Mets unable to land reliever at deadline
Several relief pitchers change teams, but none join Mets
MILWAUKEE -- Try as they might, the Mets didn't accomplish what they had hoped to do. The non-waiver trade deadline passed Tuesday without them finding any relief for their bullpen. Their need for more late-inning pitching wasn't desperate. But they had hoped to add an arm and reduce the workload on those already in the "bridge to Billy" role.
Indeed, before the injury to Jose Valentin forced the Mets to seek a deal for a second baseman -- the acquisition of Luis Castillo on Monday being the deal they made -- general manager Omar Minaya sensed if the club made a deal, it would be for a reliever.
But with Eric Gagne, Octavio Dotel, Scott Linebrink, Scott Proctor and former Met Royce Ring -- relievers all -- changing teams, the only call to the Mets' bullpen was to say "Nothing's changed."
According to a person familiar with the Mets' efforts Tuesday, the club was involved with the Rangers and Nationals, hoping to acquire Gagne and Chad Cordero.
"As late as [30 minutes before the deadline], we still thought we had a chance for Gagne," the source said. "If we got either one, our games are a lot shorter."
The club's refusal to deal any of its young outfielders -- Lastings Milledge, Carlos Gomez or Fernando Martinez -- was an obstacle to any trade talks the Mets had about any players. They felt quite fortunate to have obtained Castillo for relatively little, Minor League catcher Drew Butera and outfielder Dustin Martin. Neither is the prospect Gomez or Martinez is.
So, unless the Mets claim a player off waivers and work out a deal as they did last August when they imported Shawn Green and Guillermo Mota, they will go forward as is and wait for the return of Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran -- assigned to the disabled list Tuesday -- and Endy Chavez. And perhaps Joe Smith will be the reliever they will add to the roster.
"Getting our injured players back might be the best moves we can make," Minaya said last week.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.