Building a Mets Winner Means Passing on Roy Oswalt

Past decisions still resonate as Mets consider trades

By Josh Alper
|  Tuesday, Jun 15, 2010  |  Updated 9:00 AM EDT
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Building a Mets Winner Means Passing on Roy Oswalt

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Thanks to winning eight of their last nine games, the Mets have seen their chances at making the playoffs rise precipitously. They're up to 32.2 percent according to Baseball Prospectus, a gain of more than 10 percent in the last seven days. With the Indians on the docket the next three days, that number should continue to surge upward.

This momentum has naturally sparked a renewed interest in landing a stud pitcher to round out the rotation and give the Mets a big three behind Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey. It's certainly a nice idea, especially if you fancy yourself a playoff team that could ride three big arms deep into October, and names like Cliff Lee and, especially, Roy Oswalt are tantalizing to the masses. It is a flawed one for this Mets team, though. One need only look back and look forward for the reasons why.

Looking back, you'll see the way decisions about the starting rotation still resonate with the team right now. The Mets were totally unwilling to add a starter in the offseason because they were sold on the gruesome twosome of John Maine and Oliver Perez or because they didn't want to spend the money to sign any of the available players. Okay, but why would you then choose to spend more money and give away prospects to make up for the mistake now? 

There was another offseason decision, making Jennry Mejia a reliever, that can be remedied more easily right now and also, potentially, help the rotation down the line. Send him down now, use the month between now and the All-Star Game to stretch him out and see what you get when he's back in a rotation. Mejia isn't going to be Oswalt, obviously, but he'd have to be pretty awful to be worse than Maine or Perez.

Mejia is also a hallmark of the other reason why the Mets should resist spending prospects right now. All of a sudden, the Mets have become a team whose roster is loaded with players in their primes or still on the road to them. Other than Rod Barajas, Jason Bay and Santana, every key player on the team is under 30 and even when/if Carlos Beltran appears in Queens, this is a team that has a future that's worth considering before chasing after another veteran to try and squeeze through a window that isn't closing.

Unless they make a trade, the Mets can use this season as a foundation for years to come. The farm system isn't the deepest in the majors but there's more players in the pipeline and the organization should maintain a view that goes beyond the here and now. Do that and you're less likely to need to make blockbusters in the future.

All of that said, the Mets could still use another starter. Luckily for them, there's a guy available who would cost them only a bit of money for the next three months and, doubly lucky for them, they already know him. His name's Pedro Martinez, he proved he could still throw with the Phillies last season and Citi Field's forgiving shape would treat him nicely. You don't always need to grab the biggest headline to make your team better.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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