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Benson for Julio Just Doesn't Make Sense

Mike SteffanosThursday, December 1, 2005
By Mike Steffanos

As reported in a previous post, the Mets are apparently discussing a trade with the Orioles that would involve Kris Benson and Jorge Julio. My initial reaction to this potential deal was not favorable, and upon further reflection I like it even less.

We're hearing rumors that this is equal parts salary dump and bullpen acquisition. We understand that Omar is operating under a budget, and we appreciate that sometimes you need to make a move like this to facilitate a more important move. We also understand it's a rough market for bullpen help, and Julio is still very young and has a lot of potential. But this is a guy who has wilted under the spotlight in Baltimore; does anyone think it will be easy for him here? When he starts walking batters and giving up gopher balls -- 14 HR in 71.2 innings last year -- how long before he starts experiencing the "love" that the crowds bestow on players that disappoint at Shea?

No one thinks that Benson is going to ever develop into the ace that it was once thought he would be. There are some questions as to whether he is durable enough to hold up for a whole season. But for all of that, he did come up very big in some very big games for the Mets, and I'd like to see him back. If you want to deal Trachsel or Zambrano for a reliever like Julio I won't fight you on it, but Kris Benson should be worth more. It's a tight market for starters, too.

Lets look at some quick Pros and Cons:


  • Clear Benson's salary to bring in a more effective starter.
  • Julio has the stuff and experience to close games if Wagner gets hurt.
  • Open a rotation slot for Aaron Heilman.
  • Starting pitchers of Benson's caliber are worth much more than a middle reliever.
  • Julio has failed to live up to his promise in a much smaller media market.

Every fan can decide for themselves on this one. I'm hoping this is another hot stove rumor that doesn't have legs.

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