Omar Minaya, What Were You Thinking?: The NY Mets Trade for J.J Putz
The Winter Meetings have been dominate by both New York ballclubs this year. Though the Yankees made the biggest signing with C.C. Sabathia, the Mets were the center of the baseball world in signing Francisco Rodriguez and trading for J.J. Putz.
However, bringing two closers on the same team is not something that will benefit the Mets in the long term.
The trade for J.J. Putz was the wrong move for two reasons: The loss of Franklin Gutierrez and the acquisition of a closer to set up another closer.
Franklin Gutierrez could have been the corner outfielder that the Mets desperately need. They lack any kind of production from that sport and do not have a defensive stud there. Gutierrez has already been noted as an excellent defender in the outfield and many believe he will develop as a hitter.
I don't see Jeremy Reed as a viable solution to this problem. He has never played a full season, and he isn't a power guy. He hasn't hit above .270. Unless they plan on signing Manny Ramirez, I don't see any solution the Mets have to deal with that issue.
That is minor in comparison to having two closers on the same team. There is no doubting that J.J. will be setting up for Rodriguez. This will work fine for this season because Putz still has a $8.9 million option for 2010. The biggest problem will come next season for the Mets.
In his contract year, Putz needs to show his abilities as a closer to get the fattest contract he can. Relief pitchers don't get paid big money just to set up for someone else. This could lead to some serious issues when in comes to the chemistry in the locker room and the bullpen. I'm not saying that Putz is a bad guy, but closer's have—and need to have—an ego.
In all likelihood, that will lead to Putz leaving the Mets after the 2010 season. He is a closer and will not stay a set up man. There are always going to be teams that need a closer and Putz has shown he can do it effectively.
The Mets would have to exceed every other offer in order to keep him as their set up man which would create tension between K-Rod and Putz in a fragile clubhouse. This clubhouse does not have any leaders and can not afford any increased amount of controversy.
If they don't sign J.J Putz the Mets will be in the same situation as were a week ago. They have a closer but no bridge to him. Unless they can develop a set up man or find an actual sett up man, the Mets will find themselves in a little deja vu.
I understand, Mets fans. Your bullpen cost you a chance to play in the postseason last year. However, with these moves, I don't see the Mets as a better team that the Phillies, the Cubs, the Cardinals, the Astros (when healthy), or a young and improving Dodgers team (if Manny signs with them).
They have a holes in the starting rotation. They do have Johan Santana and Pelfrey showed he could pitch, but they lack the depth and consistency from their rotation that is needed to get into the playoffs.
I don't see the Mets getting Lowe or Burnett and Ben Sheets spending more time on the DL than on the mound. They have to get more consistent on offense and need to see Jose Reyes set the table for Delgado, Wright, and Beltran on a more consistent basis.
Ultimately they gained a chance to make the playoffs at the expense of a solution to a glaring need.
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