Mets looking at Saunders and Young to help fill void in rotation

While the trade that sent R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays is a thing of the past, the immediate future of the New York Mets starting rotation remains uncertain.  The Mets simply are not going to be able to replace the 2012 NL Cy Young award winner with someone of equal talent, at least not this offseason.  The plan seems to be to add a back of the rotation starter to help eat innings until one of the young upstart pitchers in the minors, such as Zack Wheeler, is ready to take the reigns.  With the price of pitching this offseason at a premium, Sandy Alderson and company have sat back in the hopes of demands dropping.  I’d love to see the Mets sign someone like Kyle Lohse, who put up a 2.86 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 211 innings last season for the Cardinals, but his price tag and the fact that any team signing him will be affected by the new draft pick compensation system probably puts him well out of the Mets reach.  Each time I write that about a player I get more and more frustrated, because saying a guy was “out of reach” or “too expensive” never used to the default phrase when it came to bringing free agents to Queens, but now, those words play over and over like a broken record.

So it’s back to the bargain bin, except when it comes to pitching, bargains are few and far between.  New York may be forced to go back to their bargain of choice these past couple of seasons, Chris Young.   According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, the 33-year-old starter is once again a target for the Mets:

Photo taken by Michael Baron

Chris Young remains a viable option to be re-signed to fill the rotation void.

Young, returning from surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his right shoulder, made 20 starts for the Mets in 2012 and went 4-9 with a 4.15 ERA in 115 innings. The innings total was his highest since logging 173 innings with San Diego in 2007. Young earned roughly $2.3 million with performance-based incentives.

“His record didn’t indicate it, but we didn’t get him a lot of run support,” Terry Collins said after Young’s final start of the season. “But he did a very good job, and I’m very happy he made it through the year healthy. His last two starts his velocity climbed. His velocity was up 3, 4 mph, which I was very impressed with.”

Another named linked to the Mets is 31-year-old righty Joe Saunders, who pitched well for the Orioles last season but is reportedly seeking a 3-year deal, which is a sticking point in negotiations with the O’s according to Dan Connelly of the Baltimore Sun.

Besides the Orioles, the Los Angeles Angels, New York Mets, Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners are among the clubs that reportedly have kicked Saunders’ tires this winter.

“Obviously, I’d like to go to a contender,” said Saunders, who allowed just two runs in two postseason starts for the Orioles in 2012. “That’s what I want to do. That would be the most important thing, to compete for a division title and get another playoff burst like we did in 2012.”

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter have stated publicly that they would like to bring back Saunders. But, according to an industry source, the Orioles appear reluctant to give Saunders a three-year deal.”

Well the length of his contract may be an issue for the Mets as well, but even if that were overlooked, if Saunders is serious about wanting to play for a contender he may not have much interest in a New York team that has done little to inspire confidence in their 2013 season.  And so the saga continues.

Another fan favorite has gone and talk of replacing him with the likes of Aaron Laffey or Chris Young or Joe Saunders is about as uninspiring as it gets for Mets fans.  The team has shed payroll and is about to get out from all the bloated contracts that have supposedly stymied them these past few offseasons, but what do the fans have to show for it?  Where are the stars that help validate elevated ticket prices this opening Day?  Which jersey, aside from #5, are kids asking their parents to get them for Christmas or their birthdays?  The financial wellbeing of ownership is great, but only if that is reflected in how they go about running the team.  So far things have not trickled down to help put a better team on the field or bringing in the big names that belong in a big market such as New York.  So we are left waiting once again, hoping that maybe next offseason things will change…..maybe.

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