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.