It's not the hottest move of the winter, but another piece of the New York Mets off-season puzzle has fallen into place with former Washington Nationals starter Tim Reddingagreeing in principle on a deal to pitch in Flushing for 2009.
When the ink is dry Redding will be the fourth starter penciled in for the Mets 2009 rotation; but if all goes according to the Mets plan he should eventually slot into the #5 spot after the Mets sign Derek Lowe or Oliver Perez. Redding was a solid innings-eater in Washington last year, his ten wins represented almost 20% of the Nationals season total (10 out of 59).
His overall ERA of 4.95 doesn't look great, but he pitched the second half injured and his pre-All Star break ERA of 3.85 was more than tolerable. Even if you take the 4.95 number, it still represents an improvement over the 5.61 mark put up by future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez.
And it is Pedro who is probably most affected by this signing. When discussing possibilities for Mets rotation-fillers, the names most often bandied about were Pedro and rookie left-hander Jon Niese. Martinez just recently told the media that he'd like to return to win a Series with the Mets, but with Redding in the fold there's less need from the Mets side for a fifth starter.
There's also the matter of how much money Pedro thinks he deserves. His last contract was the one given him to "legitimize" a franchise looking to change the culture; it still valuated him as one of the best starters in baseball. Now Pedro is a shell of his former greatness, and he's pricing himself in a recessed economy; it's the first time his interest in pitching outweighs the interest others have in him pitching.
All told, Pedro's arm could still fit in as an Orlando Hernandez or Julio Franco veteran coach-player type; but the question is whether his ego could do the same.