New York BlockBuster

Holy moly.

In case anyone still had doubts, I think the Winter Meetings have officially passed the trade deadline for the most exciting transactional period in the baseball calendar. A day after the Mets inked Francisco Rodriguez and mere hours after the defending AL champion Rays fleeced the Tigers in a Dontrelle Willis-redux trade, the Mariners, Mets and Indians got old-school on all of us with a blockbusting three-team, twelve-player deal!

Here’s how it appears to be breaking down:

To the Mets goes J.J. Putz, Jeremy Reed and Sean Green from the Mariners.

To the Indians goes Joe Smith from the Mets and Luis Valbuena from the Mariners.

To the Mariners goes Franklin Gutierrez from the Indians and Aaron Heilman, Endy Chavez, Mike Carp, Maikel Cleto, Jason Vargas and Ezequiel Carrera from the Mets.

Where to start? In the simplest part I suppose, the Indians. They lose a terrific defender in Gutierrez, but he was blocked from full value by Grady Sizemore and the emergence of Ben Francisco and some intriguing at bats from Shin-Soo Choo made him expendable. In return they get a serviceable relief arm in Smith and another intriguing middle infield prospect in Luis Valbuena to pair with Asdrubal Cabrera who they got two years ago. Solid move for them.

The Mets continue to re-shape their bullpen adding Putz and Green. If Putz rebounds close to his 2006 or 2007 form, that’s a tremendous revamping for the next couple years. Green provides solid support against right-handed hitters. Heilman and Chavez weren’t pieces the Mets were going to miss and Reed adequately fills in the reserve outfielder role. The other assorted minor leaguers, while not total flotsam, also weren’t likely to end up on anyone’s top prospects list either. For a team competing in the short term, as the Mets are, this is a win for them.

From the Mariners point of view, Heilman might be more useful than Green since he’s not so limited to only right-handed batters, and Endy Chavez is pretty comparable to Jeremy Reed, so knocking those off the Ms get four minor leaguers and Franklin Gutierrez for JJ Putz and Luis Valbuena. While that may seem underwhelming to most, Gutierrez’s defense is legitimately outstanding. Good enough to probably make him a rough equal to JJ Putz in terms of projected value. The four-for-one prospect swap further cements this as a good deal for the Ms, who are clearly building with an eye to the future but also maintaining some view on the present.

All in all, this seems like each team comes out ahead, so kudos to all three GMs.

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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

17 Responses to “New York BlockBuster”

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  1. dan says:

    Endy as +14 in limited playing time this year. Reed was -4 in 78 games. And what of Putz’s control problems?

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  2. dan says:

    those are UZR numbers above, I forgot to mention.

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  3. Derek Carty says:

    Matthew, no mention of Endy’s stellar defense? As a Mets fan, I’m really sad to see him go. UZR/150 put him at 26.6 this past year while Gutierrez was just 22.5. Reed was -9.8. Gutierrez has a bit of an advantage with the bat, but I think including Endy was a mistake for the Mets. I don’t think there’s any comparison between Endy and Reed.

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  4. Benne says:

    The Mariners, my favorite team, actually making a good trade? What is this world coming to?

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  5. NickP says:

    Endy got those numbers mostly in a corner, while Reed was playing CF.

    Big difference.

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  6. Drew says:

    Endy is a phenomenal OF, and could probably play CF just as well, but he can’t hit.


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  7. Scappy says:

    I know Putz was very good for a short while, but this seems to make little sense as far as the Mets bullpen goes. They could have waited to acquire a reliever like Putz to a time that would be much more favorable to them.

    If they waited till the season had started and the trade deadline approached they could have rented a reliever for the final couple of months to get them to where they want to be. I don’t see why they gave up Endy now?

    Putz is due 5MM in 09 and has a 1MM buy out on 8.6MM for 2010. The Mets will definitely be exercising that option, there is no way Putz is worth 8.6MM.

    Chavez is due 2MM in 09 and is a free agent afterward. To me this really devalues a player like Chavez in this trade. If I am the Ms I’d want to lock Chavez up for another 2-3 years.

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  8. Jason T says:

    Putz is due 5MM in 09 and has a 1MM buy out on 8.6MM for 2010. The Mets will definitely be exercising that option, there is no way Putz is worth 8.6MM.

    And K-Rod will be worth $12M in three years?

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  9. JWay says:

    Anytime you can trade bullpen for something helpful I think you’re winning. Obviously there’s situations where that pitcher is super valuable, but one who has done his duty, suffered from injury, and is due raises, I’d like to sell him.

