I don't really know where to begin on this one. The past couple hours have been chaos in Metsville.
Most of us expected the bullpen to get a facelift this offseason, and it essentially got one tonight. Three new relievers - Jon Rauch, Frank Francisco, and Ramon Ramirez.
Earlier today, I mentioned that I like Rauch, and I am glad that a deal got done. It's a one year $3.5 million deal with performance bonuses. That sounds about right I guess. That was just Sandy's opening act though.
Then came the trade. Angel Pagan to the Giants for RHP Ramon Ramirez and CF Andres Torres. I've never been a huge fan of Pagan, and apparently the Mets were really looking to move him at the Winter Meetings. I have to admit, I don't know a whole lot about Ramon Ramirez and I don't remember him pitching much against the Mets. He's been around the league - 2 years in Colorado, 1 in Kansas City, 1.5 in Boston, and 1.5 in San Francisco. He's coming off of a great year which is obviously assuring - 3-3 2.62 ERA in 66 appearances. And just by looking at his numbers, he seems to have been pretty consistent and reliable throughout his career.
Andres Torres really doesn't get me excited though. He's great defensively, but is really hard to watch at the plate. I hope Sandy doesn't see Torres as the full time replacement for Pagan. I think he'd make a great situational player (defensive replacement late in games, etc.). But if Andres Torres is the opening day center fielder, I really won't be too pleased.
Sandy's final move of the night was signing Frank Francisco to a 2 year deal worth $12 million. Cordero was my choice, but he would have costed a little more. To me, it would have been worth it, but obviously it wasn't to Sandy. Francisco isn't an awful closer, and had some success in Texas before a decent season last year in Toronto. He doesn't have a tone of closing experience though. 49 career saves. 25 in '09, 17 in '11, 5 in '08, and 2 in '10. The Mets are handing him the keys to the closer role, and you really can't be sure of what you're gonna get from him. He has an erratic personality, and we can only hope that his performance won't be the same way.
Frankie Rodriguez obviously wasn't a fan favorite in Queens this past year. The whole beating up his father in law thing didn't sit well with a lot of people. So the Mets go from that, to a guy who threw a folding chair at a fan while playing for Texas in 2004? I know that's a while ago and people change, but I don't know. As long as you perform well on the field and help the Mets win games, I don't care what you do off the field. But I think there is something to be said about having likable guys on your team. Look at the Steelers for example. Guys like Rothlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall aren't exactly guys you want winning a Super Bowl (unless your a Steelers fan obviously). Like I said, that incident was seven years ago, and he's gone through Tommy John surgery and a lot in his career. I haven't paid a ton of attention to him in the past few years, but I'm sure he's grown up and matured off the field. I sure hope so at least.
Just looking at the bullpen, tonight was a great night for the Mets. Rauch and Rodriguez are great additions, and really bring some depth to the bullpen. Terry now has a few guys he can turn to late in games. Francisco wasn't my choice for closer, but it is nice knowing that someone is there. And the price was right, which I'm sure played a huge role in Sandy's decision.
Offensively though, I think the Mets took a step back. Right now the Mets don't have a legitimate lead-off hitter. I'm fine with trading Pagan. Some fans really liked Angel, and I can't really figure out why. But I think it makes sense for the Mets to go in a different direction in center field. Don't forget about the outfielders the Mets have in the organization. Fernando Martinez, Matt Den Dekker, Kirk Nieuwenhuis all might be Major League ready. Nieuwenhuis missed a lot of time last year, but performed really well at Buffalo. Maybe Sandy is really high on him and expects him to step up in Spring Training.
The Rule V Draft is on Thursday, and maybe there's an outfielder Sandy has his eye on. Here are a few notable outfielders that will be available: Jiwan James (Phillies), Thomas Pham (Cardinals), Angel Morales (Twins), Erik Komatsu (Nationals), and TJ Steele (Astros). I know next to nothing about these guys, but the Rule V Draft is a really low risk high reward thing. Taking at least one of them makes a lot of sense.