Oh My, Omar Minaya! New York Mets Trade for J.J. Putz

Travis MillerAnalyst IDecember 10, 2008

New York Mets General Manager Omar Minaya made another big splash at the Winter Meetings Wednesday night, acquiring J.J. Putz from the Seattle Mariners in a three-team deal.

The Indians were also included in the trade, which moved 12 players total, seven of which were Mets.

There is good news and bad news for Mets fans, on top of all the question marks surrounding Putz's health and his willingness to be Francisco Rodriguez's setup man.

The Mets dealt Aaron Heilman, Endy Chavez, and Jason Vargas to Seattle alongside three minor leaguers. Joe Smith went to Cleveland.

Endy's production fell off last year, but his playing time was so inconsistent, it's tough to lay the blame in his corner. He's a fan-favorite in Queens, but deserves to start somewhere, something he wouldn't do for the Mets.

He'll get his chance in Seattle, though he may be competing for a starting spot with Franklin Gutierrez, who went from Cleveland to the Mariners in the trade.

We're losing one of our best bench players, an underrated role player who had some great moments for us in his tenure. Seattle must have negotiated hard for him because Endy was one of Minaya's favorites, dating back to their days together in Montreal.

Aaron Heilman leaving town is kind of like finding a $100 bill on the ground or when you find out the person you're into likes you back. You're just so damn happy, all you want to do is scream.

Dumping Heilman off is on par with the Guillermo Mota trade last offseason or when Brian Cashman unloaded Jaret Wright and Randy Johnson a few years back for the Yankees.

One more analogy? Okay.

It's how Tampa Bay felt when we sent them Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano.


Joe Smith was a good contributor for the Mets' bullpen his rookie campaign, but his numbers weren't near what fans expected in 2008. I hate to see him go, but changes needed to be made in the bullpen. He seems like a guy who will flourish in a smaller market like Cleveland.

Jason Vargas is a young left-handed starter who was never going to make the Mets' rotation. He didn't get many chances to showcase his stuff in New York. He'll have a better opportunity in Seattle, though with both teams' injury issues in the starting rotation, he'd still get the ball on either coast.

The main squeeze in the deal is J.J. Putz. I don't know much about him beyond his numbers, so questions arise about his open-mindedness toward NOT closing games for awhile.

Putz has been around since 2003, but really broke onto the scene in '06 when some lucky fantasy managers saw his name on the depth chart when Eddie Guardado lost his job and took a chance.

Nope, it wasn't me. I probably had Todd Jones. What was I thinking?

Putz throws hard, and he's a big dude. He had two stints on the disabled list last year, missing over a month with a hyper-extended elbow, and about three weeks with inflammation in his rib cage.

The elbow injury scares me, but it's a chance the Mets need to take. Putz's contract includes a team option for 2010, so New York comes out a winner there.

We've needed a reliable fireballer to come out of the pen in situations before the ninth inning for as long as I can remember, and Putz is now our guy.

Now we've got two big time closers on the roster.

Is Omar done in the bullpen?

Let's go for the trifecta, baby. Bring us a seventh-inning man like Brian Fuentes or Huston Street.

Or maybe we can work on left field, second base, or the starting rotation now. I'd love for Oliver Perez to come back, but we may not have an answer on him for awhile.

I'm not sure where Perez fits in on the hierarchy of starting pitchers. I'd imagine he's a little more in-demand than Derek Lowe and a little less than A.J. Burnett.

Scott Boras represents both Perez and Lowe, so they'll probably wait for Burnett to sign first. After C.C. Sabathia's $23 million per season deal, the next best available mid-20s lefty and his agent must be licking their chops.


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