Chris Schwinden

Mike Pelfrey adjusts his cap after giving a run to the Houston Astros in Kissimmee, Florida

The Mets are interested in trading Mike Pelfrey

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Our own Matthew Pouliot recently suggested that the Mets should cut their losses and release Mike Pelfrey, recouping three-quarters of his $5.6875 million salary for 2012. That doesn’t appear likely to happen, but Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com passes along word that the club would like to trade him.

Pelfrey is coming off a 4.74 ERA last season and has a 14.90 ERA over his first three starts this spring, so the Mets would almost certainly have to foot most of the bill. And because the 28-year-old right-hander is projected to get a raise again this winter through the arbitration process, he’s already an obvious non-tender candidate. Similar to the John Lannan situation with the Nationals, it’s unlikely the Mets would get anything of value in return.

The other major factor here is that the Mets have very little in the way of starting pitching depth. The possible alternatives to take his place include the likes of 40-year-old Miguel Batista, Chris Schwinden or Jeremy Hefner. Pelfrey isn’t anything special, but he has averaged 196 innings over the past four seasons. There’s some value there, especially with Johan Santana still a question mark.

Dealing Pelfrey when his value is at its absolute nadir just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, at least for the Mets. If he gets off to a hot start, I could definitely see it. But not now.

Maybe the Mets should just release Mike Pelfrey

Mike Pelfrey adjusts his cap after giving a run to the Houston Astros in Kissimmee, Florida
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Mike Pelfrey gave up eight runs to the Astros (of all teams) on Sunday, taking his spring ERA to 14.90.  In the best of his three starts, he allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings and struck out none versus the Cardinals. Overall, he’s allowed 16 runs, 20 hits and six walks while striking out four in 9 2/3 innings.

Granted, it’s just 9 2/3 innings. But Pelfrey also had a 4.74 ERA last year that included a career-high home run rate and a career-low strikeout rate. He’s now pitched 4 1/2 seasons in the bigs with a 4.40 ERA, and instead of getting better, he appears to be getting worse.

So, maybe the Mets, who are pretty desperate for cash anyway, should just go ahead and cut him. In so doing, they’d recoup three-quarters of his $5.6875 million salary. They lack any great options to replace him, but both Jeremy Hefner and Chris Schwinden have performed well this spring and they might want to look at both before top prospects Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia start beating down the door.

I don’t really expect the Mets to take that step. Only the cash-strapped Wilpons have anything to gain by it, and if they did release one of their more expensive players, they’d be even greater laughing stocks around the league. I don’t expect much from Pelfrey this season, but he’ll probably be a reasonable fourth starter and there’s always the chance he’ll have a season more like his 2010, which would make him pretty valuable trade bait come June or July. But I think that’s a long shot. They probably wouldn’t lose much if they decided to move on.

Giancarlo Stanton hit on wrist by a pitch, leaves game

Miami Marlins Photo Day
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Update: X-rays were negative on Stanton’s left wrist, and he’s listed as day-to-day.

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Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton was lifted from Sunday’s Grapefruit League game against the Mets after taking a Chris Schwinden pitch off his left hand. According to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, he has been diagnosed with a contusion.

Stanton, who played the 2010 and 2011 seasons under the name Mike, was appearing in his fourth Grapefruit League game. Including Sunday’s one at-bat, he’s 2-for-9 this spring with an RBI and three strikeouts.

The Marlins could give him a few days off as a precautionary measure. And if X-rays confirm the initial diagnosis (a bruise), his ability to be at full strength for the start of the regular season will be unaffected.

Stanton, 22, slugged 34 home runs and registered a cool .893 OPS in 150 games last year.