By Mike Steffanos
One rumor that turned out to be true, one decrepit body signed to a minor-league contract, and a judicial go-ahead for SNY highlight the evening Mets news.
Mets.com: Mets and Dodgers complete deal
As Marty Noble reports on the Mets web site, the deal has been done:
Dealing from what the club considers to be its greatest strength, the rotation, the Mets moved Seo and left-handed Minor League pitcher Tim Hamulack to the Dodgers on Wednesday in exchange for relievers Duaner Sanchez and Steve Schmoll.
...The trade with the Dodgers comes after the Mets had tried for several months to acquire Devil Rays closer Danys Baez to serve as a setup man in New York. The Mets' reluctance to deal Aaron Heilman was an obstacle in more recent talks with the Devil Rays.
As I said earlier, when this trade was supposedly close to being done, I'm sorry to see Jae Seo go, but I think the Mets had to do something with their bullpen. Mets starters just don't go deep into games, and they needed to try and build a deep 'pen. Too bad Zambrano couldn't have been dealt, as I just don't think the vocal element of Mets fans will ever accept him. The risk in this deal, of course, is that Seo really is as good as he looked last year, and Sanchez eludes the 15 minute Rick Peterson fix and continues to be erratic.
In any case, I'm glad the Mets will no longer feel the need to overpay the Devil Dogs for Danys Baez.
I'm not sure I understand the point of Schmoll, who is a right-handed sidearmer in the mold of the already signed Chad Bradford. Sanchez also has much better stats against righties. Unless a couple of good left-handed relievers materialize, it still seems like the most likely place for Heilman is in the bullpen. Marty Noble seems to be thinking along the same lines:
It was unclear how the acquisition of two right-handed relievers would affect the Mets' thinking about Heilman. Even with Sanchez and Schmoll and his own reluctance to pitch in relief, Heilman still appears to be the Mets' primary late-inning weapon against left-handed hitters, other than closer Billy Wagner.
The departure of Seo, who went 8-2 with a 2.59 ERA in 14 starts last year, opens up a spot in the rotation for either Victor Zambrano or Alay Soler.
Here is Noble's report on Sanchez:
Sanchez, 26, appeared in 79 games and produced a 4-7 record, 3.73 ERA, 71 strikeouts and 36 walks in 82 innings with the Dodgers last season, his second full year in the Major Leagues. He tied for the second-most appearances in the National League. He assumed the closer's role in August and converted all eight of his save opportunities the rest of the season.
Oh, and I still haven't passed along the best news of all!
The club also signed veteran second baseman Bret Boone to a Minor League contract and invited him to Spring Training.
...Boone, 37, appeared to be in steep decline last season when he batted .221 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs in 88 games -- 74 with the Mariners and 14 with the Twins.
I've always been jealous of all the steroid buzz the Yankees get with The Giambino and Sheffield...
All kidding aside, why not take a chance on another old timer?
Mets.com: Official Boone Press Release
Here are the "highlights" of the official Mets press release announcing Boone's signing:
The New York Mets today signed free agent infielder Bret Boone to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.
Boone, 36, split last season between the Seattle Mariners and Minnesota Twins.
"Bret is a veteran guy who provides us infield depth," said Mets General Manager Omar Minaya. "His accomplishments in the majors are well documented. He's an All-Star who has been to the post-season and knows how to win."
The 5-10, 192-pounder hit .231 (63-273) with 30 runs scored, 15 doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 34 RBI in 74 games with the Mariners. Bret was acquired by Minnesota along with cash considerations in exchange for a player to be named later on July 11th. He batted .170 (9-53) with three RBI in 14 contests with the Twins before he was released on August 31st.
"I look at this as a tremendous opportunity, " said Boone. "Last year was a season I'd like to forget. The Mets have given me a chance to revive my career and I plan to make the most of it. I know the organization is heading in the right direction and I would like nothing better than to be part of a championship year."
Again, I'd be surprised if he does anything with the Mets in 2006, but I can't kill Omar for taking a chance.
AP: Appeals court upholds ruling that allows Mets to leave Sportschannel
Read all the legal stuff if you must, the bottom line is the Mets have the judicial go-ahead for their network. Now if only my cable company in Connecticut decides to carry SNY...
Boston Herald: Red Sox after Lugo
Apparently, according to Tony Massarotti, if the Red Sox fail to deal for Miguel Tejada, they are willing to trade 3B prospect Andy Marte to the Devil Dogs for Julio Lugo. I keep hearing how Marte is going to be one of the top players in baseball, and that Lugo figures to be a one-year stopgap for the Sox. How then, can they justify the steep price? And some of us Mets fans felt bad about the prospects we traded away. I'd be killing Omar for something like this.
Also, for those Mets fans that would like to see Lugo playing 2B in Flushing, what deal could Omar offer to compete with this one? Milledge? We'd run him out of town on a rail.
Baseball Prospectus: Aaron the unlucky
Courtesy of my Christmas gift subscription from Lisa to the BP web site, as I try to wrap my 47-year-old mind around statistical analysis in baseball, this little nugget about Aaron Heilman. Going by Bequeathed Runs Prevented, Aaron Heilman is 4th on BP's list of the "Unluckiest NL Relievers." Heath Bell, who we read about in the Hardball Times as being unlucky, was #20 on the list. Perhaps Rick Peterson should hire a shaman to remove the hex from these guys, and then we'll have the best bullpen in baseball.