The Albert Pujols contract talks are dominating the spotlight at Major League Baseball’s winter meetings. But there are plenty of other free agent acquisitions and trades going down in Dallas this week.
Late Tuesday the Mets traded outfielder Angel Pagan to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for outfielder Andres Torres and reliever Ramon Ramirez.
The Mets, who lost shorstop Jose Reyes to the free-wheeling Miami Marlins earlier this week, also added free-agent relief pitchers Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch in an effort to beef up a bullpen that finished 28th in the majors last season with a 4.33 ERA.
Pagan gives the Giants another option in the outfield to fill the gap between recently-acquired left fielder Melky Cabrera and young right fielder Nate Schierholtz. Injuries contributed to Pagan’s slow start in 2011 and he finished with a .262 average, seven home runs, 56 RBI, but still managed to steal 32 bases.
Meanwhile the Mets are doing what they can with their severely (Bernie Madoff-related) limited cash flow.
Francisco is a good bet to assume the closing duties after playing the role for six years in Texas before spending last year with Toronto. The 32-year-old righty converted 17 of 21 save chances for the Blue Jays.
Rauch, 33, Francisco’s teammate in Toronto, had 11 saves in 16 tries and a 4.85 ERA. The 30-year-old Ramirez held right-handed hitters to a .203 average and boasted a 2.62 ERA in 2011.
All three should contribute to a bullpen that desperately needs a shot in the arm.
“No disrespect to our guys, but we couldn’t stop some teams,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “I think we can now.”
The Mets hope Torres replace some of the speed that left New York with Reyes and Pagan. The 33-year-old swiped 26 bags and hit .268 to help the Giants reach the 2010 World Series, but was hampered by an Achilles injury in 2011.
More from baseball’s winter meetings:
Baseball Insider: Losing Reyes hurts Mets, but not as much as what is to come
Nationals Insider: Nats won’t react to Marlins’ moves, but they will affect offseason plans
Nationals Insider: GM Mike Rizzo remains confident on team’s chances to sign Mark Buehrle