With the acquisitions of J.J. Putz and Francisco Rodriguez, Duaner Sanchez’ stock has lowered dramatically this season. Last year, returning from a major shoulder injury, he didn’t look like himself at all. His velocity was way down and his breaking ball didn’t bite at all. It was more of a floating break.
He’ll be pitching in the middle innings this year, not entrusted with the late innings as he was in his terrific 2006 season. But how could he be? He finished 2008 with a 4.32 ERA, way above his career 3.91 ERA.
It would be great to see him return to form but that nasty shoulder injury might have taken too much out of his body. Click the link below to watch a video of him talking about the upcoming 2009 season.
Mets’ Sanchez ready for ’09
The U.S. and world economies have been in a free fall for months now. Major League Baseball free agents seem to be suffering as much as anyone. Okay, not as much as anyone but they’re certainly not getting the deals that they expected when they became free agents. I’m surprised that more high-level free agents aren’t taking short term deals so they can hit the market again when the economy is better. That’s what I would do.
Scott Miller from CBS Sports wrote a nice piece this week about the National League teams and their desire to, effectively, get something for nothing. Notably, the D-Backs have been turned down by Randy Johnson and Jon Garland already. And they signed Felipe Lopez on the cheap to replace Orlando Hudson.
The Washington Nationals have needs in just about every roster spot. They’re waiting in the wings for some of the best remaining free agents like Adam Dunn and Hudson.
The Mets are noted for getting Francisco Rodriguez for far less than anyone expected him to sign for this off-season. And trading for J.J. Putz to avoid paying out for another big free agent reliever, not to mention low-balling Derek Lowe.
Flickr photo courtesy of SD_Dirk
The most inevitable signing of the off-season finally happened today. Francisco Rodriguez finally agreed to a 3-year/$37 million deal to come to the New York Mets.
It’s a great move by Omar Minaya on his second day in Las Vegas. And this signing doesn’t seem to be much of a gamble. The Mets were the biggest market team in need of a closer, and K-Rod was the biggest closer on the market.
Initially, K-Rod was looking for five years but that quickly fell apart when a “glut” of closers hit the market via free agency and trade possibilities. The Mets gave Scott Schoenweiss a three year deal, so getting K-Rod for three years is a stroke of genius if not luck for the Mets.
K-Rod will be 27 years old next season and, although his delivery is pretty violent, he’s been remarkably durable during his seven year career. He brings 208 career saves and a 2.35 career ERA to New York. And don’t forget he set the single season record for saves last season with 62.
All we need now is for K-Rod to pass his physical, and the Mets can move on to solving other problems in the bullpen, second base, the rotation, and left field.
Buster Olney added a blog post at ESPN stating that the Mets call the shots in the closer market. There have been several reports recently that the Mets may make several simultaneous offers to K-Rod, Brian Fuentes, and possibly Kerry Wood. Whoever is the first to jump at the Mets offer gets the job.
The Mets are really sitting in a strong position, as perhaps the only big-market team intent on spending good money on a reliever, and their intention is to present the offers with this marching order: The first reliever who accepts our offer is going to be our closer.
The other teams out there looking at closers right now are the Brewers, Cardinals, Tigers, and Angels. From all of the reports that I’ve read, none of those teams want to be at the highest salary point for a free agent closer this off-season. I agree with Olney that situation does leave the Mets in the drivers seat right now.
This week Trevor Hoffman joined the ranks of the currently “between contract” closers. It’s a pretty impressive list right now with K-Rod, Brian Fuentes, and Hoffman all free agents. Bobby Jenks and J.J. Putz are rumored to be available for trades as well.
The Mets couldn’t have picked a better time to be in the market for a closer. We haven’t heard any rumors about the Mets making an offer to anyone yet. So we know they’re not immediately jumping into the fire after any of the available free agents.
Hoffman could be a good one year stop-gap until Eddie Kunz is ready to take over the reigns as the closer. Sure, he’ll be 41 years old this year. And his fastball is topping out in the mid to high 80’s now. But he’s still got the great change up. And he’s not far removed from some excellent seasons.
Last season Hoffman had 32 saves with a 3.77 ERA and 1.037 WHIP. Not bad for an old man. The Mets would’ve killed to have someone like that last season after Billy Wagner went down. In 2006, Hoffman had 46 saves and finished second in the Cy Young Award voting and tenth in the NL MVP voting.
I’d rather have Hoffman for one season than Fuentes for three and K-Rod for four or five. The way relief pitchers are up and down from season to season, you just can’t trust them to be consistent over any great length of time.
Omar Minaya should really think about getting into a short-term deal with Hoffman. Not to mention the fact that his price tag will be significantly lower than the other free agents. And the Mets are still on the hook for Billy Wagner’s $10.5 million salary in 2009. It’s not my money that they’re spending but I’d rather see the resources applied across the multiple potential openings in the bullpen, left field, and rotation than to one “great” closer.
Image via Wikimedia