Quick Hits: Relief Pitchers
Let’s delve through the haystack of news and rumors regarding relievers:
LaTroy Hawkins is off the table
Those wily Houston Astros beat everyone to the punch and signed Hawkins to a one-year, $3.75M deal. I think the Astros were the only team interested in the 35-year-old righthander, and likely bid against themselves. Though the Mets did not have Hawkins on their radar, the signing is significant, as it establishes a fairly high bar for an over-the-hill, ineffective, injury-prone middle reliever. If Hawkins gets almost $4M, what does someone like David Weathers receive? Kudos to genius GM Ed Wade, the same guy who sent away both Brad Lidge and Eric Bruntlett for Michael Bourn and Geoff Geary. Those same cutting edge Astros are reportedly after Randy Wolf and Mike Hampton as well.
The Joe Beimel-as-setup-man rumors persist, for no logical reason. May I remind everyone that Beimel is a LOOGY, who ironically is coming off the best year of his career, and will be 32 years old next April. His career ERA is 4.31 and career WHIP is 1.51. For those not good with numbers: SCOTT SCHOENEWEIS REDUX!
In a miracle of miracles, Francisco Rodriguez may be “flexible” with his 5-year, insane-dollars, contract demands. Huh … could that be because none of the deep-pocketed teams are interested? It’s hard to negotiate for crazy deals when the Red Sox, Yankees, and Dodgers won’t be players, the Cubs aren’t calling, and the Angels don’t seem interested. The Mets should wait this one out and sign him in February on a three-year deal.
Supposedly, Fuentes offered the Mets a four-year deal. Hopefully Omar Minaya laughed out loud and slammed the hotel suite door on him. Reminder to all of MLB: this is the guy who lost his job when the Rockies went to the World Series. He’ll be 33 by next August. He’s due for an elbow injury with that horrendous throwing motion. If he can’t handle the pressure of a pennant race in Colorado, how will he ever handle New York?
Omar Minaya and Billy Beane have yet to make a trade together, and it’s possible another winter will pass without them dealing with each other. The buzz around MLB is that Street’s stock is plummeting, and he’s being viewed as a setup man — something’s fishy here. Considering that Beane may demand a ridiculous package, the Mets may have to look elsewhere. Still, I like his youth and his stuff.
Before you get all hot and heavy for Putz, let me point out a few things. First, he’s going to be 32 when spring training rolls around. Did you know that? I didn’t … I thought for sure he was in his late twenties. Second, he missed a month of action late last year due to an elbow injury. He also missed about 20 games at the beginning of the season because of a torso inflammation. The Mariners are demanding a king’s ransom for the otherwise dominating righthander. I like his stuff and his makeup, but the injuries and the age concern me. If the Mets can get him for a fair package, OK, but it sounds like they’ll have to overpay. Another concern: a guy named Putz coming to New York … bad idea.
Not understanding the delay here. We know Omar is signing Cordero. Give him an incentive-laden, no-risk deal and get on with it already. Some paint for the wall.
Suddenly he’s on the block, not sure why. If he’s available, go get him. The package needed compares to Street and Putz, but Jenks would seem to be a less risky move.
A no-brainer, but he’ll have a lot of suitors. He’ll get a deal similar to the Scott Linebrink contract of last winter — 4 years, $19M. You sure you want the Mets to sign a 30-year-old setup man for four years? Note that he, also, and ironically, is coming off a career year. Funny how guys pick a walk year to put up the best numbers of their life.
I like him, but not as a closer. Setup man, yes. Everyday / every situation, no. Which is what worries me — if Gregg comes in and the Mets have someone else to close, Gregg will jump right into the Aaron Heilman “role” of abuse, and lose effectiveness over time (this is a guy who needs rest between outings). But that’s a risk worth taking, as his stock is low right now and should be had for a fair package.