Thursday, December 11, 2008

Breaking down the J.J. Putz trade

I like the acquisition of J.J. Putz. I look forward to Jerry Manuel using him as a “relief ace”, coming in to pitch in high leverage situations no matter if it’s the 6th or 9th inning. Games are shortened to 7 innings with Putz and K-Rod. Let’s hope they both stay healthy. The trade can be broken up into 3 parts, listed below:

Gave up: Endy Chavez (OF), age 31
Received: Jeremy Reed (OF), age 27

They are similar hitters and Reed is younger. Note that Reed played mostly CF entirely in 2008, while Endy played mostly corner OF positions. Reed is a serviceable defensive player and posted a 13.2 UZR in 2005 playing CF exclusively. He seems to have regressed since. Reed was once a highly regarded prospect and had great minor league success. It hasn't translated to the major league level after 1100+ PA's, so I don't think he's going to "figure it out" all of a sudden. This is the one part of the trade I don’t like, as Endy is more valuable both for sentimental reasons and, more importantly, his on-field contribution.

Gave up: Joe Smith (P), age 25
Received: Sean Green (P), age 30

It’s pretty amazing how similar these 2 are, outside of age. Green has held righties to a .683 OPS against in his career – Smith, .643. Both struggle against lefties. I like Smith and am sad to see him go, but this part of the trade is a wash. Green = Smith.

Gave up: Aaron Heilman (P) age 30, Mike Carp (1B) age 22, Jason Vargas (P) age 26, Ezequiel Carrera (OF) age 21, Maikel Cleto (P) age 19
Received: J.J. Putz (P), age 32

If Putz is healthy, this is a decent but not great trade for the Mets. The 2006-2007 version of Putz was one of the best relievers in baseball, if not the best. Strikeout ability is something the Mets bullpen has lacked the last couple years (outside of Billy Wagner). Putz is owed $5 million in 2009 and has a club option for $8.6 million in 2010. Hopefully he’s not too disgruntled about being a setup man, which I’m assuming is the plan at this point. I don’t know much about the minor leaguers to comment, but hopefully Carp gets a shot to play in Seattle. Heilman will probably be a starter, and I would love to him start 30+ games and have success. The Mets win this part of the trade, assuming Putz is healthy and dominant. Otherwise, it's a lot of players to give up for a setup man.

To sum up, I love having Putz in the bullpen, and I like this trade. If they could’ve kept Endy I’d like it more.


Mike Newman said...

I am disappointed to see Cleto though. He impressed me when I saw him play in Savannah. One thing is for sure. The way you broke this down makes it seem like the largest amount ever given for a middle reliever.

Mets Tailgate said...


The more I think about the Putz trade, the less I like it. So I think I'm going to stop thinking about it, haha.

All trades are evaluated twice, and let's hope Putz is healthy and can regain his dominant form. Look at Brad Lidge this year in Philly - it's definitely possible.