The Mets are working to acquire a setup man for new closer Francisco Rodriguez — and that setup man would be another closer from the American League West.
J.J. Putz could be headed to the Mets in a three-team trade with the Mariners and Indians, according to major-league sources.
Under terms of the deal, the Mets would get Putz, outfielder Jeremy Reed and reliever Sean Green from Seattle. The Mariners would receive reliever Aaron Heilman, outfielder Endy Chavez and first baseman Mike Carp from the Mets.
They'd also get Franklin Gutierrez from the Indians and minor leaguers. The Indians would get reliever Joe Smith from the Mets and infielder Luis Valbuena from Seattle.
From the Mets' perspective, the deal would be Heilman and Smith for Putz.
Chavez and Reed would be an exchange of backup outfielders, Smith and Green an exchange of right-handed groundball specialists.
Joe Smith player profile here
Luis Valbuena player profile here
Although I believe Franklin Gutierrez is probably one of the best defensive outfielders I have ever seen
play for the Tribe, this trade seems to be pretty solid. Gutierrez was a man without a role on this team, but don't count out Franky G from possibly making an impact someday soon.
Most fans may easily forget how great he played in the second half of 2007, eventually showing his struggles in the ALCS (sans a home run at Fenway in Game Two). Tribe Times will miss Frank and wish him all the best!
Joe Smith pitched in an astounding 82 games last year and posted a solid 3.55 era. Seems odd that the Mets would deal such a solid reliever, but now adding Putz as a set-up man for K-Rod seems like quite an eighth-and-ninth-inning tandem.
Even better news is that now two dominate A.L. closers have jumped ship to the National League, while the Indians are close to nabbing a stud of their own in Kerry Wood.
Pairing Smith with Wood, along with Lewis, Perez, Betancourt, Kobayashi, and possibly Adam Miller immediately makes the 2009 bullpen extremely deep and miles ahead of last years gas can of a relief corps.
I honestly had never heard of Luis Valbuena
before this past hour, but he seems pretty similar to a certain Venezuelan middle infielder Cleveland acquired from the Mariners a few years back (Asdrubal Cabrera).
Some talk out of Seattle suggested that he would be in the mix as the Mariners starting second baseman in 2009, so I imagine he will me in the mix here as well. To net a solid bullpen arm and a marginal prospect for essentially a fourth outfielder seems to be another solid move by Shapiro, Antonetti and the gang. More moves to come, I imagine, as the Rule V draft kicks of Thursday. Hooray for Activity!
UPDATE No. 2 (11:50 p.m. ET): Holy Lord, this thing just keeps growing. It's actually a 12-player swap, and it does involve other Minor Leaguers. Nobody from the Indians, though.
In addition to the players previously mentioned, the M's are getting right-hander Maikel Cleto, left-hander Jason Vargas and outfielder Ezekiel Carrera from the Mets.