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Mets Hot Stove: Pirates Sign Roberto Hernandez

Mike SteffanosFriday, December 9, 2005
By Mike Steffanos


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pirates sign Bert to 1 year contract
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that former Mets setup man Roberto Hernandez has signed a one year deal with the Pirates. According to Kovacevic:

Hernandez, 41, was the New York Mets' right-handed setup man last season and made 67 appearances while posting a 2.58 ERA. With the Pirates, he likely will have a similar role, although management also could consider him as a closer should Mike Gonzalez stumble.

Now this is interesting. I had assumed, given the market for relief pitching, that Hernandez would sign a 2 year deal with someone to be their low-budget closer. Although the monetary terms were not disclosed, it seems strange that Hernandez signed a one year deal to be a setup man for a team that isn't a contender. I'd be curious to know just how badly the Mets tried to re-sign him. It's obvious from Omar's comments regarding Hernandez and Heilman that no one's heart was broken when Hernandez left.

Strange. I'm sure we'll be hearing more on this.

Mets.com: Lo Duca deal complete
According to the press release on Mets.com:

The New York Mets announced today that they have finalized Monday's trade with the Florida Marlins. Minor-league outfielder Dante Brinkley and minor-league righthanded pitcher Gaby Hernandez are the players-to-be-named later in exchange for catcher Paul Lo Duca.

Gaby Hernandez was a highly regarded pitcher in the Mets system, ranked their #3 prospect by Baseball America. At 19, and in Single-A ball, he was still at least a couple of years away from the majors. Brinkley, an outfielder, was ranked the #28 prospect in the system by Scout.com:

He may not have the plus power enough to be a starting outfielder with the Mets someday, but with his overall ability and unbelievable leadership skills, Brinkley would make a great fourth outfielder.

Also at Mets.com: Franco signs
In another press release on Mets.com it is confirmed that the ancient Julio Franco has signed with the Mets. Omar Minaya is quoted as to Franco's worth:

Julio can help us off the bench as a pinch-hitter and in the field at first base. He brings a legendary workout routine and a positive energy to the clubhouse.

Some other nuggets from the press release:

  • Franco, who turned 47 on August 23, will enter his 29th professional season in 2006. He is the oldest player in the majors.

  • Julio ranks 78th on the All-Time Hit List with 2,521 base hits and is fourth among active players. Franco has the most hits by a Dominican-born player in major league history.

  • Julio's next home run will make him the oldest in major league history to crack a home run.

  • He has more than 3,800 hits between the majors, minors and his time in Japan, Korea and Mexico.

  • Julio owns three of the top four highest single-season batting averages by a player who is 43-or-older (.309 in 2004, .294 in 2003 and .284 in 2002). Only Hall of Famer Sam Rice is in the top four with his .293 batting average in 1934 at age 44.

Maybe I'm making fun of him too much. I keep hearing what a great leader he is, and how good he is with young players -- not that the Mets have all that many of those any more. Franco is sure to be a favorite with his teammates, especially on Wednesdays, when they can piggyback on his senior citizen's discount. Sorry, couldn't help it.

ESPN: Pratt's not funny...
To punish us for stealing one of their favorites, the Braves have paid us back by signing the immortal Todd Pratt to back up Brian McCann at catcher.

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