James over at Mets Tailgate posted a piece Thursday quickly breaking down the J.J. Putz to the Mets deal. I loved his breaking down the deal into smaller parts, and it helped me better analyze whether the Mets dealt too much for a pitcher projected to handle 8th inning duties.
To take James' piece a step further, the deal really needs to be split into two pieces.
1. Endy Chavez/Joe Smith for Sean Green/Jeremy Reed
Not much to say about this except both pairs of players are extremely similar from a statistical standpoint with Chavez being a few years older than Reed and Green being a few years older than Smith. If this deal had been made by itself, I'm not sure anybody would really know why both organizations even bothered.
2. J.J. Putz for Aaron Heilman, Mike Carp, Maikel Cleto, Jason Vargas, and Ezequiel Carrera
Much of Putz' value is based on the assumption he is now healthy and will revert to his 2006-2007 stat line when he was one of the top five closers in baseball. While his previous elbow injury behind him, this very well may happen, but Putz is far from a sure thing as the 31-year old is a relative late bloomer without a long track record of success who posted a downright terrifying 1.60 WHIP in 2008.
For the Mariners, Aaron Heilman is the biggest name to head west and could prove to be of value should he successfully revert back to the starting rotation. As a starter making somewhere in the neighborhood of two million, his numbers could rival Carlos Silva who the Mariners signed to a four year, forty-eight million dollar deal just an off season earlier.
At best, Claudio Vargas is a long reliever/mop up duty type who holds little to no apparent value.
Mike Carp and Maikel Cleto ranked numbers eight and eighteen respectively on my top 20 Mets prospect list. Carp's high end projection is similar to that of Lyle Overbay with Maikel Cleto being a young fireballer with questionable secondary offerings. In watching him pitch towards the end of the 2008 season, I was impressed with his hitting 97 MPH on the gun on a handful of occasions and maintaining his velocity deep into a late season game. While I don't see Cleto as a starter long term, I can see him definitely becoming a formidable closer should he develop a second pitch.
Carrera would have ranked in the top twenty-five Mets prospects had I extended the list out a few more spots, but projects as a 4th outfielder type as his ability to consistently drive the baseball is in question. However, his dozen triples and twenty-nine steals show speed, a tool which simply can not be taught.
In total, the Mets dealt quite a bit for a set up man whose injury plagued 2008 leaves question marks entering spring training. In defense of the Mets, the players dealt were spare parts in the organizational big picture and Omar Minaya was able to use the sum total of those parts to land a key component to the 2009 roster. It's obviously not a secret the Mets missed the playoffs because of their pen, and while the Mets may very well have dealt more than many organizations would have, a talented set up man is a necessity for a team who lacked the ability to close games out down the stretch.