The Winter Meetings have officially ended, but the lava continues to flow from Wednesday’s and Thursday’s eruption (see yesterday’s blog entry for all the transactions). Earlier today, The Mets completed the Paul Lo Duca deal by sending A-Ball outfielder Dante Brinkley to the Florida Marlins. Brinkley, 24 years old, batted .364 in 214 at bats (ABs) for the Mets’ A-Ball Hagerstown affiliate last season. he doesn’t project as more than a fourth outfielder. Mets’ general manager (GM) Omar Minaya made two other moves— Last night he drafted righthanded pitcher Mitch Wylie (Giants organization) in the Rule 5 draft and today he agreed to a two-year deal with old-timer and pinch-hitter extraordinaire Julio Franco. Wylie is 28 years old and a nine-year vet of the minor leagues. The Mets will have to keep him on the roster all season, otherwise they will have to offer him back to the Giants for $25,000. Because of Wylie’s age and mediocre repetoire the Giants probably wouldn’t want him back, allowing the Mets’ to send him to AAA at some point. Franco is the oldest player in the league (47 years old) and is the only player that has been in the majors longer than Roger Clemens (He broke into the Bigs in 1982 as a member of the Phillies). Even at his advanced age, Franco continues to be a solid hitter. In 2005 for the Atlanta Braves, he hit .275 with 9 home runs (HRs) and 42 runs batted in (RBIs) in 233 ABs. He is a lifetime .299 hitter and should be one of the Mets’ top pinch-hitters this coming season. He will also get an occasional start at first-base and possibly be used as a designated-hitter during interleague games. After signing Jose Valentin yesterday, the Mets’ now have two new utility infielders that are a combined 83 years old.
More Moves Around The League
The Baltimore Orioles are not only having a hard time attracting
free-agents, their lone star player has now asked for a ticket out of
town. Miguel Tejada is tired of losing and has demanded a trade. Tejada is owed quite a bit of money on his current contract and there are only a
few teams that would be able to afford him. The Red Sox could inquire about a possible
Tejada/Manny deal. Stay tuned! The O’s did complete one signing when
they signed yet another past-their-prime player by inking 1B/OF Jeff Conine to a 1-Year/$1.5 Million contract. Conine was previously an Oriole between 1999-2003.
Former Mets’ set-up man, 41 year old Roberto Hernandez has
agreed to a one year deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who might give
him a shot at their closer’s role. The Indians signed utility man and
former Red Sox’ player, Lou Merloni to a minor league deal.
Anaheim Angels great bullpen just got greater! Early Friday, they
completed the one trade of the day thus far when they acquired premier
lefty set-up man J.C. Romero from the Minnesota Twins for infield prospect Alexi Casilla.
The Halos are loaded with young infield talent and Casilla was only
their 4th or 5th best infield prospect. With the price for good
lefthanded relievers always high, it seems like Twins GM Terry Ryan got
very little in return here while saving only a little more than $2
million dollars. Romero is 29 years old and was 4-3 with a 3.47 earned
run average (ERA) last year. Romero’s best season was in 2002 when he went 9-2 with a 1.89 ERA in 81 innings pitched. To make room for J.C. on the 40-man roster the Angels designated catcher Josh Paul for assignment.