Regardless of my feelings about the actual Francisco Rodriguez trade, I was really curious as to what the Mets would be getting in return from the Brewers. The general assumption is that we would get two PTBNL who didn’t matter at all, but I wanted to look more into the situation. As you already know, the Mets acquired two young pitchers for Rodriguez: Daniel Ray Herrera and Adrian Rosario. Herrera’s name was familiar to me for one reason – he was part of the deal that sent Josh Hamilton to Texas back in 2007. He was placed on waivers and claimed by the Brewers.
One of my personal beliefs, and for once it isn’t a minority belief, is that a bullpen can be put together year by year because relief pitching is a very inconsistent field. The most consistent relievers usually become set-up men or closers – so if you can piece together some talented players and good luck is on your side, you might actually stumble across a really effective bullpen. The Rays, among others, have proved this theory quite often.
You can never have enough pitching – especially left handed pitching. Daniel Ray Herrera is a special case for two reasons: He’s shorter than I am, standing at 5’6”, and he throws a screwball. The fact that he throws a real screwball and compliments that with the ability to throw a fastball, slider, change, cutter, and curveball – that sounds like a good pitcher to have around.
If you think Dickey’s knuckleball is a dying art, the screwball has an argument to pick with you. Dallas Braden, Hisanori Takahashi, and Daniel Herrera are pretty much the only guys who attempted a screwball in the 2011 season, due to the stress it causes on the arm. Herrera had a decent showing in a short sample size with the Mets and his minor league track record isn’t too bad at all.
I’m not asking anybody to jump for joy about Herrera and I’m not here to proclaim that he’s the next best thing. He’s probably not going to set the world on fire anytime soon. However, he’s got a WHIP in the minors right around 1.06, a nice array of pitches, and a .215/.308 career BA/SLG against for lefties. At the very least, we might have found ourselves a nice LOOGY type player and maybe we can bump Byrdak up to a slightly more prominent role to keep a second LHP in the pen.