|Mets should experiment with Escobar|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on December 26, 2009
Kelvim Escobar has agreed to terms with the New York Mets and only needs to pass a physical for the deal to be official. The club is looking at him as a relief pitcher, says Roger Rubin of the New York Daily News.
Before the righthander missed almost all of the past two seasons with shoulder injuries, he was a dynamic starter for the Angels, going 18-7 with a 3.40 ERA in 2007. Minaya told the Daily News Friday, "With Escobar, we are looking at him as a reliever."
In the best-case scenario he could set up closer Francisco Rodriguez as the team's eighth-inning guy.
That brings up an interesting question: Why label him as a relief pitcher right now? Shouldn't the Mets wait until they've seen Escobar pitch a bit in spring training after giving him an opportunity to strengthen and lengthen out his arm over this winter?
Mike Pelfrey, Johan Santana, Tim Redding, John Maine and Oliver Perez led the Mets in starts last season. It's difficult to find any postives with that groups outside of Santana. Sure, Maine has some promise and Nelson Figueroa provided some decent innings last season.
The Mets are probably going into spring training with Santana, Figueroa, Maine, Pelfrey/Perez and a free agent signing (Joel Piniero?) as their expected starters. That's better than what they had last season, but it's definitely not enough to match the Phillies or Braves or Marlins in the division.
General manager Omar Minaya should've come into this offseason hoping to add a couple of quality starters to slot behind Santana. Instead, he let John Lackey slip to the Red Sox and is having to fight over whatever is left.
If healthy, Escobar would slip into the front of next season's expected rotation. If the Mets want to bring him along slowly because of his past shoulder issues, they could. The beginning of the season is loaded with plenty of off-days, which would allow Escobar extra rest before the grind of the season began.
He's had success in the American League as a starting pitcher and pitching at Citi Field, with its relatively pitcher friendly conditions, would be even better. This is an experiment the Mets should've tried but failed to do.