Mack writes (via the wonderful Mack's Mets): Does Ollie really have to come back?
Can't the Mets work out some kind of compensation deal with China and just add his cost to the debt already owed them?
Call me a sucker for left-handers who can't find the plate (I happen to be one myself!), but I think Ollie might be decent next year. I am really happy about his voluntary off-season regimen at that performance institute in Arizona. If they think of him as an SP4 and act accordingly in the trade/free agent market, the Mets might be pleasantly surprised this year.
Is it too late to non-tender John Maine, if the Mets sign, say, Lackey and Marquis?
The non-tender deadline is December 12. That gives Omar Minaya more than three weeks to acquire at least one starter and to explore the market for Maine and Mike Pelfrey. If the Mets have two new starters on December 11 and they can't trade Pelfrey, then I have to think Maine is a goner.
I didn't expand enough on this plan in the original post. Simply put, here's how I would fill out the starting rotation for next season, in the order of I would do it:
1) Sign Rich Harden or Erik Bedard (preferably Harden) to a one-year deal with a club option.
2) Sign Jason Marquis or Joel Pineiro to a two-year deal with a club option. I have no preference between the two - I just want the player who accepts the most reasonable deal. If Minaya's hand is forced, he may have to offer three guaranteed years. That is fine, as long as he wrangles a very club-friendly option year to the contract.
3) Explore the trade market for Mike Pelfrey. He has more trade value than Maine and a lot of teams would take a chance on a former #1 pick making only $500K next season. If a good deal can be struck, ship Pelfrey away and install Maine in the rotation.
4) Explore the trade market for Maine. Get any reasonable return you can for him.
5) Non-tender Maine, if Steps 3 and 4 are unsuccessful.
SP1 - Santana
SP2 - Marquis/Pineiro
SP3 - Harden/Bedard
SP4 - Perez
SP5 - Maine/Pelfrey