After losing Jose Reyes, Mets GM Sandy Alderson made quick strides Tuesday to further remake the team — Angel Pagan is gone, and the Mets now have a new center fielder and three new relievers.
Pagan was dealt to the Giants for outfielder Andres Torres and reliever Ramon Ramirez. Then Alderson signed Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch for the bullpen.
First the Pagan deal. I don’t know anything about Torres or Ramirez, but getting Pagan off the team instantly makes it better. And the fact that Alderson was able to get anything for the non-tender candidate is a huge coup. The 33-year-old Torres hit just .221 last season following a breakout 2010 in which he hit 16 homers. He can steal a base, though — 26 and 19 the past two seasons.
To the bullpen additions now — both Rauch and Francisco worked as closers in 2011, but Terry Collins confirms Rauch will be the eighth inning guy and Francisco will close for the Mets in 2012.
“I think our biggest priority when we came to these meetings was to try to strengthen our bullpen,” Collins told ESPNNewYork.com. “We knew we had to rebuild it. To get it done the way it happened today, I’m amazed by it. Those were three very, very good arms — power arms. It’s going to give us huge depth down there now. And I think it’s going to make a difference.”
As far as money, Torres and Ramirez will likely earn around $5 million combined in 2012, about what Pagan would have gotten.
Rauch signed a reported one-year deal for $3.5 million. Francisco got a two-year, $12 million deal. I am surprised the cash-strapped Mets would pay so much for an eighth inning reliever, as well as giving Francisco that much money. After balking at paying Jonathan Broxton $4 million, I didn’t think they would pay any closer as much as $6 million. I guess Alderson targeted the bullpen as problem #1. I think the starting rotation deserves that status, but what do I know?
All of this means the Mets spent upwards of $14 million for 2012 on Tuesday. Alderson said on Monday that he has $20 million to $25 million additional to spend on payroll. So add in the expected $6 million for Mike Pelfrey, that leaves $0 to $5 million to spend to round out the rest of the team. Don’t expect any superstars.