As if they were hustling to make dinner reservations in the Metroplex, the Mets pulled off a series of rapid-fire moves Tuesday night at the winter meetings.
According to several media reports, the Mets made a pair of free-agent signings and an intriguing trade with the Giants that should significantly upgrade New York’s beyond-awful bullpen.
Added to the Mets’ relief corps will be three right-handers: free-agent signings Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch, and Ramon Ramirez, acquired in the trade. Francisco and Rauch both have experience as closers, and should compete for the closer void in Queens. Early bet to win the competition has to be Francisco, who has the more dominant repertoire.
He received a two-year, $12 million deal, Fox Sports reported. MLB Network says Rauch’s deal is for one year, at $3.5 million.
Francisco, 32, and Rauch, 33, spent 2011 with the Blue Jays, who earlier in the day acquired their new closer, Sergio Santos, in a trade with the White Sox. Ramirez, 30, is coming off an impressive year-and-a-half tenure with the Giants.
This past season, the Mets had a brutal bullpen this past season. Earlier in the offseason, they signed one of their key contributors, ex-Tiger Tim Byrdak, to an extension, and might still bring back veteran Jason Isringhausen, too.
The other player acquired by the Mets on Tuesday was outfielder (and former Tiger) Andres Torres, in the trade with the Giants. The Mets gave up an outfielder of their own, Angel Pagan, in the trade. Torres, 33, had a career year in helping the Giants win it all in 2010, then flopped as an encore in 2011. Pagan, 30, definitely is the more proven commodity.
With the additions, the Mets added a net of more than $10 million to the payroll — Ramirez and Torres should get raises in arbitration (so should Pagan with the Giants). The Mets have wasted no time spending the $11 million they paid now-former shortstop Jose Reyes in 2011.
That’s aggressive stuff by owner Fred Wilpon — a Michigan alum — and GM Sandy Alderson, whose ballclub this past year has seen its financial woes aired in public, for all to see.