The Mets jumped at the chance to trade R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays earlier this week in exchange for catchers Travis d’Arnaud and John Buck, prospect right-hander Noah Syndergaard and prospect outfielder Wuilmer Becerra. While it’s a tall order, they now need to find a way to replace the 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner in their starting rotation.
With that in mind, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports that the Mets have reached out to the agents for Francisco Liriano and Carl Pavano, among “many others.” Liriano, 29, had a 5.34 ERA and 167/87 K/BB ratio over 156 2/3 innings this past season between the Twins and White Sox. Pavano will likely come cheaper after being limited to just six starts in 2012 due to a nagging shoulder injury.
As of now, Johan Santana, Jon Niese, Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee are locks for the starting rotation while young arms like Jenrry Mejia, Jeremy Hefner and Collin McHugh are among the internal candidates for the fifth spot. Santana and Gee are both coming off injuries and Harvey has never pitched a full season in the majors, so chances are they’ll add a veteran arm, even if it’s just as simple as bringing back Chris Young. The hope is that prospect right-hander Zack Wheeler will be ready to take a rotation spot at some point in 2013.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