Within the last hour, the Mets traded Angel Pagan to the Giants for Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez, signed Frank Francisco to a two-year deal and signed Jon Rauch to a one-year deal.
OK, a lot to digest here, and some more of that’s going to happen in the morning. The trade seems like a fair one: Pagan and Torres both enjoyed career years in 2010 then rough years in 2011, though Pagan seemed to endure some tough luck thanks to batting average on balls in play where Torres did not. When everything’s going well they’re reasonably similar players, but since Pagan is several years younger he seems a safer bet to bounce back. Torres, for what it’s worth, is under team control through arbitration for an extra year.
But the Mets get Ramirez as well, which balances out the age difference between Pagan and Torres. None of Ramirez’s rate stats jump off the page, but he’s doing something right: He has a stellar career 139 ERA+ over 364 1/3 innings of relief work. Someone will inevitably mention — as they probably should, and as I am now — that Ramirez has traditionally underperformed ERA estimators like FIP and xFIP, but the longer he does it, I suppose, the more reasonable it seems to guess that he’ll keep it up.
Francisco’s deal is reportedly worth $12 million over two years, which probably means he’ll be the closer. He’s filled that role in part seasons before for Texas and Toronto, and should be fine in it for the Mets. He strikes out a ton of dudes and allows perhaps a few more baserunners than we’d all like, but given the deal Heath Bell got, Francisco seems like a bargain at that rate.
Rauch is extremely tall and not especially good. He’s one of the aforementioned free-agent relievers that’s not obviously better than Manny Acosta. He has had nice seasons in the past and outside of a rough campaign in 2011 he hasn’t been awful, but with the additions of Francisco and Ramirez today he actually seems superfluous.
Maybe the Mets are planning on re-signing Chris Young and need someone to guard him in pickup basketball games. Either way, Rauch isn’t a huge mistake at one year and $3.5 million since he should be decent out of the bullpen, but it seems odd to invest anything in middle-innings relievers.
I suppose that leaves the bullpen looking something like: Francisco, Ramirez, Rauch, Acosta, Bobby Parnell, Tim Byrdak and, I don’t know… Pedro Beato? DJ Carrasco? Daniel Herrera? Longman McGee? I guess there’s no reason to settle on the 12th pitcher in December. Plus there’s a solid chance more trades will be made. Hell, at this rate there’s a strong possibility more trades have been made while I’ve been writing this.
Also worth noting: Defensive metrics sweat Torres hard. UZR is crushing on Andres Torres like a screaming, fainting girl over the Beatles in 1965. Pagan’s UZR dipped a bunch in 2011, so by Fangraphs’ WAR — which heavily weighs UZR — Torres had a significantly better season than Pagan. I don’t know if that’s the type of thing I’d expect to continue, though it certainly can’t hurt to bring in guys who rate so well defensively.
But more on all of it in the morning, provided the Mets haven’t made six or seven more moves by then.