a pitcher that will agree to a minor league contract so the Mets can give Parnell and Niese a legitimate shot at the fifth spot in the rotation. Colon and Clement seem the most likely candidates to agree to start the season in the minors.

Even with Pedro and Ollie probably leaving there are plenty of free agent options available this off-season. I certainly wouldn’t like to see the Mets get into a contract longer than three years for a middle of the rotation starter. That should be the key criteria, even if the contract has to get into the $33 million plus range. Gil Meche and Ted Lilly both got five year deals, so that throws off the market. But the Mets really need to keep their contracts to as short a term as possible.

Add a comment below with your thoughts.

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Citi Field Luxury Boxes Sell Out

Apparently, things aren’t that bad on Wall Street yet. The Mets announced this week that they sold out their 2009 luxury suites for Citi Field.

The announcement was that 39 Empire Suites went for $275,000 each and 10 Sterling Suites got $500,000 each. That’s great news for the Mets and maybe for us too. The Mets can afford to bring in some big free agents on the backs of the corporations buying up these luxury suites.

Hopefully, we’ll have these same corporations to thank when Manny Ramirez and CC Sabathia arrive in Queens.

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Mets Fans Tracking CC In Milwaukee

While Oliver Perez and Scott Olsen are dueling in Flushing today, Mets fans will be keeping a close eye on the happening at Milwaukee’s Miller Park. The Cubs are sending September call-up Angel Guzman to face off against CC Sabathia.

Sure, the Mets control their own destiny and guarantee a tie for the Wild Card by winning today. But equally important is the Brewers-Cubs game. The Brewers are sending CC Sabathia to the mound for his fourth consecutive start on short rest. His agent must be thrilled that the Brewers are running him into the ground right before he becomes a free agent.

Since his deadline trade from the Indians to the Cubs, Sabathia is 10-2 with a 1.78 ERA. In short, he’s been devastating to opposing teams. The good news is that if he manages to win today and the Mets do as well, Sabathia won’t be pitching in a one game play-in tomorrow at Shea. But neither will Johan Santana. The plan is for Pedro Martinez to start on short rest. That isn’t exactly confidence inspiring considering Pedro’s performance this season.

Keep the faith for Ollie and hope that Sabathia stumbles today.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

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Cubs Trade For A’s Rich Harden

Photo by Justin Lafferty 16:41, 23 August 2006...Image via Wikipedia

The Chicago Cubs acquired pitcher Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin from the Oakland A’s for pitcher Sean Gallagher, outfielders Matt Murton and Eric Patterson, minor leaguer John Donaldson. Harden is signed through 2009 and has number one starter stuff. His problem is that he’s frequently on the disabled list. He spent a month on the DL earlier this season for a shoulder strain. It was his sixth time on the DL in his six year career.

After the Brewers traded for C.C. Sabathia from the Indians on Sunday, the Cubs obviously felt like they had to make a counter move. The NL Central is really heating up to get the trade season started.

Harden is 5-1 with a 2.34 ERA in 13 starts this season.

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Minaya Confirms Mets Tepid Interest In Sabathia

SAN FRANCISCO - JULY 10:  American League All-...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The NY Post Mets Blog confirms that Mets GM Omar Minaya spoke to Cleveland Indians GM Mark Shapiro about trading for C.C. Sabathia. Minaya says that the Mets had the prospects that the Indians were looking for. But the Mets remain undecided how aggressive they’ll be prior to the non-waiver trading deadline.

Bringing Sabathia in for a load of prospects would have been absolutely ridiculous for the Mets. They just traded four top prospects for Johan Santana this off-season. Doing it again for a team with a record hovering around .500 wouldn’t make sense at all. It’s good to see that Minaya kept his head on that one.

Sometimes the best trades are the ones that aren’t made.

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Brewers Going For It- Trade For Sabathia

Cleveland Indians pitcher C.C.Image via Wikipedia

The second place Milwaukee Brewers decided to go for it this season. Major news outlets are reporting that they’ve completed a trade with the Cleveland Indians for C.C. Sabathia. He’s considered the best pitcher available for a trade prior to the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline. Look out Chicago Cubs, the Brew Crew is making a run.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays were also considered contenders for Sabathia until recent days.

The Indians will receive Double-A Huntsville prospect Matt LaPorta plus other players. LaPorta is a masher, hitting .288 with 20 HR and 66 RBI’s in 84 games.

Sabathia turned down Cleveland’s offer of 4 years/$72 million to play out this season and become a free agent. This season Sabathia is 6-8 with a 3.83 ERA after a bad start.

Sabathia is 27 years old, a three time All-Star, and 2007 Cy Young Award winner. Baseball Reference defines similar players to Sabathia at his age are Dennis Eckersley and Greg Maddux among others. Nice deal for the Brewers.

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