Affeldt and Tomko Off the Market

Two more free-agent pitchers have left the market. Lefty Jeremy Affeldt has agreed to a contract with the Cincinnati Reds and righty Brett Tomko has signed with the Royals.

From my point of view, either of these guys could have been nice fits for the Mets, one or the other stepping into the Aaron Sele role and/or giving the kids a push for the fifth starter spot. Affeldt was especially interesting because he was a lefty — and when you play the Phillies 18 times a year, the more lefties on your staff, the better. I would have liked Affeldt as a spot starter, long reliever, and LOOGY. Instead, he’ll go to Cincinnati, where they’re talking about putting him in the starting rotation. Not a bad idea, with the shortage of quality starters in this day and age.

Similarly, Tomko would have been a good fit as a long reliever, middle reliever, and spot starter. The hard-throwing righty with the good sinker has forever been something of an enigma, occasionally showing flashes of brilliance (not unlike Kyle Lohse).

Both pitchers agreed to one-year, $3M contracts. Compared to other free agents, that’s a bargain, and a manageable risk.

And still the Mets sit on their hands, either completely comfortable with their pitching staff or working on a secret deal that will be announced any day now.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. skibolton January 21, 2008 at 8:40 am
    While either of these guys would be a nice fit for the mets, I don’t think the mets wer a good fit for either of them. These guys have put themselves into situations where they are almost assured to be in the starting rotation next season, something that wouldn’t have been assured here. If they can put together a nice season, both of these guys would figure to get much more money as starters next season, as well as having more options of where to play. Many of these guys probably don’t see being a fall back starter for the mets as a good option. They would be nice to have, but I don’t see it happening. I think if we’re going to get more starters in this season, they’ll have to be guys like lohse or livan.
    I think the situation may have been different if aaron sele had been utilized to some extent. The way willie used darrin oliver 2 seasons ago made the role somewhat desireable for a free agent. Guys like Park, Sele, and Sosa all were willing to sign with the mets. After sele rotted on the bench all year, it seems like that same type of guy views the mets as a much less desireable situation.
  2. sincekindergarten January 21, 2008 at 11:40 am
    SB, I think that you may have hit the nail on the head with the last sentence in your post. But, in all fairness, Sosa didn’t rot on the bench, but eventually wound up in the pen, and he did fairly good from the pen. Personally, I’d love to see El Duque in the pen to start the season. According to a few Twins fans (via MetsBlog), it would look as if Santana is going to come here–with one Twins’ blogger saying that the Twins should throw a prospect into the deal, to get FMart.
  3. isuzudude January 21, 2008 at 12:41 pm
    Skibo: I agree with your post. I ran down a list of my top-5 desirable free agent starting pitchers left on the market, and Tomko was one of them. However, I only mentioned his name because of how poor the rest of the field is. Truth is, like you said, his role (and Affeldt’s role, for that matter) would be very similar to that of Aaron Sele circa 2007, which essentially left the Mets with a 24-man roster. And, also like you said, Tomko is pretty much guaranteed a rotation spot with KC, whereas in NY he would have had to fight and claw just to make the roster. Very much the same situation as Jon Lieber just last week.

    SK: IF Johan, or any other marquee (not Marquis) starting pitcher is not acquired before opening day, who takes El Duque’s spot in the rotation? Conversely, who does he bump out of the already crowded bullpen, taking into consideration Sanchez is on the comeback trail? Duque’s value on the team, as of this point, is much greater in the rotation throwing (hopefully) 7 innings every 5 days than throwing maybe two to four innings in that same span in middle relief and mopup duty. Especially considering the alternatives (Vargas, Humber, Mulvey, Bostick) for his rotation spot. I might even prefer El Duque as the 5 over Pelfrey even if another pitcher is brought in, as many believe it’s Pelfrey, and not Hernandez, who is better cut out for bullpen work. A trade would allow the Mets to let Pelfrey (and Humber, while we’re at it) get a full season of relief work in at AAA, with hopes of major league contributions by 2009.

  4. isuzudude January 22, 2008 at 1:10 pm
    I read it on, and have now seen it on metsblog, that Endy Chavez (who was arby eligible) has been signed to a 2 year deal through 2009. I don’t know if this affects his trade value, as I know he’s been rumored and mentioned in potential deals for Jason Marquis and Chris Capuano. My gut feeling tells me the deal will keep Endy as a Met for the duration of the contract, and that Pagan was acquired as mere injury insurance and that Mike Pelfrey will be out 5th starter, unless Johan Santana is traded for or some bum like Livan or Lohse is signed.
  5. Micalpalyn January 22, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    See MLBrumors. With 7 OFers on the roster i agree with Metsblog that this means very little.

  6. Walnutz15 January 22, 2008 at 3:00 pm
    “My gut feeling tells me that Mike Pelfrey will be our 5th starter, unless Johan Santana is traded for or some bum like Livan or Lohse is signed.”

    Don’t forget to throw-in Odalis Perez.

