Mets Sign Matt Wise
In a move designed to bolster the bullpen, the Mets have signed reliever Matt Wise to a very cheap, one-year, $1.25M deal.
Though I’m 100 percent behind this pickup, it’s kind of disappointing to consider that this is one of the most exciting moves of the offseason.
Wise is more or less guaranteed some type of role in Willie Randolph’s bullpen, and has been successful as a setup man in the past. He’s coming off a down year but hopefully is due for an “up” year in 2008. My guess is that he may be used similarly to the way Randolph used Chad Bradford two years ago — in any inning from the fifth through extras. Whether he’ll be as effective is another question, however.
The signing of Wise closes a big hole in the Mets’ pen left behind by Bradford after the 2006 season — innings that weren’t well-filled by Guillermo Mota and Scott Schoeneweis, among others. Wise also provides some insurance in the event that the recuperating Duaner Sanchez either does not come back healthy or does not receive a belly buster DVD for Christmas (see right).
Wise is a tall and slender (6’4″, 195 lb.) rubber-armed reliever who throws a four-seam fastball, overhand curve, and changeup. He generally doesn’t give up many homeruns, and limits his walks. When he struggles, it’s usually due to losing his confidence and aiming the ball. His strikeout rate has been sporadic from year to year; in 2001 and 2005 he averaged a strikeout per inning but only struck out 27 in 44 innings in 2006. Last year, he K’d 43 in 54 innings, but posted a 4.19 ERA and a career high 1.45 WHIP. Compare that to his career WHIP of 1.26 and his ’05 WHIP of 0.96 and you may begin to understand why the Brewers non-tendered him — he appears to be on the downside of his career and through arbitration they would have had to pay him for his good years. It doesn’t help that Wise missed significant time in 2006 due to an elbow injury — so that could have something to do with his downfall. From the Mets’ point of view, though, this move is a no-brainer — he comes ultra-cheap in this market, with only a one-year commitment, and there’s a good chance he’ll be at least better than Mota was in ’07.
Now, if only Duaner Sanchez can get his arm in shape — and stay away from the beers and the Big Macs — the Mets’ bullpen might be a strength again in 2008.