The Mets ended weeks of speculation last night by trading Francisco Rodriguez, plus an undisclosed amount of cash likely to be in the $3-5 million range, to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for two players to be named later (PTBNL). So who are the Mets getting, exactly?
First, let's clarify how the PTBNL works:
- The trade must be completed within six months of the rest of the transaction. If the Rodriguez-plus-cash part is finalized today (13 July) then the PTBNL must be resolved by 13 January.
- The players coming from Milwaukee won't be Milwaukee Brewers players, as the PTBNL rules stipulate that such players can't be traded to a team in the same league in which they were playing. This means that a player can go from the American League to the National League or any level of the minor leagues to any major league, but not from the NL to the NL. For this reason, the vast majority of PTBNLs are minor leaguers.
- The PTBNLs in this case won't be 2011 draft picks because a draft pick can't be traded until at least a year has elapsed since he signed his contract.
- In many cases, the two teams agree on a list of five or ten players from which the team receiving the PTBNLs (the Mets, in this instance) can select anyone.
In all likelihood the Mets will be receiving two minor leaguers from the Brewers at some point between now and next season. I haven't the foggiest idea who they might be, but check out John Sickels's pre-season Brewers prospect list for some possibilities. The bad news is that Milwaukee's farm system is considered among the worst — if not the very worst — in baseball after it was emptied in offseason deals for Shawn Marcum and Zack Greinke.
Regardless of who the Mets wind up with, this move was mostly about unloading Rodriguez and his $17.5 million vesting option for 2012, which option the Mets, whose financial situation is unsettled to say the least, could hardly afford to swallow.