The Mets’ weakness could now be considered a strength, especially if the issues surrounding Francisco Rodriguez don’t materialize. Putz becomes the closer if they do.
Duaner Sanchez now becomes the primary seventh-inning guy, and they still have Scott Schoeneweis and Pedro Feliciano for match-ups. With who is remaining the pen should be strong enough.
HEILMAN: It was time to leave.
In losing Aaron Heilman: The Mets say good-bye to a pitcher whose heart wasn’t in his role. It has been getting increasingly difficult for him to pitch in New York.
In losing Endy Chavez: The Mets lose late-inning defense and a strong sub. His loss might accelerate Fernando Martinez to the major leagues in that role. Reportedly, the Mets are talking to Los Angeles. Andruw Jones anyone? Or Juan Pierre?
In losing Joe Smith: The Mets lose a quality reliever whom they’ll miss, but they are so much better now.
PUTZ: Perfect bridge to Rodriguez.
We’ve talked about it all along, that the closer means little if he’s on the other end of a rickety bridge. The Mets have solidified their bullpen with the addition of Francisco Rodriguez and JJ Putz. The Putz deal will be announced this afternoon.
Here’s how the 12-player, three-way deal with Seattle and Cleveland shakes out:
Coming to the Mets:
From Seattle – J.J. Putz, Sean Green.
From Cleveland – OF Jeremy Reed
Coming to Seattle –
From Mets – Aaron Heilman, Endy Chavez, Maikel Cleto, Ezequiel Carrera
Jason Vargas, Mike Carp
From Cleveland – Franklin Gutierrez
Coming to Cleveland –
From Mets – Joe Smith
From Seattle – Luis Valbuena
MARTINEZ: Mets have to call the shots.
If the Mets want Pedro Martinez back, it has to be on their terms, not those of the temperamental pitcher. Martinez, who at 37 has far more yesterdays than tomorrows on his resume, told ESPNdeportes he wants another year with the Mets.
The Mets have an interest, however, as with all things Martinez, it’s never that easy.
“I’ve said it previously, and I have said to my agents, that they do not speak to me of contracts until January,” said Martinez, who is hardly in a position to dictate terms based on his 5-6 record with a 5.61 ERA in 20 starts (caused by injuries and missing time due to the death of his father).
Martinez called all the shots last year in his rehab, and did a lot of training away from the club. Who knows? Had he rehabbed under the Mets’ supervision might he have been better off?
Martinez is also undecided about the World Baseball Classic. He wants to participate, but is this really in the best interest of the team that signs him? With one year left, wouldn’t he be better off with a full spring training?
PEREZ: Next priority? (Photo: AP)
OK, the Mets have their closer. What’s next? Just adding Francisco Rodriguez won’t be enough. There’s still need of adding another reliever as well as a starter.
Whom do you choose?
My thinking is they’ll need to go after a starter first, which could translate into bringing back Oliver Perez. They have three starters as of now, with two questions in the back end of the rotation. Make it three questions if you’re concerned about John Maine coming back from arthroscopic shoulder surgery.
MARTINEZ: Wants another year with the Mets.
The Mets’ rotation could again include Pedro Martinez, who wants to return and GM Omar Minaya has a reciprocal interest in bringing him back.
Said Minaya to ESPN.deportes: “We have interest in him. We’re going to talk to his agent when we have the opportunity.”
The Mets have three starters – Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey and John Maine – but with their odds long on getting Derek Lowe, they might have to settle for bringing back Oliver Perez, and that’s not a given.
Jon Niese would be expected to compete with Martinez for the fifth spot in the rotation.