D’backs Get Veteran Lefty

The Deal
In what must feel like a cathartic process for the New York front office, the Mets traded a third member of their disastrous 2008 bullpen, sending lefty reliever Scott Schoeneweis to the Diamondbacks for Triple-A righthanded reliever Connor Robertson. Schoeneweis surrendered an eighth-inning home run to Marlins’ pinch-hitter Wes Helms and took the loss in the Mets’ final game at Shea Stadium last September. A win would have kept their playoff chances alive.

New York already has parted ways with righthanders Aaron Heilman and Joe Smith this offseason, including them as part of the three-team J.J. Putz trade.

The Young Player
It’s the second trade in as many offseasons for Robertson, a 27-year-old who fanned 72 batters in 71 2/3 relief innings for Triple-A Tucson this season. His 30 walks (3.77 per nine innings), though, contributed to a 5.02 ERA. An Athletics 31st-round pick in 2004 from Birmingham-Southern, Robertson was the other player the Diamondbacks acquired when they sent six players to Oakland for Dan Haren. He’s a classic sinker/slider reliever who touches 88-90 mph with his fastball and throws a healthy number of low-80s sliders. As such, Robertson has been a bit tougher on righthanded batters in his past two seasons at Triple-A. They’ve managed to hit .250/.330/.385 against him, compared with .295/.381/.422 by lefties. His brother David made his big league debut with the Yankees in June.
Quick Take
Robertson will battle for a spot in a Mets’ new-look bullpen behind Francisco Rodriguez, Putz, Sean Green and Pedro Feliciano. Duaner Sanchez also has tenure with the club, so Robertson’s chief competition for the last remaining relief spot will be rookies Bobby Parnell and Eddie Kunz, holdover Brian Stokes and major league Rule 5 pick Rocky Cherry.

Schoeneweis, 35, has been murder on lefthanded batters in his big league career (.224/.299/.295) because of his low three-quarters arm angle and sinker/slider combo. But righties get such a good look at him that he has to be spotted perfectly to succeed. In two years with the Mets, he allowed OPS figures of .963 and .955 to righthanders, but in an Arizona bullpen that featured only Doug Slaten from the left side this season, Schoeneweis will fit right in. The Mets also included $1.6 million in the deal, so the Diamondbacks are on the hook for only $2 million of Schoeneweis’ salary in 2009, the final year of a three-year deal he signed with New York.

<< Trade Central 2008