Mets interested in right-hander Wang
Club may also seek relief help from Capps, MacDougal
NEW YORK -- For years, the Yankees have brought aboard high profile players who have been discarded by the Mets or who have merely left the Mets on their own. See Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Todd Zeile, Robin Ventura, Armando Benitez, Jose Vizcaino, Lee Mazzili, Kevin Elster, Lance Johnson, David Cone, Daryl Boston and John Olerud, to name a dozen.
The moves have gone the other way as well, but the train does seem to run from Queens to the Bronx more often than visa versa.
Now, a chance exists that the Mets will bring in a pitcher who has made his mark -- and what a mark it was -- with the Yankees. The Mets have interest in Chien-Ming Wang who, until last season, was an integral component of the Yankees' rotation. Wang was among the 39 players who were not tendered contracts by their incumbent clubs who became free agents at midnight Saturday. And he is one of several the Mets intend to contact.
A person familiar with the Mets' thinking acknowledged Monday that the club has interest in Wang and at least two relievers -- Matt Capps, last of the Pirates, and Mike MacDougal, who split the 2009 season between the White Sox and Nationals. The two earned 28 and 20 saves respectively in 2009. With J.J. Putz gone to the White Sox -- the Mets weren't about to match the Sox's offer of $3 million for Putz -- the need for setup relievers exists.
The Mets' need for power and a right-handed hitter with some first base acumen may prompt the Mets to inquire about two other non-tenders -- first baseman Ryan Garko and outfielder Jonny Gomes, who hit 13 and 20 home runs respectively as part-time players last season.
The Mets' interest in non-tendered personnel came to light Tuesday while the Red Sox were agreeing to a contract with John Lackey, the starting pitcher whom the Mets wanted most, and while the Phillies appeared to move toward completing a deal that would import Roy Halladay, a pitcher Mets fans had coveted.
With Lackey and left-hander Randy Wolf eliminated as potential solutions for the Mets, the club may look more closely at two other free-agent pitchers -- Joel Pineiro and Jason Marquis. The Mets view Pineiro as more likely to provide quality performance and Marquis more apt to provide innings. They need both commodities and see Pineiro as the more expensive possibility.
And then there is Wang, 29, who had produced a .730 winning percentage in the equivalent of three seasons with the Yankees before serious injuries to his right foot interrupted his career in 2008. He pitched ineffectively last season, prompting the Yankees' decision to non-tender him rather than risk a salary-arbitration case with a pitcher who won 38 games -- more than any other pitcher -- in 2006 and '07 and who earned $5 million for '09.
The Mets almost certainly would offer Wang a low base salary and many incentives based on innings and/or starts. Pitchers such as Capps and MacDougal would command contracts not based on incentives.
The Mets expect to scout Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman if and when he auditions in Houston on Tuesday. Houston-based scout Rudy Terrasas probably would be the one watching the 21-year-old left-handed Cuban defector, who is said to throw hard and lack control. The Mets also will have at least one scout in Puerto Rico this week, when Carlos Delgado begins playing in an attempt to demonstrate his readiness to return to the big leagues. Delgado, who underwent surgery on his right hip in May, hasn't played since May 10.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.