By Mike Steffanos
I remember at the time of the trade for J.J. Putz hearing some good things about the other Mariners reliever acquired in the deal. I remember checking his stats out and noting that he had really good numbers for the first four months of last season only to tail off badly at the end.
Ben Shpigel had a pretty good story on Green in yesterday's New York Times. According to the story, the Mets very much wanted to obtain Green in the deal.
I remember a deal from early on in Minaya's reign where he picked up Jorge Julio and John Maine in exchange for the fragile Kris Benson and his R-rated wife. At the time we just assumed that Maine -- if not quite the throw in some claim -- was just a sweetener on the deal, as it was hard to justify trading a solid starting pitcher for a struggling reliever.
By all accounts, including the Times' story, Green pitched a lot before the All Star break last season and fatigue contributed to his late season struggles, causing his pitches to flatten out and his sinker to stay up in the strike zone.
Green had 72 appearances last season, pitching 79 innings. That's the type of usage that caused some of the Mets key relievers to wilt in September. Of those 72 outings, 18 came with no days off and 25 with one day off. I'd hate to see how hard the Mariners would have used him if they weren't on their way to losing 101 games last season.
Of course, 72 appearances would only have put Green as the fifth most often used reliever on the Mets last season behind Pedro Feliciano (86), Joe Smith (82), Aaron Heilman (78) and Scott Schoeneweis (73). Interesting that only Feliciano will return.
Granted that Jerry Manuel was dealt a shaky bullpen hand when he took over last year, but he didn't particularly distinguish himself in how he played it. He used some of those key guys in games with big leads late in the year when he could have tried to close it out with some of the call-ups and give them important days off. Perhaps an extra day of rest for some of those key guys might have resulted in just one more win when one more win meant the world. To my mind, Jerry Manuel has something to prove this year along with his players.
I'm interested to see Green pitch in spring training. Perhaps he can combine with Feliciano and give the Mets something close to what they had in 2006 when the southpaw combined effectively with Chad Bradford.