    For what it’s worth (however much stock you want to put in “Impacto Deportivo”) — this is currently being discussed on Metsblog:

    According to Impacto Deportivo, free-agent LHP Odalis Perez will meet with executives from the Mets, who had been scouting him this winter in the Dominican Republic.

    In 26 starts for the Royals last season, Perez was 8–11 with a 5.57 ERA through 137 innings, during which he struck out 64 and walked 50.

    He has not finished a season with an ERA below 4.00 since 2004, when he was 7–6 with a 3.25 ERA in 31 starts for the Dodgers.

    Cerrone’s Comments:

    …if i recall right, the Mets looked into perez the last time he was a free agent, after that 2004 season…however, i do not believe talks ever progressed beyond a brief meeting, and he ended up signing a three-year deal with the Dodgers, during which he went 21–26 and was traded to the Royals…

    …he’s an intriguing pitcher, especially if he’s just a minor-league invitee…he’s got a strong fastball, and a pretty impressive curve ball at times…however, like a lot these type of pitchers, he leaves way, way too many pitches up, which get teed off on like it’s batting practice…he’s got the talent, but something just doesn’t seem to click for him…

  7. joe January 23, 2008 at 1:25 am
    Dear lord … Odalis Perez is the lefthanded Jose Lima, except, without the previous success. What doesn’t “click” with him is the connection between his body and his brain … he’s a classic head case. No thanks.

    Not to mention the confusion this would cause for Tim McDumber and Joe Stuckup on FOX games. Gosh golly ol’ Tim was confusing Oliver with Odalis last year, can you imagine if they were both on the same team?

    After all the Johan talk, there better not be any serious consideration for Odalis Perez. I don’t think I can handle the letdown.

  8. Micalpalyn January 23, 2008 at 10:19 am

    As the dominos fall, of course Omar is looking at options.

    Bartolo and Odalis: I am not against either. The Omar model says one of these could be his Chan ho/Jose Lima for 2008. simply put, all Pelfrey, Humber, or Mulvey would be doing is competing against these veterans for a starting job…..whats wrong with that? What Pelfrey and Humber nedd is some incentive. remember Bannister BEAT out Trachsel 2 yrs ago hands down and WON his spot….and obviously that was not an anomaly.

    However, I’d like non-guaranteed contracts with roster incentives.

  9. joe January 23, 2008 at 10:47 am
    I think the examples of Chan Ho and Lima are exactly the reason I don’t like Odalis … but Park and Lima had more than one decent year in their pasts, while Odalis had one. From that perspective, I’d rather have Colon because he was a dominant winner in the past, therefore has actually done it before and know what it takes. All Odalis has done is had one lucky season at age 25, and been a complete disappointment since.

    I don’t mind competition for the kids, but I don’t like the idea of wasting spring innings on a waste like Odalis Perez when we need to get full looks at both starters and relievers this spring.

  10. skibolton January 23, 2008 at 11:34 am
    As long as it’s a minor league deal with no promises of playing time, I have no problem with it. Darrin Oliver and Sosa had to earn time, and they turned out alright. Having a vet on the staff in NO wouldn’t hurt the development of guys like Bostick and Humber. I just don’t want to see omar gaurantee anything to these guys.
  11. isuzudude January 23, 2008 at 1:06 pm
    I’m in agreement with Mic and Skibo…the more bodies the better, at this point. But, as is the consensus, minor league deals for all who aren’t named Livan Hernandez.

    Joe: I respect your opinion, but disagree on the Colon over Odalis statement. You are right that Colon was a “dominant winner in the past.” But why would we want to reward a washed up has-been with a contract just because back when his arm wasn’t held together by fishing line he had a 20-win season? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the biggest fan of Odalis either. But he is only 30. And he is left-handed. And he has more relief experience than Colon. And it would probably be easier to sign him to a minor league deal than Colon. Is it impossible to believe Perez *might* end up to be the 2008 version of the 2006 Darren Oliver? If you look at some of the stats Oliver had before coming to the Mets you’d turn up your nose in disgust in an instant. Yet look at the success he enjoyed coming to a winning team, in a pitchers’ ballpark, pitching in a new role. And although Perez isn’t the most desirable free agent name out there, he isn’t really that far removed from some pretty decent years with the Dodgers. At only 30, there’s a chance he’s still got some gas left in the tank. Isn’t he at least worth a look at in spring training? Again, I’m not trying to say Odalis is going to be a 15-game winner. I’m just saying he should at least be given a chance, especially over the overweight, injury plagued Colon.

  12. Micalpalyn January 23, 2008 at 1:51 pm
    Odalis Perez:

    Some thoughts to consider: cost – obviously not a big factor, he wont get 9M.

    What he brings:a 30 yr old lefty with playoff experience, – a good FB and decent curve. A former teamamate of Pedro (I believe), and probably would be rejuvenated with a contending team.

    His last full season was 2004 with LA. Since then he has been injured but showed signs he was healthy last yr. In the NL east i think he could be a 4.50 ERA /.500 pitcher, start and relieve, and at least provide rotation cover….if not more.

    Remember Jamie Moyer: His addition to the Phils made a significant difference (despite age concerns).