|New general manager Sandy Alderson didn’t exactly send shockwaves through the industry with his first trade at the helm of the Mets. He shipped Triple-A lefty Mike Antonini to the Dodgers for shortstop Chin-Lung Hu, a strong defensive player who has hit a miserable .191/.241/.283 in parts of four seasons with Los Angeles. Hu was deemed expendable because he has no minor league options remaining and did not appear ready to budge the Dodgers’ Rafael Furcal (or his backups Jamey Carroll and Juan Uribe) off shortstop any time soon.|
|Chin-Lung Hu, ss
Age: 26. Position: SS (55 G), 2B (15 G).
Born: Feb. 2, 1984 in Tainan City, Taiwan.
Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 190. Bats: R. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Signed as nondrafted free agent by Dodgers, Jan. 31, 2003.
Take Hu’s Triple-A performance with a huge grain of salt. He has spent parts of the past four seasons in Triple-A, batting .303/.333/.421 in 1,135 plate appearances in the extremely favorable hitting environments of Las Vegas and Albuquerque. In Pacific Coast League road games, he finished with a .674 OPS in 2010, with corresponding figures of .692 in ’09, .624 in ’08 and .773 in ’07. Even at his best, Hu is no offensive threat as a well-below-average hitter with no power who slashes the ball and runs. He missed a large chunk of the ’10 season with a thumb injury, but when healthy Hu shows three average tools in his running speed, range at shortstop and throwing arm. He makes all the routine plays at either shortstop or second base and profiles as a utility infielder who would be stretched offensively even as a short-term starter.
|Mike Antonini, lhp
Born: Aug. 6, 1985 in Drexel Hill, Pa.
Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 200. Bats: R. Throws: L.
School: Georgia College & State.
Career Transactions: Selected by Mets in 18th round of 2007 draft; signed June 11, 2007.
Antonini throws a lot of strikes, as his career rate of 2.1 walks per nine innings in the minors can attest, but his stuff is short to project him as anything more than an insurance starter or middle reliever. Though his fastball sits only at 86-88 mph, he sinks and cuts the ball well, while showing a strong feel for when to deploy his average curveball and changeup. Antonini’s high-70s change gives him a chance to pitch middle relief and not fall into a situational rut.