Trades and DFAs
Omar Minaya says the Mets are “buyers” right now, rather than “sellers”. We’ll see whether that rings true over the next 8 days, but in the meantime, a few deals have gone down.
Rockies acquire Rafael Betancourt from Indians
I liked Betancourt around this time last year — while he was in the midst of a poor season — and he’s rebounded well, jacking up his value in the process. The Rockies made a smart move, I think, in obtaining Betancourt. First of all, they gave up a non-prospect — a 24-year-old pitcher stuck in A-ball. Secondly, they get a veteran reliever with still-good stuff who will be a mystery to most NL hitters. He could give Colorado the same “shot in the arm” that Guillermo Mota gave the Mets in 2006 (pardon the pun).
Red Sox trade Julio Lugo to Cardinals for Chris Duncan
So much for the Mets signing Lugo after his official release. The Bosox, remarkably, found a taker — and got a young slugger in return! The Cardinals have been desperate for a shortstop since May, when Khalil Greene was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. This deal could work out better than people expect, considering that St. Louis has been running the hard-playing but punchless Brendan Ryan out to shortstop every day. Lugo has been a disappointment in Boston but still has good speed, a decent bat, and the ability to get on base. Meanwhile, the Red Sox get Duncan, who hit a combined 43 HRs in limited duty in 2006 and 2007 but has been trending downward since. After a hot start, Duncan’s averaged dropped to below .230 and was being optioned to AAA only hours before the trade. It’s a low-risk, high-reward roll of the dice for Theo Epstein — though, the Bosox are still on the hook for all of Lugo’s salary.
Red Sox acquire Adam LaRoche from the Pirates
With Big Papi continuing to struggle, finding a new DH was imminent for Boston. The LH-hitting LaRoche is not afraid to hit to the opposite field, so the Green Monster could turn him into, well, a monster. If nothing else, moving from the depressing Pirates to the contending Red Sox should wake him up out of his month-long slump. (I find it funny that LaRoche has been criticized for lack of fire or passion while in Pittsburgh– has that organization given ANYONE a reason to be excited?) Perfect timing for LaRoche, who is a free agent at the end of the season.
Blue Jays DFA David Dellucci
The Mets did not get LaRoche, did not get Lugo, will not get either of Halladay / Holliday, but Dellucci looks like a perfect fit. The veteran outfielder has played a good 3-4 years past his expiration date, but still gets chances around the bigs. He’s hitting .185 this year, he hit .238 last year, and .230 the year before. But, he once hit as many as 29 HRs in a season (for Texas), he’s a very good fielder, and the Mets are suddenly righty-heavy. I’m not advocating his acquisition, but I can see it coming, can’t you?