If the 2011 season started today, the Mets would begin the year without much depth in the starting rotation. They wouldn't even have a starting five, unless you consider Dillon Gee and Jenrry Mejia Major League ready.
Therefore, the rotation would include Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey, and Jon Niese. Of course the guy who's missing is Johan Santana, who'll be sidelined until perhaps the All-Star break according to general manager Sandy Alderson after undergoing left shoulder surgery in September.
Three starters isn't nearly enough for any team, especially for the Mets if they'd like to remain competitive in the NL Wild Card race. The division is out of play after the Phillies signed Cliff Lee to add to their already dominant trio.
So, what should the Mets do? They should take a flyer on Carl Pavano. It's true that the worst ball of his career came as a member of the Yankees, but perhaps in the National League, at a pitchers' park, Pavano could provide the Mets with some solid innings.
He's remained healthy as a member of the Twins and did a great job with them in 2010. In 32 starts, he won 17 games with an ERA below four, while leading the Amercian League in complete games and shutouts. He was durable, pitching 221 innings and would be a better option for the Mets than Gee or Mejia who should be starting the season in Triple-A Buffalo.
The way he failed pitching in New York would turn away Mets fans but it's been a couple of seasons since, and he's proven to have something left.
He'd be a pretty good fourth starter, with the Mets only needing one more pitcher to take the fifth spot in the rotation. That spot can go to some younger pitchers fighting it out in spring training.
If not Pavano, Chris Young and Jeff Francis would be other options.