Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Could the Mets Trade for Aaron Harang?

Clearly, the Mets are in need of another high-end starter behind Johan Santana, so that Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, Oliver Perez and Jonathan Niese can figure out the back of the rotation. The lack of high-quality pitching in the upper levels of their farm system was abundantly evident last season, and pitching is obviously one of their primary targets for this offseason.

One suggestion to fix that issue is to trade for Reds right-hander Aaron Harang. It's likely that the Reds are listening on Harang given that there have been reports that the Reds are considering dealing their highest paid players, Harang, 2B Brandon Phillips, SP Bronson Arroyo, and closer Francisco Cordero, in order to gain payroll flexibility.

Harang should appeal to the Mets not only because his price is relatively reasonable, he's due $12.5M in 2010, plus a $12.75M option for 2011 with a $2M buyout attached, and that price tag should keep the return that Cincinnati expects to be relatively low.

Harang has consistently been one of the better starters in the NL, in spite of his volatile ERA, posting xFIP numbers of 3.96, 4.39, 3.81 and 3.89 in the past four seasons. A lot of issues come from being a flyball pitcher that's in a hitter's ballpark, and moving to CitiField could immediately bring his numbers back to their 2005-2007 level, making him a fantastic number 2 behind Santana.

A move to CitiField could definitely help Harang, and playing with an improved defense behind him could make a difference as well. If the Mets are desperate for a legitimate 2/3 starter and they don't want to give John Lackey a long-term deal, then making a deal for Harang could make a lot of sense.

Considering Jose Reyes' injury issues and his free agency looming, the Mets may not want to deal shortstop prospect Ruben Tejada, who should likely be ready by the time that Reyes would be able to depart in free agency, but he could possibly interest the Reds as a centerpiece, they don't have much at shortstop, with Janish in the majors and Chris Valaika struggling in AAA.


  1. Nice site. I'll help you get the word out.

  2. Good idea, but for 14.5 MM couldn't the Mets do a bit better?

  3. For that, they might be able to get two of Sheets, Harden, Bedard, and Duchscherer, I'd probably prefer that to Harang.

  4. Definitely, the Mets should look into high-upside guys like the ones you mentioned.

    But realistically, the Mets already have numerous question marks in their rotation (Santana's health, Perez's command and control, the overall mediocrity of the rest of their options), and they need to add another dependable, quality starter to their rotation.

    Most of the guys on the market, with the exception of John Lackey and maybe Randy Wolf and Joel Pineiro, free agency doesn't offer much in terms of quality performance and relative durability.

    Harang has been consistently solid for five years, and during those five years he's averaged 204.8 innings per season, so he's been fairly dependable as well.

    The Mets could probably land more raw talent for the $14.5M, but it would be attached with a large amount of risk, and given that the Mets essentially collasped last season due to a lack of durability and depth on their roster, they could really use someone in the rotation that they can actually feel comfortable about.

    Right now, the only two pitchers in that rotation that you can legitimately project are Santana and Pelfrey, it's really unclear exactly what they'll get from guys like Maine, Perez, Niese and Parnell.

  5. Great site Scribble...loving it!

  6. Scribble, this is off topic but I was curious if you would do any sort of comment moderating on this site? I think the problem with MLBTR at this point has zero to do with the guys who make the original posts, Tim, Ben, Mike, etc. but more to do with the quality of comments on that site.

    Not just offensive language, but some posts are just flat out stupid. I'm just curious if you'd do anything different with posts that don't make sense, if any occur.

  7. I think that the big problem with the commenting on MLBTR is that those guys don't really participate in the discussion, or push it in any sort of direction, so obnoxious posters end up garnering huge amounts of attention, distracting other posters and pushing the conversations into a less significant, and generally less intellectual, discussions.

    I don't know that I would completely moderate comments on this site based on incompetence, but I would like to participate in these comment sections far more than the contributors on MLBTR do, and hopefully the conversations will continue to go in the right direction.

    I just think that a big problem is that when a site begins to become popular, it starts to attract the less focused fans, and often times that leads to more mainstream discussions that at least, for me, aren't nearly as interesting.

    For now, I'm just going to see how things go, and move on from there. And frankly, given the nature of my writing and such, I don't think that I'm going to attract nearly as many of the more traditional fans than say, MLBTR. A lot of fans don't particularly like to read about wOBA and xFIP and stuff like that, unfortunately.

  8. I think Harang is perfect for the Mets. He can put up Lackey-esque numbers in CitiField and come with a short commitment. The idea that I was thinking about involved taking Arroyo as well. This would shed roughly 23.5M off the Reds 2010 payroll and 4M (buyouts) for 2011. Any chance Cincy would consider even eating a small portion of that money for 2010. That could be the move for the Mets. Thoughts?

  9. Harang is solid, but the price tag would be high. Taking on his contract alone would be a large commitment. Now add any type of players the reds would require and it's just too much.