A couple of pieces of pitching news for the Mets, who are preparing to open a three game series tonight against the Los Angeles Dodgers. (Oh, you really ought to go see Clayton Kershaw in person; he faces Jon Niese this evening.)
One is that Shaun Marcum, who you might remember was the team’s biggest free agent pickup this offseason, finally looks ready to go. He threw 52 pitches in an extended spring training game Monday, with a bullpen session bumping his total up to around 75. The Mets are hoping for 90 pitches Saturday against the Phillies.
If Marcum is healthy, he can help this team. Not only is he clearly a better option than Aaron Laffey, he’s a quality starting pitcher when healthy. Of course, the fact that he often isn’t is why he was available to the Mets for a guarantee of just $4 million and a one-year deal. Enjoy him while you can!
The Mets also signed former Yankee farmhand D.J. Mitchell. I have to say, seeing him allow seven walks in 4 1/3 minor league innings this year, and seeing Seattle, not exactly swimming in starting pitching alternatives (though Danny Hultzen is off to a wonderful start) makes me wonder exactly what Mitchell can do. But he was a perfectly serviceable starting option as recently as 2012 in Triple-A, and the Mets need to build inventory of guys like this. They can’t very well expect to add frontline starting pitching as Triple-A insurance; they can do better than Laffey, Collin McHugh or bust.