A look at all of the players acquired and traded by the Mets in yesterday’s blockbuster deal.

Christmas came early for Mets fans this year, as Omar Minaya revamped the bullpen. The Mets acquired the top two relievers available this season, signing Francisco Rodriguez as a free agent and trading the unpopular Aaron Heilman for J.J. Putz. Everyone knows what Rodriguez can do, so let’s take a look at the Putz deal, both with the players the Mets acquired and those going the other way.

Putz – One of the top closers in the game in 2006 and 2007, Putz suffered from a hyperextended elbow and a strained oblique muscle. Putz spent considerable time on the disabled list but came back to regain his closer job. Putz threw just as hard as ever before, during and after the injuries but suffered with his control. He will be the set-up man for Rodriguez and if he can regain his control, he’ll instantly become one of the top 8th inning guys in baseball. Putz has a very reasonable salary for 2009 and has a club option for 2010. This can be viewed as a one-year rental but I would be shocked if the Mets didn’t pick up his option.

Jeremy Reed – Once a top prospect for the White Sox, Reed has failed to develop into anything special in the majors. Essentially replaces Endy Chavez and while a defensive downgrade, he does have offensive potential that Chavez does not. In his career, Reed has a pronounced left/right split. Versus RHP, he has a .275/.330/.392 line while versus southpaws it’s .157/.225/.208.

Sean Green – The replacement for Joe Smith. Green held righty batters to a .233/.298/.285 line last year. While he may not shut down righties like Smith did, he’s better against lefties. Not someone to bring in with a key lefty at the plate but someone who you can bring in for an inning when a normal lefty (not Ryan Howard or Chase Utley) is due up.

Now for the guys moving on:

Heilman – While he earned the wrath of fans for his dismal year in 2008, Heilman was an above-average reliever from 2005-2007. Assuming he’s healthy, the change of scenery should do wonders for him. If he gets the chance to do so as a starting pitcher, which is his preference, so much the better. I would have liked to have seen him back, but you have to give up something to get something and I wish Heilman nothing but the best.

Chavez – An outfield of Chavez, Ichiro and Franklin Gutierrez could be one of the top defensive alignments in baseball. Endy has a permanent warm spot in the hearts of Mets fans for his terrific play in 2006, especially the catch in the NLCS, but he’s never made the necessary adjustments to be a decent hitter.

Joe Smith – Just terrific against righty batters but not to be trusted against any lefty. There’s value in what Smith provided but after seeing Mets managers juggle three relievers who couldn’t be trusted to get a guy with the platoon advantage out, I will live with not seeing Smith in the pen.

Jason Vargas – Missed the entire 2008 season due to a hip injury but pitched very well in the Arizona Fall League, where he posted a 2.10 ERA in 25.2 innings. He was unimpressive in a brief stint with the Mets in 2007 but figured to be in a battle for the team’s fifth-starter’s job this year.

Mike Carp – He did very well as a 22-year old at Double-A last year but had simply been passed over in the pecking order by Daniel Murphy and Nick Evans. Plus the Mets have high hopes for Ike Davis, too. He’s limited to first base/DH because of his defense, he has no speed and there are questions about his power. Carp has some upside – he could easily provide a 350+ OBP – but I think the minuses outweigh the plusses. Maybe the power will develop/translate but I just don’t see it.

Maikel Cleto – A 19-year old from the Dominican Republic, Cleto pitched most of last season at Low-A Savannah. He showed excellent control and did a good job of keeping the ball in the park. Rumored to have a 97 mph fastball.

Ezequiel Carrera – A teammate of Cleto’s last season, Carrera is a 21-year old with great speed. He’s a terrific defensive outfielder although his hitting skills can most optimistically be described as “raw”.


Putz is a terrific addition and there’s no way the Mets were going to get him without giving up some useful players. Heilman and Smith will be missed and unless the team adds two SP before the season starts, Vargas will be missed, too. But it is hard to look at this trade without concluding it was a slam dunk for the Mets.