According to a story in today's Newsday, the Mets and Orioles are once again discussing a trade that would send Kris Benson and his salacious but misinformed bride to Baltimore in exchange for the poor man's Armando Benitez, Jorge Julio, and an unnamed prospect. Such a move would likely open a rotation spot for Aaron Heilman, but could very well weaken the Mets' bullpen and rotation simultaneously.
JULIO YEAR AGE ERA G IP SO SO/9 BB/9 HR/9 H/9 SO/BB 2001 21 3.80 18 21.1 22 9.28 3.80 0.84 10.55 2.44 2002 22 1.99 67 68.0 55 7.28 3.57 0.66 7.28 2.04 2003 24 4.38 64 61.2 52 7.59 4.96 1.46 8.76 1.53 2004 25 4.57 65 69.0 70 9.13 5.09 1.43 7.70 1.79 2005 26 5.90 67 71.2 58 7.28 3.01 1.76 9.54 2.42Julio has been extremely erratic and inconsistent throughout his career. He actually seemed to settle down a bit last season, posting the best walk rate and, subsequently, his best K/BB rate so far. His strikeouts dropped a bit from his 2004 level, but it may be that he has settled down a bit and is simply throwing more pitches for strikes.
Further evidence that Julio might have ratcheted things down a notch or two is provided by his hit rate, which spiked from 7.70 H/9 in 2004 all the way up to 9.54 H/9 last season. When a pitcher starts hanging around the strike zone with more frequency he also tends to get battered around more often. At first I thought he might have had an abnormally high BABIP last year, but that doesn't appear to be the case.
I would hope that the prospect included in such a deal is an impact one, as Benson-for-Julio doesn't make much sense.
UPDATE: This is apparently a done deal, according to Newsday. The Mets send Benson to the O's in exchang for Julio and 24-year-old RHP John Maine. Maine is a starting pitcher by trade and posted terrific peripherals in the minors, compiling a 384:104 K:BB ratio in 337.2 MnL innings and just 19 homeruns over that span. He also only allowed 257 hits in those innings.
His big league numbers in 43.2 innings aren't too hot: 6.60 ERA, 5.15 K/9, 5.56 BB/9 (!), 1.85 HR/9 (!) and 9.48 H/9.