Mets Sign Tim Redding

Whew! That was a close one! Here it is mid-January, about a month before pitchers and catchers report, and the Mets were STILL without a fifth starter. That is, until a few hours ago, as the Mets came to terms with righthander Tim Redding.

Now all they need to do is find a #3 and #4, and they’ll be all set. Piece of cake!

The Rochester native — who will turn 31 about a month from now — enjoyed his best season in the big leagues since 2003, before the Washington Nationals non-tendered him a few weeks ago. Redding won ten games for the second time in his career and compiled a 4.95 ERA with a 1.49 WHIP for the Nats. He made 33 starts and hurled a career-high 182 innings.
Tim Redding pitching for the Washington Nationals
Although the Mets are more desperate to find a solid #3 to follow Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey, I still like this deal — as long as it’s the first of a series of signings. Redding is what we might call a “backup plan” or insurance — similar to when the Mets signed Jose Lima, Chan Ho Park, Brian Lawrence, and Claudio Vargas in recent years. Yes, he ate innings and might have been considered the Nats’ “ace” last year, but I’m not putting much stock into his surprising season — mainly because he’s fooled us before. After winning ten games and posting a sparkling 3.46 ERA as a 25-year-old for Houston in 2003, Redding battled nagging shoulder injuries and never came close to that kind of performance again. He’s a five-inning starter with a decent fastball but questionable secondary stuff. That said, he’s nice to have around as insurance at the back end, and could fit right as a long reliever. In other words, he’s another Claudio Vargas.

With Redding under wraps, does this mean the Mets move away from Pedro Martinez? I hope not. I can see a scenario where Pedro wins the #5 spot and pushes Redding into the aforementioned long relief role — a role that was not properly managed in 2007 nor 2008 yet would have significantly eased the burden on the rest of the bullpen in both years.

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. sincekindergarten January 10, 2009 at 8:20 am
    I, too, want to see the Mets resign Pedro, as the #5. Let Redding, Niese, etc. fight it out for the rotation. Pedro is a heluva mentor, too, as we saw when he took Big Pelf and Ollie aside and gave them a talking-to. I actually think that John Maine will pan out. He may not have that high fastball in the mid-90s anymore (it may come back, too!), but he’ll find a way to compete. Didn’t Maine go to Tom Glavine two years ago to learn the circle changeup? Maine will find a way.
  2. joe January 10, 2009 at 9:34 am
    Agreed on Pedro as mentor. I don’t see Tim Redding helping anyone else. He’s Aaron Sele all over again.

    I’m a huge fan and supporter of Johnny Maine. But he hasn’t called me yet to fix his mechanics so I’m concerned his command is going to be all over the place again (and he’ll eventually re-injure the shoulder). Doesn’t he read this blog? Sheesh!

  3. isuzudude January 10, 2009 at 10:18 am
    The Redding signing is good, but not great. He’ll be an adequate #5, with the potential to win 10 or more games if he stays healthy and remains in the rotation for the bulk of the season. Additionally, his contract is very affordable, especially considering that other bums such as Chan Ho Park ($2.5-mil) and Daniel Cabrera ($2.6-mil) will be making more than him in 2009. But like you say, Joe, he’s a 5-inning pitcher, which I thought was something the Mets were trying to get away from after watching their bullpen breakdown over the past 2 seasons. I think what sold the Mets on Redding was his performance against the Phillies last year, in which he went 3-1 in 5 starts with a 3.41 ERA. Omar might be hoping Redding is our own version of what Adam Eaton used to be against the Mets, in which he struggles against the rest of MLB but performs like CY Young in the rivalry matchups. As a spot starter/temporary #5, that will suffice, but only in that capacity and only if someone else like Lowe or Perez is also brought into the rotation. And I, too, hope Pedro comes back. The more competition and bodies there is for the rotation, the better.
  4. kerelcooper January 11, 2009 at 10:47 am
    I want to see what else the Mets do with the starting pitching before deciding if this is a good signing. For example, if the Mets end up signing Lowe or Perez and Redding is the 5th starter, fine, no problem. BUT if the Mets do not sign another pitcher that is of the caliber of Lowe or Perez and now Redding is the 4th starter, then I have a problem.
  5. Micalpalyn January 11, 2009 at 12:24 pm
    JOE? I’m having posting issues again: But in short….

