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Mets Hot Stove: Working on the Bench

Mike SteffanosThursday, December 8, 2005
By Mike Steffanos


Omar is keeping his promise, turning his attention to the bench and the bullpen.

Mets.com: Mets select reliever in Rule 5 Draft
Marty Noble reports that the Mets selected SF Giants farmhand Mitchell Wylie from the Giants' Triple A club in Fresno. They must carry him on their 25 man roster for the entire season to keep him, or offer him back to the Giants at half the $50,000 price they paid for him. According to Noble:

General manager Omar Minaya said Wylie -- who is essentially a two-pitch pitcher with just a fastball and slider -- could be used as a starter or long reliever, but that it was more likely that he would pitch in short relief if he wins a place in the Mets' revamped bullpen.

In 22 games with Fresno this season, Wylie produced a 3-5 record, two saves and a 4.50 ERA. He allowed 68 hits and 15 walks and struck out 58 in 66 innings. He had a 1-0 record and 3.00 ERA in five starts and 33 innings with Sioux City. Wylie spent the 2004 season with the White Sox Charlotte club in the Triple-A International League, posting a 1-4 record and a 5.74 ERA.

I guess this kid throws pretty hard, and for half of $50,000 he's a reasonable gamble. With the loss of Roberto Hernandez Omar is really going to have to scramble to go into 2006 with any kind of decent bullpen.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Pinch me, I'm dreaming -- Julio Franco a Met
David O'Brien reports that the Mets and 47 year old Julio Franco agreed to a 2 year deal worth $2.2 million. According to O'Brien:

...Franco had already discussed the two-year deal with the Mets and his friend Omar Minaya, the New York GM who was a minor league official with the Texas Rangers when Franco played for them in the early 1990s. The Mets tried to sign him a year ago and expressed interest again at the beginning of this offseason. But after they traded for Florida slugger Carlos Delgado, [Franco's agent Chuck] Berry assumed the Mets wouldn't need Franco. Minaya called and said he still wanted him.

"They don't want Delgado playing every day because he's getting older and has had injury problems," Berry said. "Omar really feels like [Franco] can be a valuable piece to the team, a leader. And he wants him to stay and work with the organization."

Franco is a decent player, and I'm sure he's a good guy. But a 2 year contract to a 47 year old, when you weren't willing to give Marlon Anderson one, seems excessive. It seems like the Mets bench is becoming heavily weighted with right-handed bats, plus you already have Nady and Woodward to fill in at 1B -- besides pinch hitting, Franco's only viable position. I was starting to feel that Nady would be a Met in 2006, now I'm not sure again. As it stands, as right-handed bats on the bench, you have whoever doesn't start of Nady/Diaz, Woodward, Ramon Castro, and...

SportsTicker: ...Jose Valentin
That's right, as reported by Paul D'Albenzio, the Mets and 36 year old Jose Valentin have agreed to a one year deal. The Mets will be stockpiling Geritol and Viagra for their two new additions.

Valentin is also a right-handed bat. As it currently stands, the only left-handed hitter on the Mets bench is newly acquired outfielder Tike Redman. Omar has a lot of work to do with this bench, and a better left-handed hitter than Redman is a must. Where have you gone, Marlon Anderson?

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Dumbass Blogger Alert
Whoops, not only is Valentin a switch-hitter, but is basically only a (barely) decent hitter as a left-hander. Well, I feel stupid. In the words of Emily Litella, Gilda Radner's immortal SNL character, "never mind."

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