The final day of the winter meetings saw the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outspend the Miami Marlins, handing out more than $330 million to Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson.
The New York Mets’ activity was confined to the Rule 5 draft, where they lost minor league relief pitcher Rhiner Cruz to the Houston Astros in the major league portion. If the Astros keep Cruz on their 25-man roster all season, they get to keep him – the same way the Mets acquired Pedro Beato from the Baltimore Orioles in 2011.
The Mets did not select any players in either the major league or minor league phases. Most teams didn’t. Only 37 players were taken overall, and just 12 were picked in the major league portion.
I saw Cruz pitch in one game for the Binghamton Mets this summer. He threw three scoreless innings out of the bullpen, limiting Trenton Thunder batters to just one walk while striking out three. However, I saw him on a good day. His overall Double-A numbers included a 4-2 record with a 4.14 ERA in 36 relief appearances. Cruz struck out 51 and walked 39 in 58 2/3 innings.
While he might stick on the Houston roster, the odds suggest he will be offered back to the Mets. And even if he’s not, it’s unlikely that Cruz would have contributed to the 2012 team.
Trying to keep things in perspective: I spoke to a friend who’s a diehard Red Sox fan last night, and he was extremely frustrated that his team hadn’t made any significant moves beyond naming Bobby Valentine manager. The Red Sox nearly made the playoffs this year and should certainly be in the thick of the AL East race in 2012, no matter what they do between now and spring.
I understand his frustration. But we all know that baseball games and World Series championships are won on the field, not in the transactions column. Hopefully Valentine will be able to chase away the ghosts of this year’s collapse even without a bunch of shiny new acquisitions… and maybe the 2012 Mets won’t be quite as hopeless as I fear.