Just checking in with the Metsies to see whats happened since "the Catch" and Aaron Heilman's last floating change-up of the season.
Mets resigned Jose Valentin and El Duque yesterday, and made a trade today.
The Valentin signing (one year, $3.8M, with option) is not a terrible deal. As much as I hate Valentin, he hits right-handed pitching extremely well (to the tune of approximately .280/.330/.500 for his career) and can field decently. Its not too much money, considering the market, and worst case scenario, Valentin can play versus righties only. A platoon partner to face lefties looks like the best idea, although Minaya has hinted that he'll find an every day guy and relegate Valentin to a utility role.
THe El Duque signing is a little more troublesome. As good as he is when he pitches, he hasn't pitched all that much. Last season Duque put together a 9-7 record with a 4.09 ERA for the Mets. With all the offensive firepower, that's good enough. The contract, however (2 years, $12MM) is a little large OR long. One year at $6M would have been ok... or two years at a lesser rate. But what are the odds that Duque will both a) give us two seasons of pitching and b) have them be league average?
I don't hate the signing, but I don't love it. With age and injury concerns, we may end up with near to nothing for this. The part of the deal that I DO like is that it gives the Mets flexibility without financially handicapping them. $12M might be too much for El Duque, but allowing the Mets to negotiate from a position of strength, and retaining a Mets FA is better than acquiring a FA from another team because it does not require draft pick compensation.
Now the trade:
P Royce Ring and P Heath Bell to San Diego for OF Ben Johnson and P Jon Adkins
Small deal, but potentially revealing. Johnson is a 25 year old prospect - that's already bad. However, scouts like his tools, he had a great 2005, and he lost last year partially to injury. He has a chance to contribute full time. Adkins seems to be a league average or worse innings guy.
I'm sad to see Bell and Ring go- I actually think that if they see time in the majors, that they will both do well this season. I guess that's a prediction. They were two of the guys I rooted hardest for, but with the Mets bullpen depth, they were expendable. If Johnson works out, great, we win. If Johnson doesn't, we don't lose much. I'll be watching his progress closely.
Last thing - Lastings Milledge
This kis is for real. Only in New York would you have a prospect- with GREAT physical tools, who dominated the minor leagues in 2005 and 2006, at levels wayyyy too advanced for someone his age, not to mention bat .241 in the major leagues at the age of 21- get criticized. Everyone shut UP. Give him a chance to mature. He was better than fucking Michael Tucker and he couldn't legally drink until April.