By Mike Steffanos
When Billy Wagner went down last season the Mets were unable to find another closer. Should something happen to Francisco Rodriguez [insert your favorite superstitious method of warding off evil here] they'll have to look no farther than their own bullpen for another proven, established closer.
The cost was fairly high, but more than reasonable. I think more of Aaron Heilman than many Mets fans, and we'll all miss Endy Chavez. Joe Smith was a nice specialist reliever, but they're the easiest to replace. Of the others, Jason Vargas might have provided some rotation depth in Buffalo while Carp probably projects as a DH if he hits enough. All in all, a solid deal for Minaya.
Provided Putz bounces back from his injury-marred 2007 campaign he will give the Mets one of the better eighth inning men in the game. They could probably fill out the rest of the bullpen with arms they already have, or perhaps look for some cheaper options out there to really shake things up. Chad Cordero wouldn't be a bad signing, but you have to wonder how he'd feel about coming to a club that already has two closers.
I don't know too much about the other two Mariners coming along with Putz. There was a time when Jeremy Reed was considered a top prospect, but his .257/.314/.365 line in over 1,000 career major league at bats has dimmed that star quite a bit.
From what I've dug up, the 29-year-old Sean Green is a 2-pitch (fastball-slider) reliever. His numbers aren't all that impressive, but I've read that he had a very effective first half last season before wearing down. Before the All Star break he held opponents to a .224 AVG and 2.72 ERA. After the break those numbers jumped to .327 and 8.65. He's a righty.
The obvious next step for the Mets is to sign a starter or two. Given that market, it's hard to see anything imminent. Still, kudos to Minaya and company for decisively addressing their biggest weakness.