    1. I’lll go out on a limb and say Redding is NOT #5 and will get Trax-type stats ie; a 14 win season at a 4.5 ERA

    2. I do think the Ollie market is falling into Omar’s lap and he could bring Ollie back for a 3yr/sub 30M deal.

    3. I do not care much for Lowe and dont laud him as the #2 pitcher other see him as.

  6. joe January 11, 2009 at 1:17 pm
    Kerel – agreed on that. Mets are in deep doo-doo if Redding is #4.

    Mic – what kind of posting issues? are you trying to put in hyperlinks by any chance? As for your other points …

    1. Redding is exactly what Trachsel was, only not quite as good, which is kind of scary to think. Considering that Redding never won more than 10 games, has a career ERA just under 5.00, and at 31 likely getting worse rather than better, I think the 14-win suggestion is overly optimistic. I can see where it’s possible though, with a lot of luck, especially considering that the Mets have effectively shortened the game to 7 innings and Redding would be facing the other teams’ #5. However I don’t see Redding pitching through the 6th inning too often, and I’m not seeing the powerhouse offense of 2006 re-emerging — which to me spells a lot of no-decisions and a strain on the bullpen.

    2. The Ollie market will suddenly surge if Lowe signs with Atlanta. Boras will have Minaya’s hands tied, and be able to ask for the moon. If indeed Lowe becomes a Brave and Minaya continues to play chicken, watch Ollie sign with a West Coast team, the Rangers, or the Cubs.

    3. I don’t think Lowe is a #2, but he’s a fine #3. If the Mets had ANYONE other than Johan with a history of consistently racking up 200-inning seasons, there wouldn’t be much excitement for Lowe. Pelfrey looks like he might be that kind of guy — in fact he reminds me a LOT of Lowe when Lowe was around the same age — but we’ll have to wait and see.

  7. sincekindergarten January 11, 2009 at 1:35 pm
    Kerel is dead on. But, I see Redding doing quite well at the #5 slot. Matter of fact, I’d think that he just might average 6 IP/start. 13 wins.

    Ollie winds up back with us.

  8. joe January 11, 2009 at 1:52 pm
    SK – I can see Redding helping out at the back end, but his remarkably inconsistent history is unsettling. Is his up-and-down career the result of nagging injuries? Or is he simply mediocre? To me his ceiling is that of a Josh Fogg or Adam Eaton.

    Averaging six innings a start means he’s regularly pitching into the seventh. He did that four times in 33 starts last year. I’m skeptical right now, but could change my mind after seeing him with my own eyes again in ST.

    I think you’re rooting for him because he’s a local boy (Rochester) … btw get any snow up there?

    I hope Ollie comes back.

  9. Micalpalyn January 11, 2009 at 4:27 pm
    1. Redding: Many many players are the anti- pedro and blossom late. Why cant Redding? At 31 and Finally healthy ….and proved it…he could be poised to be a EXACTLY what Omar likes; a mature player with something to prove. Further the Mets offer Redding something he can benefit from; offensive support and defense.

    2. Lowe has proved himself to be durable but he is not an ace. I DONT think Omar needs to bog the Mets down with a five yr contract for him. ILike that Omar could right now bring back Ollie who has a great deal more upside. BUT I want to see Omar follow Theo’s template……ie just as Theo has Masterson et al ready he brings in Smoltz and Brad Penny!! I’d like to see Freddy Garcia courted. I still think Omar has a trade in his hip pocket. I think Schneider could still go to Boston.

    2b. Bullpen: Dont count out out Juan Cruz or Chad Cordero.

    3. Atlanta NEEDS Lowe….BAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They have nothing… Hudson, No Smoltz, No Glavine, No Peavy. Kamakazi, Reyes and Jurgens are their rotation right now…hello 1987.

  10. isuzudude January 11, 2009 at 5:10 pm
    I don’t know about Rochester, but here in Utica, Joe, snowbanks a’plenty that soar over my head. I’m getting rather sick of shoveling, I can tell you that.

