I’m hearing a lot of talk on sports radio today about Billy Wagner who had another perfect appearance in rehab and is set to be activated this Sunday.
Most of the enthusiasm is centered around the chance that the Mets might be able to move him before the August 31st waiver deal deadline. I have no doubt that the Mets will try and get something in return for Wags, but some of the names I’m hearing as to what the Mets might get are totally unrealistic.
Everyone seems to be forgetting the current state of baseball from an economic sense. Things are still as bad as ever, and attendance is down all over the country. Last off season there were plenty of bargains to be had, especially for left handed relievers and setup men.
One such reliever was Joe Beimel who signed a one-year deal with the Nationals for $2 million dollars. Beimel is one of the best left-handed relievers in baseball. The Washington Nationals ended up trading Beimel to the Rockies at the trade deadline for a couple of scraps off the Rockies junk pile; right-handed pitchers Ryan Mattheus and Robinson Fabian.
At the time of the trade, Beimel, 32, was 1-5 with a 3.40 ERA and a save in 45 games with the Nats. Overall in 2009 he has allowed runs in just 11 of 45 games. Beimel had inherited 26 runners this season, the most by any current National League pitcher. Of the 26 runners he has inherited, only 8 have scored (30.8 pct.) which ranks 10th in the majors. Since the start of the 2006 season, Beimel has posted a 3.11 ERA which ranks as the 8th lowest ERA among left-handed relievers during that span.
Considering is upper echelon production and the fact he was owed less than $1 million dollars of his remaining salary, the Nats still had to kick in money to make the deal.
So what did the Nats get exactly? As I previously mentioned, a couple of arms from the scrap heap that are so bogged down in A-Ball they may never make it.
Here are their profiles from MLB.com.
Mattheus, a member of the Rockies 40-man roster, pitched in 3 games as a reliever for the Single-A Modesto Nuts from May 5-9. The 25-year-old went 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA before undergoing season-ending surgery on his right elbow.
Fabian, 23, is 3-6 with a 6.24 ERA in 24 games (12 starts) for the Single-A Asheville Tourists. A native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Fabian was signed by the Rockies as a non-drafted free agent on July 10, 2003.
Now, you have a much older Billy Wagner who is coming back from arm surgery, hasn’t pitched in about a year, and is owed about $4.5 million dollars of his $10.5 million dollar contract for 2009.
You get the picture?
I’ve heard some theories on how we should pick up his option for 2010 at a price tag of $8 million dollars. Again, that is sheer lunacy. Given all the holes on the Mets, I hardly think they can afford to have an $8 million dollar setup man who will be 39 years old and has arm problems. And even if they did do it for the purpose of trading him, the Mets would have to kick back at least $5 million dollars to their trading partner anyway, so why take the chance of getting stuck with that huge bill?
Left-handed relievers are easy to find and reasonably priced. I’d rather the Mets pick up Joe Beimel for $2-3 million next season, and use the $6 million they save on a solid number 3 pitcher or fill another spot on their to-do list.
So stop dreaming about what we might get for Billy Wagner, and step back into the world of reality.