Two More Bite the Dust in Queens

Yesterday, I talked about Johan Santana who is now undergoing season-ending surgery on his elbow and how his contract looks going forward. Since that piece went out, two more New York Mets’ pitchers have been shut down for the season to undergo surgery.

J.J. Putz, acquired from the Mariners this past winter as part of the dramatic bullpen makeover that was supposed to be the cure to the 2007 and 2008 collapses certainly was not up the task that he was brought in for. A combination of injuries and ineffectiveness doomed his year. Putz was already well into his decline, seeing his strikeout rate fall from 34% in 2006 to 30% in 2007 to 26% in 2008, all before he was traded off. It was nearly halved this year to just 14%.

In addition to the lack of strikeouts, Putz, who battled injuries all through 2008 as well, now has two consecutive years of injury-shaken control to overcome along with the heavy task of just getting healthy. Putz’s option is almost certain not to be exercised and thus he will depart from the Mets having been paid roughly $6 million and contributed a negligible amount above replacement level.

In addition to Putz, Oliver Perez is undergoing surgery on his knee and is done for the season. 58 walks in 66 innings pitched this season and according to both FIP and tRA, Perez was worth -0.7 wins above replacement in 2009, the first year of his horrible 3-year, $36-million contract. Unsurprisingly, Perez’s velocity was down, his average fastball down to the slowest level yet, at just 90mph. I was critical of the deal when it was signed for many reasons, Perez’s injury risk one of those factors. Forget about breaking even on this deal, I think the Mets would be lucky to get back $10 million total once all is said and done.

All told, between the two, the Mets dished out $17 million dollars for about -$3 million in value.

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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.

9 Responses to “Two More Bite the Dust in Queens”

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  1. SmallBall says:

    Is it safe to assume that some of these injury’s are really just regular type injuries that most MLB clubs have right now but the Mets front office has thrown in the towel and want everyone to be at 100% next spring?

    I know it might sound a bit presumptuous but I could very well see it happening, and might add I think it would be a good idea.

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  2. steve says:

    who was going to give Perez even half of what the Mets did?

    there was no one left at the table with any money to spend. mind boggling.

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  3. Brent says:

    I’m curious to know where would the Mets be right now if they did not gut their farm system for Santana and Putz instead of signing a FA.

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    • Nick says:

      They didn’t really gut their farm to get those two guys. Carlos Gomez, Endy Chavez, Mike Carp, Phillip Humber, Sean Green – none of those guys are really that good.

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  4. The A Team says:

    Well they didn’t really gut their farm for either. The Santana deal yielded the Twins a 4th OF type in Carlos Gomez, a spot starter in Phil Humber, anothermediocre pen arm in Kevin Mulvey, and an interesting (and struggling) prospect in Deolis Guerra. Guerra has had a tepid ’09 campaign, but has made it to the Eastern league as a 20 or 21 year old. the Mets dealt a truck of mediocre players in the Putz deal too, the distinguishing factor being they got a single, overpaid mediocre player in return.

    It’s not really the trades that have hurt them. Keeping those guys around would have just meant a wider array of AA quality slop to sling about this year and a couple extra wins in a hopeless season.

    I really hope Omar Minaya isn’t fired. I’m a Phillies fan.

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  5. Paqs says:

    Hey Matthew, how do you calculate WAR according to tRA?


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    • Nick says:

      You would do this:

      1) Figure out the W% of the pitcher. This is tricky. You do this by finding out the average run environment when that pitcher pitches, so the Pitcher’s tRA + league tRA; let’s say your figuring out the W% of a 3.00 tRA pitcher, so 3.00 + 4.70ish (or whatever the average RA for starters is) =7.70.

      Then you use the Pythagenport to the find a modifying exponent, so 7.7^.275ish = 1.75. Then you do this: (3.00/4.70)^1.75 = 2.19. Then you do this 2.19/(2.19+1) = .686 w% for the 3.00 tRA pitcher.

      2) Then it’s pretty easy to convert to WAR. Replacement level w% is .370 for the AL and .390 for the NL, I think. So then you would use this (Pitcher W% – Replacement W%) * Innings/9.

      So for the 3.00 tRA pitcher in the NL with 100 innings, you would do: (.686- .390)*100/9 = 3.3 WAR.

      Did that help?

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  6. joser says:

    The Mets injury bug is so pervasive it reached across the country, and leagues, to take out Endy Chavez as well.

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