Mets Trade Schoenweiss, Cash To D-Backs

The Mets continued their demolition of the 2008 bullpen by trading Scott Schoenweiss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Mets threw in $1.6 million of the $3.6 million that Schoenweiss is owed for 2009 in exchange for righty Connor Robertson.

Robertson is 27 years old and spent most of 2008 in Triple-A. Even if he never makes one appearance in the majors this will end up as a plus trade for the Mets unloading Schoenweiss. He’s been extremely unpopular at Shea, with good reason, and never justified the 3-year/$9 million deal that he signed after the 2006 season.

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Mets 2008 Off-Season Needs: Bullpen

Here’s the post that I’ve been dreading. It seems like the task of defining a reconstruction of the Mets bullpen is almost too daunting. I won’t go into the history of the 2008 season for the Mets bullpen. Suffice it to say, it was nearly a complete disaster.

My expectations are that Joe Smith, Pedro Feliciano, Brian Stokes, and Eddie Kunz will be in the bullpen in 2009. I expect the Mets to dump Scott Schoenweiss, Aaron Heilman, and Duaner Sanchez. They’re all under contract for 2009 but should be either traded for next to nothing or released. Obviously, Billy Wagner is under contract but won’t play in a Mets uniform again due to injury. Luis Ayala will be a free agent and I don’t expect the Mets to make a major play for him to sign a deal.

Let’s start at the top of the shopping list: the Mets need a closer. The two top-tier choices are the Angels’ K-Rod and the Rockies Brian Fuentes. Clearly, K-Rod is head and shoulders above anyone else on the market this off-season. He’ll be looking for a five year deal from somebody. I hope the Mets don’t do it. He’s ultra-talented but the Mets really don’t want to get into a five year commitment to a relief pitcher. Their performance varies so wildly from year to year that it’s too difficult to predict future success levels.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Mets will be front runners for Brian Fuentes in the neighborhood of 3-years/$36 million:

Fuentes, however, could come off the board quickly because, executives say, his market of around three years at $36 million-$39 million has been established. The Mets have indicated they don’t want to pay a big salary to a new closer in addition to paying Billy Wagner , who will miss all of 2009 and whose $13 million contract is not insured. But they have determined their need is great enough and the top closer on the market, Francisco Rodriguez, might cost too much to sign.

Fuentes has 111 saves over the past four seasons, including 30 last year when he pitched to a 2.73 ERA and struck out 82 in 622/3 innings.

He does have an unorthodox delivery, however, that leads to questions about his consistency and susceptibility to injuries.

Another route that the Mets could go for a closer could be with a trade. Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors reports that the Marlins are expected to shop closer Kevin Gregg. He’s a big step down from Rodriguez and Fuentes but he’s only going to cost $2.5 million next season. With Wagner’s contract still on the books for 2009, the Mets may want to look at cheaper alternatives than the free agents.

The lower tier free agent options at closer would be: Eric Gagne, Eddie Guadardo, Jason Isringhausen, and Kerry Wood. It’s not a great list to choose from. Wood is pretty good but the rest of these guys will give us some major heartache during the 2009 season.

Once the closer spot on the roster is secured, there should still be three roster spots to fill in the bullpen. According the MLB Trade Rumors, the free agent market looks like this (age in parenthesis):

Jeremy Affeldt (30)
Luis Ayala (31)
Joe Beimel (32)
Joe Borowski (38)
Doug Brocail (42)
Shawn Chacon (31)
Juan Cruz (30)
Alan Embree (39) – $3MM club option for ’09
Scott Eyre (37)
Kyle Farnsworth (33)
Casey Fossum (31)
Keith Foulke (35)
Tom Gordon (41) – $4.5MM club option for ’09 with a $1MM buyout
LaTroy Hawkins (36)
Mark Hendrickson (35)
Matt Herges (39)
Bob Howry (35)
Jon Lieber (39)
Jason Johnson (35)
Damaso Marte (34) – $6MM club option for ’09 with a $0.25MM buyout
Trever Miller (36) – $2MM club option for ’09 with a $0.4MM buyout
Guillermo Mota (35)
Will Ohman (31)
Darren Oliver (38)
Chan Ho Park (36)
Horacio Ramirez (29)
Al Reyes (38)
Dennys Reyes (32)
Arthur Rhodes (39)
Juan Rincon (30)
Glendon Rusch (34)
Rudy Seanez (40)
Brian Shouse (40)
Russ Springer (40)
Mike Timlin (43)
Ron Villone (39)
David Weathers (39)
Kip Wells (32)
Matt Wise (33)
Jamey Wright (34)

