The New York Mets lost Jose Reyes to the Miami Marlins just days ago, so General Manager Sandy Alderson had to make a decisive move to show fans that the franchise wasn't just passing on the 2012 season. Alderson entered the winter meetings in Dallas on Sunday night with some leads and rumors to explore on potential moves.
There was the rumor of the team being in on bidding for Luis Ayala, Francisco Rodriguez and Mark Buehrle, and the Mets knew they had a chance of leaving Dallas with someone. In the wake of Reyes leaving and the building of negative emotions among fans for it, the temptation was enormous for the Mets to make a move just for the sake of making a move and appeasing the fans.
Sandy Alderson did more than that on Tuesday night: He signed two free agents and traded away a unproductive player for some talent. First, they reached an agreement with free-agent reliever Jon Rauch to a one-year deal worth $3.5 million. Rauch posted a 5-4 record with 11 saves and four holds and had a 4.85 ERA in 53 games.
Next, the Mets went back to the familiar trade-partner well and Giants" target="_blank">struck a deal with the San Francisco Giants. They sent embattled outfielder Angel Pagan to the Giants in exchange for reliever Ramon Ramirez and outfielder Andres Torres. Ramirez posted a 2.62 ERA in 66 appearances, with 11 holds and four saves.
Torres is known for being a career minor-league player, but was a big part of the Giants' World Series run in 2010. Last year, though, he hit .221 with four home runs and 19 RBI, but he did steal 19 bases. He is a light-hitting, solid fielder with speed. Not too bad when combined with Ramirez in exchange for Pagan, who hit .262 last season.
Finally, as if three players weren't enough, the Mets then acquired their closer, signing Frank Francisco to a two-year, $12-million deal. Francisco posted a 3.55 ERA with 17 saves for the Toronto Blue Jays last season. When combined with Rauch, the two were teammates with the Blue Jays last season, giving the Mets a solid combo in the back end of the bullpen.
After they add these two pitchers and Ramirez to Tim Byrdak, Pedro Beato, D.J. Carrasco, Danny Herrera and (dare I say) Bobby Parnell, the Mets have a formidable bullpen to deal with the big bats in their division like Chase Utley of the Phillies and Jose Reyes of the Miami Marlins. Timing is everything, and Alderson knew the team had to think quickly and the move had to be decisive.
He did just that.
The offense—a healthy David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda and Ike Davis—should be just fine. Even Jason Bay and new short stop Rueben Tejada should benefit from the new dimensions of the outfield. The starting pitching deserved better last season.
R.A. Dickey had 11 no-decisions in 32 starts, while Mike Pelfrey had 13 no-decisions in 33 starts, Chris Capuano had eight no-decisions in 31 starts and Dillon Gee had eight in 27 starts. That's 40 no-decisions from the starting staff that represent the bullpen possibly blowing the game at one point or another.
They needed to sure up this aspect of the team. They saw the need and addressed it. That is what a GM does, with or without payroll flexibility.
The Mets still need to find a few bench players and possibly a veteran catcher to back up Josh Thole.
These moves not withstanding, the Mets may enter the season in a good place. With a possible return of Johan Santana and a healthy offense added to the potential of this bullpen coming to fruition, the Mets could possibly make some noise in the National League, just like Alderson made some noise in Dallas on Tuesday.