One of the Mets' talent evaluators said Monday that though Valdes has no trick pitch or funky arm angle, "He seems pretty capable of getting outs against both sides."
The Mets re-familiarized themselves with Valdes over the winter when he pitched in the Caribbean World Series. General manager Omar Minaya saw him there. Valdes had pitched with the Mets' Class A and Double-A teams in 2007.
Also, Jerry Manuel reportedly likes Valdes (per Matt at Metsblog), despite him having pitched just 2.2 innings this spring. The 32 year-old Cuban defector logged 36.2 combined innings between High-A St. Lucie and AA Binghamton in 2007 while posting a 33:15 K/BB ratio. Since then, he has bounced around the Dominican, Venezuelan and Mexican leagues, most recently playing for Tobasco in the Mexican League.
Nothing about Valdes--stuff, stats, upside--is particularly exciting. He throws an average fastball and some shaky breaking stuff, and, if we lend credence to the Mets' talent evaluators, doesn't seem like a classic LOOGY. Minor League Splits does show us that he was better against lefties in his brief minor league career, but so was Jon Switzer. It's pretty bizarre that we're entertaining the possibility of the Mets keeping a guy who has never pitched in MLB and hasn't been in MiLB since 2007 but let's go with it for argument's sake.
Valdes on the roster means Pedro Feliciano is the set-up man. Initial reaction to hearing he might be given this job was an eye-roll, but after thinking about it more it's not a terrible idea. If Jerry insists on defining such a role, Feliciano is the next best option to a healthy and ready Kiko Calero. Obviously you'd like to avoid having Feliciano face the likes of Chipper Jones and notorious nemesis Matt Diaz back-to-back, but Met fans should have confidence in Perpetual Pedro navigating a lefty-right-lefty inning. Based on all publicly available information, here is the likely bullpen featuring Feliciano as set-up man:
Calero is omitted, but if deemed ready would certainly find a spot in this crew. This 'pen is intriguing. In Tak2, Nieve and Figgy there are three guys capable of eating multiple garbage time innings at a time while also being counted on in higher-leverage 6th or 7th inning spots. The bullpen of specialists in recent years was overworked, ineffective and excruciating to watch. With Calero, Bobby Parnell, Sean Green and even Clint Everts waiting in the minors, and Kelvim Escobar and Jenrry Mejia potentially available later in the season, this has the makings of a bullpen with quality depth. More importantly, there is enough talent present such that Mejia's flamethrowing services are not necessary on the Opening Day roster, right? Right?!