Again, we’re not looking at a great list here. But Jeremy Affeldt, Scott Eyre, Bob Howry, Damaso Marte, Arthur Rhodes, and Joe Beimel have some talent. I doubt that the Mets would fill all three spots with free agents. There are some arms out there that could have a positive impact on the team though.

What the Mets need to do is to avoid getting into contracts greater than two years with these guys. The three year contract for middle relievers is a killer. It rarely works out well. Look at the Schoenweiss deal that’s killing the Mets now. It’s just a bad idea. The middle relievers are so inconsistent from season to season generally that maxing out contracts at two years has to be a priority. Even if the per season salary is higher than expected, it’s better than getting into a long term commitment to a middle reliever.

Chime in with your thoughts below in the comments section.

Billy Wagner- A Met No More?

Multiple media reports say that Billy Wagner has been informed by the Mets that they won’t pick up his option for the 2010 season. Since he’s out for the remainder of this year and probably all of next year, he’s likely played his last game as a Met.

Scott Schoenweiss told reporters that he visited Wagner this week to check in on him after his Tommy John surgery. Schoenweiss said that Wagner still wants to pitch and close, but it likely won’t be with the Mets.

Mets Suffer Humiliating Loss To Pirates 7-5

The Mets wasted a good start by Pedro Martinez against one of baseball’s worst teams. In a season that’s been filled with heart-wrenching losses for Mets fans, this one ranks near the top of the list.

Pedro went six innings giving up only one run on 3 hits and 4 walks. The Mets had a 5-1 lead on homers by David Wright and Robinson Cancel.

Enter the Mets bullpen in the seventh. The usual suspects were bombed again: Joe Smith and Pedro Feliciano. Duaner Sanchez finished the seventh inning and worked a clean eighth. Aaron Heilman came into the game in the ninth to preserve the win and got lit up again for three runs on two hits and a walk. Scott Schoenweiss actually gave up the winning hit light-hitting outfielder Steve Pearce.

What a stunning loss! It’s hard to take much more of this.

Box score

Oliver Perez Great As Mets Win Big 7-1

Manager Willie Randolph needed a win tonight and he got one thanks to Oliver Perez. He went seven innings giving up one run on three hits and three walks with eight strikeouts. The bullpen actually did the job tonight too. Scott Schoenweiss pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Duaner Sanchez a perfect ninth.

Things were dicey early when Josh Hamilton hit a long homer to left field off Perez in the first inning. But Perez recovered nicely.

The offensive stars were Jose Reyes who went 2 for 4, scored two runs and had a stolen base. Perez also had a two RBI single to left in the sixth inning that drew applause from the Mets dugout.

Box score

Video Highlights

Mets Lose To Padres In Ninth 2-1

I’ll cut right to the chase. Scott Schoenweiss blew up in the bottom of the ninth. And I was getting worried that Aaron Heilman was warming up in the bullpen. Little did I know…

Schoenweiss walked two, then an intentional walk, and then hit Paul McAnulty with a pitch to bring home the winning run. What a horrible way to lose a game.

Jose Reyes made a couple of really nice plays in the field. He also went 2 for 3 with two stolen bases.

Mike Pelfrey was pitching out of trouble in most of his six innings. He gave up eight hits and three walks while only giving up one run. His line looks better than he actually pitched.

The Mets only run came in the sixth inning when Jose Reyes singled, stole second base, then scored on a single by David Wright.

Terrible loss. The Mets go to 2-2 on the road trip and one game over .500.

Box score

Video Highlights

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