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  10. Endy’s and Reed’s UZR in CF are roughly equal and their Marcel projections are roughly equal. They both hit left-handed. Reed is younger and under team control longer, but Endy’s defense is probably better. That’s a wash in my book.

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  11. Dave says:

    Putz is a fantastic pickup. I’d hand him the closers job right now.

    Putz vs K-rod last 3 years
    6.5 h/9 2.5 bb/9 11.2 k/9
    6.75 h/9 4.15 bb/9 11.4 k/9

    I think I’d take the fewer hits and and much fewer walks over a
    few more Ks. Also Putz looked great (hitting 99 on his fastball) at the end of the year and K-rod looks like he might fall off a cliff.

    Even Green isn’t a bad pickup.

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  12. James K. says:

    If the Mets sign Ibanez/Abreu/Dunn, I don’t foresee Reed making the Opening Day Roster.

    5 bench spots available:
    - Castro
    - middle infielder (Argenis Reyes? Nick Punto?)
    - Murphy
    - Tatis
    - Evans

    Evans can spell Delgado at 1B, Reed can only play OF. I’m not a big Reed fan. Where does Reed fit? Does he make it over Evans?

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  13. e poc says:

    It would be kind of sad if the Mets had Evans on the major league roster just to spot start for Delgado, instead of letting him get regular at bats at AAA so that he could take the starting spot in 2010. Of course, it would also be sad if Murphy was on the major league roster as a 4th outfielder instead of taking regular at bats at AAA, maybe even trying to figure out second base. Knowing the Mets, though, your probably right in thinking that both of those sad things will occur.

    Also, while this isn’t a terrible trade for the Mets, it is a bad one, especially in the wake of the K-Rod signing. I know that Dave said in his evaluation of the K-Rod deal that the Mets are a team that can afford to pay more for wins than an average team, but that doesn’t mean they should keep doing it over and over again on every deal. I know the bullpen was bad last year, but who needs a $5.5 million set-up man? The difference between Heilman and Putz in wins barely justifies the difference in dollars, and on top of that they gave away four prospects, even if you think that Smith/Chavez for Green/Reed is a wash (which it’s not).

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  14. Conballs says:

    I just think it’s going to be really funny if the Mets miss the playoffs again. Here’s a question, which contract is worse: Luis Castillo’s 4-year deal or Minaya’s? Hmmm, it’s a tough one…

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  15. Bryan G. says:

    To be honest, I really don’t want the Mets to sign Abreu or Ibanez, and even Dunn would mess with me a bit. But, if hypothetically they DO pick up a LF, you’ve got to figure either Murphy or Evans (I’d bet Evans) would start the season in AAA. You’ve got too many people for corner spots that way.

    The ideal situation (for me) would be to sign Dunn (yes, he’s a butcher in LF, I get it – but we have a spectacular defensive CF who can shade left for him) start Murphy back at 2B in AAA, and see if he can pick up the position. Running him out there as a replacement for Castillo (whose range was BAD last year – 5.4 RngR, right?) in mid-season.

    We need to do something about the gaping hole at 2B, either defensively, offensively, or both. This does not = Argenis Reyes and Luis Castillo.

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  16. Bryan G. says:

    The difference between Heilman and Putz in wins barely justifies the difference in dollars, and on top of that they gave away four prospects

    Am I the only one that thinks that the difference in Putz’s WPA vs. Heilman’s WPA doesn’t really tell the whole story of their efficacy next year?

    Besides, of the prospects that we gave up, none are sure things, and a number of Mets fans would rather take Evans over Carp as 1B of the future (if we HAD to pick one).

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  17. Matt says:

    Someone has to inform me of why every met fan has always devalued Mike Carp. Is it because his name has been mentioned for 5 years because he was signed at a young age, but never been a major league ready option? Is it because his defense is worse than D-Murphs? Or is it solely because Evans & Murphy burst onto the scene and saw moderate success?

    I like that we got Putz…it does seem a little ridiculous that it took a 3 team trade, and 7 NY Mets to do it…

    Clearly Putz > Street…but Heilman + Feliciano reportedly would have gotten him…and then you can use chavez, carp, smith, etc. for other moves…

    I guess I don’t want to sit here and hate…but if its another injury plagued Putz season, I don’t want to hear it from Mets fans who applauded the move. One thing for sure…Omar covered his ass. It’s a great PR move, and hopefully a good baseball move.

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