    Mic, I don’t know where you get some of your information from, but I feel obligated to clear the record. Firstly, saying that Redding is not a #5 and then comparing him to Trachsel is contradictive. Trachsel is the perfect representation of a #5, who just happened to be lucky enough to spend some years on good teams that allowed him to back his way into some 10+ win seasons. You mention a Trachsel statline of 14 wins and 4.50 ERA like it was commonplace, but in fact in his 16 year career, he finished a season with 14+ wins just 3 times, and a 4.50 or under ERA 6 times while starting at least 25 games. Maybe you’re stuck in 2003 and remember his one decent year with the Mets (16-10, 3.78) but other than that you’ll be hard pressed to find similar seasons of success, and it’ll be impossible to find any season along those lines with Redding. Redding went 10-11 with a 4.95 ERA last year and that’s considered his breakout season. That should tell you all you need to know about Redding and what type of production he’ll likely bring to the Mets in 2009.
    Regarding Perez and the money he’s going to get, there is no way on earth he gets anything less than Derek Lowe in terms of years or dollar signs when he’s a younger, more dynamic pitcher (and left-handed). That said, if Lowe “settles” for nothing lower than 3-yr/$36-mil, how in the world does Ollie get less than $30-mil? Think about it.
    Regarding Lowe, no one says he’s an ace. But he’s definitely a bonafide #2/#3, proven by his ability to win an average of 14 games per year with 200 innings pitched and ERAs under 4.00 for the past 4 years. I don’t understand how you can look at Lowe and then look at Redding and think Redding is the bomb and Lowe is garbage. Also, no one is saying Lowe will get a 5-yr contract. He’ll never get anything over 4 guarenteed, and likely will have to settle for 3 years and an option for a 4th.

    However, I agree that Omar could still be looking to add more bodies for the staff and for the bullpen, but for some reason he’s being very cheap with his selections which is going to put him at a serious disadvantage when he wants to go after someone of real value. I also think Atlanta could really use Lowe, but I’m fairly confident that Omar realizes the desperation of the situation and in the next few days will increase his offer to Lowe and make Lowe’s decision easier to make. He’s a northeast guy who I think would rather play with Johan, Wright, Reyes, Krod, et al than with the youth movement in Atlanta. And if I’m wrong, then Omar better throw his checkbook at Perez and hope he’s still available when the time comes.

  11. Micalpalyn January 11, 2009 at 7:05 pm
    Dude: I love argueing with you, and essentially we are using stats, gut feelings and other perspectives to make our cases. Did anyone here predict Pel would have double digit wins, or that Ollie would repeat his previous season and Johan would win only 156-7but with a 2.5 ERA?

    So yes I WILL climb the limb and predict T. Redding gets his 10 wins possibly with the best ERA (or 2nd best) of his career. However I think it is LESS likely that Lowe gets 14wins AND a sub 4.00 ERA in either NY or Atl. …just my prediction. In a few weeks we should know more about that Ollie or Lowe contract.

  12. joe January 11, 2009 at 8:30 pm
    Mic, OK 10 wins from Redding is a bit more realistic. Personally, I will be surprised if he makes the rotation. And if Citi Field is the cavernous pitcher’s park people have been saying, maybe he does post a nice ERA. But from what I’ve seen of him — 100% healthy — his stuff is rather ordinary and he’s pretty hittable. We’ll see.

    Lowe has averaged 14 wins and a sub-4 ERA for the last four years … but, you could be right, he might be in line for a dip, particularly since he’s not getting younger and he’s leaving LA’s pitcher-friendly Chavez Ravine. After all, his ERA has been over 4.00 in games away from Los Angeles for the last three seasons.

    The key is what Citi Field ultimately is — a pitcher’s park, as originally suggested; a hitter’s park, as one BP session late in 2008 supposedly showed; or a neutral stadium. The wild card, if you will.

  13. isuzudude April 6, 2009 at 7:43 am
    Wow, after having seen Lowe’s outstanding performance last night, anyone care to change their mind regarding Lowe not being able to handle the duty of being a #1/#2 in the NL East? I tell you, with Perez’ struggles this spring, it certainly would look a whole lot nicer with Lowe penciled in as the Mets’ #2 starter and Pelfrey #3 instead of Pelfrey #2 and Perez #3 – regardless of what Lowe’s pricetag would have been. Because as of right now, he’s looking to be worth every penny. I’m standing by my claim that the team’s decision to pass on Lowe this offseason will play a huge role in why the Mets will be settling for plenty of 2nd and 3rd place finishes in the next 4 years.
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