Looking to fill a void at the back of their rotation as well as to plug a bullpen hole that suddenly arose, the Mets dealt for two Pirates pitchers on Monday. New York got Oliver Perez and Roberto Hernandez in exchange for Xavier Nady.
Few lefties in baseball have the ceiling of the 24-year-old Perez, but he has melted down since going 12-10, 2.98 with 239 strikeouts in 196 innings in 2004. He went 2-10, 6.63 in 15 starts, prompting his demotion to Triple-A Indianapolis. In 76 innings, he had a 61-51 K-BB ratio, .296 opponent average and 13 homers allowed. Those numbers just don't make sense for a guy who can throw in the mid-90s with a tight curveball, but Perez' stuff and command have slipped for no obvious reason. Still he's a worthwhile gamble for the Mets. Perez, who avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, $1.9 million contract, will be arbitration-eligible again during the offseason. He has a career record of 29-40, 4.56 in 105 games.
Hernandez will help replace Duaner Sanchez, who separated his shoulder in a car accident yesterday. Hernandez isn't the all-star closer he once was, but he has been effective in a setup role this year. He has gone 0-3, 2.93 in 43 games. He has a 33-24 K-BB ratio in 43 innings, while opponents have hit .264 with three homers against him. Hernandez operates with a low-90s fastball, a splitter and a slider. He signed a one-year, $2.75 million contract as a free agent in the offseason. In 938 career games, he owns a 64-68, 3.32 record and 326 saves.
One of the top prospects in the 2000 draft, Nady finally established himself as a big league regular after the Mets acquired him in a trade for Mike Cameron last November. Nady, 27, has hit .264/.326/.487 with 14 homers and 40 RBIs in 75 games this season, missing time after an emergency appendectomy. Power is his best tool, and he has a long swing that leads to strikeouts and a diminished batting average. His speed and defense are average at best. He has played right field for New York this year and has seen time at first base, third base and the other two outfield positions in the past. Nady will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason. He has hit .263/.322/.433 with 39 homers and 131 RBIs in 344 career games.