MINAYA: Came through in the clutch.
After the season, GM Omar Minaya vowed to fix the bullpen. It’s one thing to get one stud closer, it’s another to get two. And, he did. The need was to add power arms to the bullpen, and he couldn’t have done better.
That JJ Putz is looking forward to setting up Francisco Rodriguez, eliminates the ego problem. Also encouraging is both players want to play in New York. Rodriguez has thrived under pressure in big games before, so this in not a new environment for him.
Minaya isn’t done. There’s still a starter that needs to be added, but so far he’s done real well. Real well.
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
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.
FUENTES: Could he still be in play?
OK, you’re the Mets and you’ve landed the top reliever in the market, Francisco Rodriguez. Pending a physical, of course. So, do you also make a FA play for Brian Fuentes or make a trade for Huston Street?
Considering they first courted him as a closer, the Mets might have to offer more money if they want to Fuentes to take a lesser role. Street, of course, would have to come in a trade for prospects.