No, this is not Jose Reyes. This is not Albert Pujols. But, this was still a good night for the Mets, as they are a better team today than yesterday. In total, Sandy Alderson spent what will likely be $10 million by adding Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch and Ramon Ramirez to his bullpen, while swapping Andres Torres for Angel Pagan in the outfield.
Let’s start in the bullpen…
The Mets acquired two guys who can strike people out (in Ramirez and Francisco), which is something they sorely missed last season. In the last year, I have heard from people in baseball who told me Alderson and his staff would always be looking for pitchers with power arms. Well, now they have at least two people who can get swings and misses and that will help out this current bullpen, no question. The Mets put too many runners on base last season with walks and bloop hits. Ramirez and Francisco, and Rauch to a lesser extent, should help keep people off the bases.
In regards to Pagan for Torres…
They are very, very similar players. Torres is older, but has more pop and patience at the plate. However, Pagan is probably a better contact hitter. Both players are rather injury prone, but capable of stealing 20 bases. They also have nearly identical facial hair.
The difference? Defense, hustle and attitude. In the last six months, I’ve lost count of how many people told me about how disappointed Terry was with Pagan’s demeanor last season. From what I can gather, Collins and Sandy Alderson have told people Pagan cracked under the pressure of taking over for Beltran, he got down on himself early in the year and never rebounded from it. “He quit on himself,” a person in the clubhouse once told me. They all seem to take particular issue him claiming to be dehydrated and missing multiple games in July.
Torres, on the other hand, gets high praise from people in San Francisco for his hustle and leadership. I’ve been told by Giants fans that he often gets credit for guiding his team through the 2010 pennant race. He’s older, and a bit banged up, and he will never be a strong hitter, but he’s still a fantastic defensive outfielder who can play all three positions.
So, how is this team better?
The Mets were sixth in the National League in runs scored last season, despite missing Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy, getting a half year from Carlos Beltran and David Wright, a poor year from Angel Pagan, and with Jose Reyes on and off the disabled list, and with Jason Bay still missing in action. Yet, they scored more runs than every other team in their division. At the same time, the Mets were sixth in the league with 24 blown saves. Adding Rauch, Ramirez and Francisco will help reduce that number, when added on top of Tim Byrdak, Manny Acosta and Bobby Parnell among others.
Lastly, while the team is shrinking the ballpark a bit, in Torres, they just added a better defensive center fielder than they had in Pagan, which will be necessary if Lucas Duda is lumbering around in right. What’s more, in Torres, Terry gets a guy who will always play hard and who carry out his message about preparation and effort.
What’s next, or is the off-season over?
The Mets still have roughly $5 million to spend and need to acquire a backup outfielder or two (maybe Endy Chavez), as well as another middle infielder (perhaps Jack Wilson) and at least one or two starting pitchers (I’m thinking a Jason Marquis or Chris Young).
To read our Brian Erni’s take on last night’s acquisitions, click here.