As has been widely reported, the Mets made two transactions today. Jose Reyes and Ryan Church were placed on the 15-day DL, Fernando Martinez was called up from Buffalo, and Wilson Valdez was acquired from the Indians for cash considerations. Martinez is unquestionably the bigger transaction as the much-hyped prospect will be given steady time in the outfield for the next few weeks at least. Hopefully he’ll flourish and become a cornerstone player to build around.
The Valdez transaction piqued my interest, mostly Cleveland didn’t even feel the need to receive a player in return. Granted, the Indians operate on a much tighter budget than the Mets so that cash can be put to good use developing other, more important assets. This will also presumably free up playing time for other players that they value more highly.
And let’s face it, this isn’t a top-flight major league talent we’re talking about here. Valdez hasn’t played in the majors since 2007. His career line? .211/.254/.277 with 13 extra-base hits (1 home run) in 274 plate appearances. And it’s even worse this season (in AAA Columbus): .198/.263/.207 with only 1 extra-base hit (a double) in 137 plate appearances. Think about that: 1 extra-base hit! And we thought the Mets had depth issues in the minors…
Regardless, seeing the words “cash considerations” made me curious: how many players have the Mets bought from other teams over the years, and how did it work out? I’m not including free agents, Rule 5 picks or waiver claims. I picked 1986 as an arbitrary starting point and headed over to Baseball Reference to do some digging. Here’s what I came up with:
November 28, 2007 Purchased Brian Stokes from the Tampa Bay Rays.
November 28, 2005 Purchased Tike Redman from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
March 24, 2005 Purchased Fernando Lunar from the Cleveland Indians.
March 28, 2005 Purchased Benji Gil from the Seattle Mariners.
December 28, 2001 Purchased Gary Matthews from the Pittsburgh Pirates. (Matthews was traded to the Baltimore Orioles on April 3, 2002 for John Bale).
March 28, 1997 Purchased Barry Manuel from the Montreal Expos.
March 26, 1996 Purchased Joe Crawford from the Boston Red Sox.
April 29, 1994 Purchased Roger Mason from the Philadelphia Phillies.
Couple of thoughts:
1). I didn’t realize Brian Stokes was acquired this way. Say what you want about him (I happen to like him), but this clearly goes into the plus column for Omar. Unless it was a ridiculously large cash payment, he’s already exceeded the value of the investment.
2). Slim pickings otherwise. Roger Mason was a decent major league pitcher, though not really for the Mets. I actually remember seeing Tike Redman, Benji Gil, and Gary Matthews, Jr. on the Mets’ roster, unlike Barry Manuel, Fernando Lunar, and Joe Crawford. On a side note, I can’t say that Gary Matthews, Jr. is another example of “one that got away”. He absolutely stank at the time and for several seasons after and John Bale was a decent enough prospect to justify the trade at the time. Although, Steve Phillips was still GM so screw it! I’m putting on my “hindsight goggles” and calling it a disaster of a move. Guess Gary Matthews, Jr. wasn’t “clutch” either…
3). This list changes a bit if you include players purchased from foreign and independent leagues. Takashi Kashiwada, Scott Stewart, Timo Perez, and Tsuyoshi Shinjo all join the list. Perez (unfortunately) went on to play a big role in the 2000 world series and Shinjo was one of the more unique personalities on the team during the early 00’s. Edgardo Alfonzo would also be included as his contract was purchased from Bridgeport of the Atlantic League in 2006, though Fonzie unfortunately never made it back to Flushing.
Overall, it’s not a bad list of players. Nothing earth-shattering, but some solid players nonetheless. But during my research I came across two rather interesting transactions from 2005:
March 30, 2005 Selected Wilson Valdez off waivers from the Chicago White Sox.
April 1, 2005 Wilson Valdez selected by the Seattle Mariners off waivers.
One day? I’d say that says a lot about Mr. Valdez. And boy are we in trouble if he winds up getting much more than mop-up duty.