It seems as though players who recently spend unsuccessful years with the Mets sign with teams the furthest away from New York as possible. It happened with Oliver Perez and Jason Bay, who now occupy the Pacific Northwest with the Mariners, and yesterday it happened to two more former Mets, as Andres Torres will be going back to the West Coast and re-joining the Giants.
He struggled last year in Flushing, as he put together a .230/.327/.337 line in 374 at-bats last season, and although he was eligible for his third year of arbitration, the Mets non-tendered him before the November 30th deadline. Rumors said New York was interested in bringing him back as their fourth outfielder for less than the $2.7 million he made in 2012, but San Francisco scooped him up, agreeing to a one-year/$2 million contract. The Giants outfield now includes recently re-signed Angel Pagan, Hunter Pence, and Gregor Blanco. MLB Trade Rumors reports he could challenge Blanco for playing time in left field, but likely will be a part-time player, giving starters a rest and coming in as a defensive replacement.
Now that Torres is back with San Francisco, it’s unlikely the Giants are still interested in Nick Swisher, and they also no longer have interest in players like Scott Hairston, Cody Ross, or Reed Johnson…three outfielders that should be on Sandy Alderson’s radar.
In case you missed it yesterday, the Angels came out of nowhere to sign fre agent Josh Hamilton to a five-year/$125 million deal, which leaves them with a surplus of outfielders, and not enough starting pitching. Zack Greinke is gone, James Shields has already been traded, and Anibal Sanchez is reportedly choosing between the Tigers and Cubs, meaning the next best option would be R.A. Dickey, a pitcher the Angels have shown interest in.
Immediately following the Hamilton signing, sources said the Angels are not interested in trading outfielders Mark Trumbo or Peter Bourjos, but I don’t buy that. Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog breaks down the trade market for Dickey now that the biggest free agent chip has fallen, and he mentions the Rangers (although the Mets aren’t crazy about Mike Olt and Leonys Martin), Angels, and Blue Jays as the most likely trade partners. Also, Cerrone shows us outfield options that would leave Dickey and Jonathon Niese in the Mets’ rotation. One that could be appealing is Michael Bourn, who may be willing to take a one-year deal if his market doesn’t form soon.
Meanwhile, another non-tendered Mets player has signed with a team and is heading to the Far East. Reliever Manny Acosta has agreed to a one-year/$1.65 million contract to play for the Yomuri Giants in Japan, which includes $500K in bonuses. Acosta’s second half of the season was much better than the first half, but overall, it wasn’t a very good year for the reliever. He posted a 1-3 record with a 6.46 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, and 46 strikeouts in 47.1 innings pitched. His ability was never questioned by the Mets, but it’s his focus that seemed to be an issue, which landed him in the minors in 2012 after a horrific start to the year. It’s nice to be sure that him and Torres won’t be back with New York in 2013, forcing Sandy to make other moves and bring in some new players instead.