Thursday, December 11, 2008

What An Encore!

It seems to me that the excitement surrounding K-Rod has been a bit muted. After all, the Mets got their big fish last winter in Johan Santana and Met fans were so excited that they were stripping down to their underwear and diving into vats of Crisco ... and where did it get them? Besides acne, it got 'em one more victory, one more game behind the Phillies, and one more heartache. So after the Mets got K-Rod at Costco prices, the response has basically been "Yeah yeah, what next?"

J.J. Putz, that's what's next.

To which my response is simply this:

Bravo. Brav ... freakin' ... O.

Yes, there should be more to come. There has to be more to come. A starting pitcher has to be on the way. Derek Lowe (for four years) should be that name. I know that's not happening, but something has to happen in the starting rotation. But the bullpen ... the huge reason the Mets have collapsed the last two seasons, is a long way towards being completely fixed. So let's take a moment to breathe the relevant parts of this deal at this time:

J.J. Putz/Mets: Let's get one thing straight right now: It's pronounced "Pootz". All right? Omar Minaya did a great job in getting this guy, but he's already mispronounced his name ... twice. It's J.J. Pootz. I know it's more fun to say Putz, and there'll be plenty of chances for that when he blows an eighth inning lead. But if you want him to be comfortable pitching the eighth inning in New York, please ... it's Pootz.

And that's the big question: Is this guy going to be comfortable stepping back into the eighth inning and into the shadow of Frankie Rodriguez? He has already said "no" to that, according to Rosenthal. But that was before the trade went down. He may change his tune ... he might have already. And considering that last season was injury riddled and not very warm and fuzzy statistically, he really should change his tune ... unless that WHIP drops below a buck twenty.

Here's why we like J.J.: This is a guy that can pitch to righties and lefties. Even when he stunk last year, his splits were pretty much even. Now granted, that's not going to be much consolation if he stinks again this season, or if he's injured. But at his best (like in 2007), he's going to be a beast. And for anyone who thinks that Putz is going to sulk and not be at his best because he's not mentally in it: It would hardly be in his best interests to do that. If he comes out with a monster season behind K-Rod, his value skyrockets ... and the Mets could conceivably pick up his $9M club option for 2010, then turn around next winter and trade him for a larger haul to a team that desperately needs a closer (provided K-Rod's arm doesn't explode on impact this coming opening day and Putz isn't closing for the Mets after all.)

Endy Chavez/Mariners: Best playoff catch ... ever. Made AIG a star. But AIG is known for other things now. And Endy Chavez is known for his struggling offense almost as much as he is for that catch. Chavez was collecting dust on the bench late last season, and when he wasn't dusty he was rusty. Endy just hasn't had the same impact on the Mets since his hamstring exploded in 2007. And his inclusion in this deal is somewhat neutralized by:

Jeremy Reed/Mets: It's a bit scary how similar the offensive stats were for Chavez and Reed last season. Reed is going to have to re-invent himself as an all around outfielder and not simply a center fielder.

Mike Carp/Mariners: Carp fields like a DH. He now goes to a team that can employ a DH legally and regularly. Everyone wins.

Jason Vargas/Mariners: Because Matt Lindstrom needed a good laugh.

Sean Green/Mets: Because that was the problem last season: The Mets were missing a Shawn Green. Yeah, well Sean Green is a reasonable facsimile ... you know, except for the fact that he's about 50 years younger and a reliever instead of a right fielder. Green Lite, though his left/right splits are almost as stark as your garden variety Mets reliever from 2008, will wind up being the ground ball pitcher to replace ...

Joe Smith/Indians: Easily the best player lost in this deal. Smith has great stuff as is ... and he's only going to get better. Remember, he's only going to be 25 next season. The Indians are going to be happy with Smith setting up Kerry Wood. You do have to give up quality to get quality. If Smith is the best quality given up in this deal, the Mets will be okay. Of course, the quality could come from an unexpected source. Which brings me to:

Aaron Heilman/Mariners: Wait a second, I want to repeat that a few times:

Aaron Heilman/Mariners.

Aaron Heilman/Mariners.

Aaron Heilman/Mariners.

All right, I'm convinced. He's gone. Aaron Heilman ... who it should be said by all accounts is a solid citizen, generous with his time, and all in all a heck of a guy ... is really, honestly, and truly, is a Seattle Mariner. I still can hardly believe it.

But let's be fair. I'm not here to kick Heilman out the door, despite repeatedly stating my desire to help him pack. I've called him stupid. I've compared him to The Blob, and Brandon Cruz. I've ripped him for giving up a home run to Emilio Bonifacio. He's been the bane of my existence for years. And now he's going to Seattle, no doubt to become a starter, win 20 games, and spur all Mets fans to e-mail me and say "See? SEE??!? SEE!!!!!"

