If they decide their starting rotation after Johan Santana isn’t sufficient a little while down the line, there are still some free agent possibilities on the market. Here’s a rundown of some of the bigger names:
Jarrod Washburn: Washburn was 9-9 with a 3.78 ERA last season, splitting time between the Mariners and Tigers. He was brilliant with Seattle and a bust with Detroit, though the latter troubles could be chalked up to leg issues. Reports are that Washburn would prefer to pitch closer to his Wisconsin home or that a Mariner reunion could be in the works, but as of now, all’s cool on the hot stove.
Braden Looper: Looper was 14-7 with a 5.22 ERA for the Brewers last season. In three years since converting to a starter, Looper is 38-33. He’s had an ERA under 4.90 only one of those years, when he posted a 4.16 in 2008. In two seasons with the Mets (as a reliever) Looper was 6-12, with a 2.70 ERA in 2004 and 3.94 ERA in 2005. He’s been an NL pitcher all his life, and though he has experience in the East and with the Mets, starting pitching hasn’t necessarily been kind to him. It’s hard to imagine he’s an upgrade.
Pedro Martinez: He went 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA with the Phillies in 2009 and made a few good postseason starts. His Met career ended with a losing record in 2008 and an incredibly high ERA for him (5.61), but he seemed to be having a resurgence last year as a half inning pitcher. The projection systems are all over the place for Pedro’s 2010 possibilities. Bill James has him going 6-4 with a 3.54 ERA while CHONE sees him at 3-5 with a 5.18 ERA. My take? Come June I would be knocking at Pedro’s door for a return engagement.