When It Comes to Free Agents, Mets Get What They Pay For

March 14, 2009

“It’s still early,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said after witnessing another unimpressive effort from 31-year-old right hander Tim Redding.

When the Mets signed Redding to a one year deal worth $2.25 million, he was being considered by the organization as a Plan B. Plan A was to bring aboard a right-handed starter with some post-season experience. Preferably a veteran, like Derek Lowe, who would not only give the Mets quality starts but who would also make sure his pitches stayed down in the strike zone thereby forcing batters to hit the ball on the ground. Lowe, who turns 36 in June, eventually signed with the Atlanta Braves for a four year contract worth $60 million.

Unlike Redding’s sub-par performances thus far, Lowe has been nothing but lights out. In his last appearance this past Tuesday, the Braves right hander threw four perfect innings while striking out six. For his efforts, he earned his second victory in just two chances. In seven innings combined this spring, he has given up only one run and has fanned a total of nine batters.

Redding, on the other hand, has his coaches scratching their heads and searching under their desks for some recourse. In his second appearance of the spring in relief of Johan Santana against the Florida Marlins on Thursday, the veteran right hander gave up nine earned runs three of those runs were for home runs. He currently has a 40.50 ERA so far this spring.

“At least I don’t have to face the Wolverines again,” Redding said.

Redding was alluding to a split squad game he participated in against the University of Michigan in which he gave up five hits and five runs in just 30 pitches of work. Despite Redding’s inability to get hitters out, the Mets won anyway.

Manager Jerry Manuel understands that there is still plenty of time before the start of the regular season for Redding to get himself straightened out. The Mets are counting on him to take on the role of fifth starter, a role that for a number of years has never been one of their strong points.

For further reading check out a previous post entitled, The Mets Are Seeing Red

Following the publishing of this post, the NY Post reported that the Mets are moving forward and placing Redding on the DL because of shoulder discomfort and lack of arm strength.

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