Because you know that Heilman is going to be the next Alexei Kovalev, who ended his first career with the New York Rangers as a frustrating blockhead, only to go to Pittsburgh, pair with Mario Lemieux, and finally start to realize his massive potential.

There's no Mario Lemieux waiting for Heilman in Seattle (only Marwin Vega and Matt Tuiasosopo). And the Seattle Mariners are no Pittsburgh Penguins. But there is a chance that Heilman is refreshed by the change of scenery, and a chance to fulfill his dream of being a starting pitcher. The bottom line is that an Aaron Heilman resurgence was never ... ever ... going to happen in Citi Field. Heilman felt that he needed a change of role more than a change of scenery ... but he'll realize that trading the angry mob in Queens for the latte drinking crowd of Seattle will be the best thing for him. And honestly ... and I mean honestly ... I wish him nothing but the best. He may not realize it, but this will be a better deal for him than it will be for Mets fans. And don't be surprised if Heilman realizes some level of success.

With that said, I think it's important that we take the time and reflect on Aaron's career as a Met, and appreciate what he's done for us on the field. And if Heilman ever returns to Flushing as a visitor, I hope the Mets will use this as their tribute video (horrible production value and all). I guarantee there will not be a dry eye in the house that evening.

P.S. Now the video should work. Consider this the official unveiling.


Charity said...

I think Heilman being gone was the best Christmas present the Mets could ever give me.

Well besides KRod.

But still.

We all known my serious distaste of Aaron Heilman.


I can't stop smiling.

MetFanMac said...

The minute I logged onto and saw the headline, I literally screamed a dozen different times "They did WHAAAAT????"

Sad to see Smith gone; low let's focus on the rotation.

Anonymous said...

You were the first person I thought of when I heard about the Heilman trade. My feelings are similar to yours, but the Molina HR video was a bit too much to bear... the wound is still fresh! Especially in hindsight, to see how hard it's been to get back to the playoffs, I'm hoping 2006 wasn't our best shot... because we really blew it, and I wonder if all the crap we've put up with in 2007 and 08 all started with that pitch.

Anonymous said...

This is a private video. If you have been sent this video, please make sure you accept the sender's friend request.

Anonymous said...

Now that was unexpected.

Smith is clearly the biggest loss talentwise, then Chavez but only for emotional reasons. Heilman had to go, I totally agree. Anyone know anything substantive about Green and Reed? BTW, are those two surnames becoming the most prevalent among all time Mets?

I certainly feel a heck of a lot better about the pen, but they still have to dump Sanchez and Schoenweis. Also, this deal will look a lot better upon signing Ollie or Lowe.

Rickey said...

Let's get one thing straight right now: It's pronounced "Pootz". For for Rickey it isn't. The guy's a comedy goldmine. And huzzah for the return of bizzaro Hebrew Hammer!

Toasty Joe said...

Aaron Heilman/Mariners. Aaron Heilman/Mariners. Say it softly and it's almost like praying. Aaron Heilman/Mariners. Aaron Heilman/Mariners. A sweeter sound than a child's laughter. Aaron Heilman/Mariners. Aaron Heilman/Mariners.

Anonymous said...

I called you after the K-Rod signing and said that we still need to get to K-Rod...
I guess Omar is not as stupid as I thought...
Now, we need a starter and outfielder younger than 40....

Anonymous said...

Nicely done, Omar! I can't remember the last time I was so happy about the aquisition of a Rod and a Putz.

Daniel said...

the video is a "private video" so I can't watch it.

Anonymous said...

I was feeling good today until I saw that picture of Molina.

Metstradamus said...

Okay, that "private" thing has been fixed. I'm a dope. Try it now.

Toasty Joe said...

Nice work, Metstra! I'm glad to see my "sad clown Heilman" -- a.k.a. the worst attempt at photoshopping in the history of computers -- made the cut.

Anonymous said...

Surely there will come a time when we play like Heilman today, but never again will that warning not to ring with quite the same resonance.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have like 48 things in my eye.

Anonymous said...


Well, think about it. We gave up Carp, Smith, Chavez, some sweet 19 Year Old Prospect & another guy for Putz. Reed & Chavez cancel each other but we will love Endy forever and ever.

Regardless, if Putz reforms to his 07' stats, this is one HELL of a trade by Omar, just two innings more secure and some blown saves gone (though some will be inevitable no matter who you are.) But regardless, I just don't like the prospects given up in the trade. I heard so much good about Carp, Smith, & the 19 year old so I'm reluctant, esp. since Putz has had shoulder problems and is on the verge of 32, not too young.


upstate met fan said...

As I was watching the video I developed a slight case of twitching and when I got half way through it I vomited a little bit in my mouth. Thanks for putting all the memories in the video, Metstra.