With New York Mets’ pitcher Matt Harvey likely in need of Tommy John Surgery, general manager Sandy Alderson has indicated that he will look to acquire a veteran starter to anchor their rotation in 2014. However, he needs to be careful about whom he acquires and not sign somebody if they aren’t the right candidate.
In addition to Harvey being doubtful for next season, Jeremy Hefner will miss the entire season with after Tommy John Surgery and Jenrry Mejia is not a sure thing after his surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, so the Mets have a need for an extra starter, despite a wealth of quality pitching prospects.
But Alderson needs to proceed cautiously after his signing of Shaun Marcum last offseason did far more harm than good. The Mets signed Marcum with the expectation that he would win 10 games and eat up a lot of innings for them; instead, he lost 10 games and was released in the middle of July after needing shoulder surgery.
The Mets don’t need to acquire a bona fide ace; as long as they have Zack Wheeler and Jon Niese, they have quality arms at the front of their rotation. What they do need is a veteran pitcher who is comfortable being surrounded by young pitchers and is willing to mentor those young guys if necessary. But they also need someone who is a consistent performer and won’t be an injury risk.
It makes sense for the Mets to go after a veteran pitcher this offseason, but it needs to be the right pitcher. If the Mets are going to be competitive in 2014, they can’t make the wrong call on a veteran starter that’s going to hold them back the way Marcum did this season. The Mets would be better off living and dying with their young pitchers than bringing in the wrong veteran starter.