Archive: January 25th, 2008

Tom Glavine’s Replacement

So the latest rumor — straight from the oft-unreliable Tracy Ringolsby — is that Livan Hernandez is “close” to signing with the Mets.

If it’s true, I’m fine with it — Livan is the guy who can replace Tom Glavine’s 200 innings and be a quality postseason performer. Even if the Mets do pull off a Johan Santana trade, Livan’s presence will make the loss of arms going the other way that much easier. In fact, getting Livan locked up might move the Mets to add Oliver Perez or John Maine to the Santana deal. Personally, that’s not what I want to see — I’ve grown very fond of both youngsters — but you have to give up something to get something, and the Twins need to receive a valid MLB player in any deal for Johan.

We’ve felt since November that Livan would be in orange and blue, and there haven’t been too many other teams kicking the tires on him. He may reunite with half-brother Orlando after all.

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Mets Sign Ricardo Rincon

The Mets signed veteran lefty reliever Ricardo Rincon to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.

Yes, it happened a few days ago and I’m a little late reporting it, but better late than never.

I like this signing, for several reasons. First of all, Rincon can pitch — when healthy — and the Mets can use all the lefties they can get to battle the lefty-heavy Phillies. Second, the minor league contract is an easy commitment — if he makes the 25-man roster, great. If he doesn’t, no big deal, and he’ll add to the depth in AAA. Third, he could give the Mets the flexibility to move Scott Schoeneweis in a trade if one presents itself. That last point may seem outlandish at the moment, but you never know what transpires in the next few months.

The negatives to this pickup are Rincon’s age (38) and his questionable health. He was a pretty solid LOOGY and occasional middle reliever before succumbing to arm woes after pitching in the World Baseball Classic for his native Mexico. Immediately after the Classic, Rincon complained of discomfort that led to BOTH elbow AND shoulder surgeries that ended his 2006 season after only five appearances. He tried to come back last season, but was struck down with a torn ACL while in AAA Fresno (Giants). Eventually, he was able to pitch in a handful of games at the tail end of the Mexican League season — where he was effective.

Look, Rincon is not going to be the lefthanded Duaner Sanchez. He could, however, be effective in a LOOGY role, which could free Pedro Feliciano to pitch more middle relief innings and push Scott Schoeneweis (either to better performance or out the door). Rincon’s arm injuries could very well decimate his skills to a point where he’ll never pitch at the MLB level again — or the surgeries could have the Steve Austin effect and give him a few more years. The knee injury, though, is a problem — Rincon is a short guy (5’9″) who has carried too much weight during his career (210+ lbs.). If he hasn’t trimmed the fat, the knee problem could turn chronic.

In the end, this is a good low-risk, medium-high reward signing. Rincon could be a “throwaway”, or he could be this year’s J.C. Romero. Even if he proves to be somewhere in between, it will turn out to be a decent deal.

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