The New York Mets had plenty of problem in 2012. Starting pitching wasn't at or near the top of the list. Led by Cy Young candidate R.A. Dickey, Mets starting pitchers were 58-59 with a respectable earned run average of 3.83. Thus, the team more than likely won't spend money on starting pitching in the offseason. Instead, the Mets will go with what they have next year -- a mix of youth and experience, and hopefully good health. Here's a look at what the starting staff probably will look like in 2013.
Matt Harvey -- Harvey dazzled in his debut season with the Mets. Despite a 3-5 record, he posted an ERA of 2.73 with 70 strikeouts in 59.1 innings. But is the young prospect ready to handle the workload of a full season? The Mets will handle Harvey with care in 2013. Keep an eye on him in Spring Training.
Dillon Gee -- Gee, who won 13 games in 2011, struggled at the start of this year. However, he was turning it around before a blood clot in his right shoulder ended his season. He was 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA in what turned out to be his final two starts. Gee's injury shouldn't prevent him from being ready for Spring Training and taking back his spot in the middle of the rotation.
Johan Santana -- Santana will be two years removed from shoulder surgery next season, but there are no guarantees regarding his health or productivity. He wasn't the same after throwing the first no-hitter in franchise history on June 1 and had to be shut down in mid-August. Santana, who is due $25.5 million in 2013, may be the key to next year's staff. A healthy Santana still can get guys out.
Jon Niese -- Niese was overshadowed by Dickey last season, but the young, underrated lefty had the best year of his career with 13 wins and an ERA and WHIP of 3.40 and 1.17, respectively. The Mets wisely signed Niese through 2016 last offseason. I expect him to take another step forward in 2013.
R.A. Dickey -- Dickey knuckle-balled his way to one of the best seasons in Mets history in 2012. He became the team's first 20-game winner since Frank Viola in 1990 and set a franchise mark for consecutive scoreless innings at 32.2. The club most likely will extend his contract over the winter and hope the soon-to-be 38-year-old can come close to duplicating his improbable season.
Should the Mets explore free agent starting pitchers in the offseason? Can Dickey duplicate his success in 2013? Will Santana return to form? Let me know what you think.Adam Martini is a freelance sportswriter who grew up in Queens, N.Y. with a view of Shea Stadium from his bedroom window. He spent many nights in the upper deck at Shea rooting for the Mets. Adam follows back Mets fans on Twitter @PegCitySports.
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