While the Mets front office has made some terrible and unsightly moves over the years, with the contracts given to Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez at the top of the list, they usually know when to cut bait with mediocre pitchers.
Below will be a list of examples of how the Mets made the right decision to part with some of their pitchers. The pitchers listed below have amounted to nothing better than serviceable pitchers, at best, since their departure from the organization.
In 2005 the Mets traded Yusmeiro Petit, at the time a decent prospect, to the Florida Marlins as part of a deal to get Carlos Delgado. Delgado would give the Mets three very solid seasons, while Petit has languished in the minor leagues this year for the Seattle Mariners franchise after unsuccessful stints with the Marlins and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In perhaps the most lopsided trade ever in the Mets favor, the Mets traded decent prospects in Kevin Mulvey, Phil Humber and Deolis Guerra (and of Carlos Gomez as well) to the Minnesota Twins for Johan Santana. All three of those pitching prospects have been busts to date.
Mulvey is now in the Diamondbacks organization, and is still pitching in the minors.
Humber is now just a low-end relief pitcher for the Kansas City Royals and does sport a decent 2.87 ERA, but his upside is severely limited.
Guerra is still with the Twins, but has not been called up and is part of their Triple-A affiliate.
Bannister, for his career has 37 wins and 50 losses with an ERA over five (5.08). Yeah Burgos flamed out and is suspected of attempted murder, but Bannister would have trouble starting for the Mets. He is at best a number five pitcher on a good team.
I hear a lot Mets fans moan about the loss of Nelson Figueroa and how he was mishandled at the end of last year. Are you kidding?
While Figueroa is a decent stopgap pitcher, he is not a guy you want to count on to be on your staff for the entire year.
Sure, Figueroa is having a good stretch right now with the Astros (2-1 in five starts with a 2.57 ERA), but he is only a pitcher that does well in stretches and not a pitcher who can sustain it.
There is a reason why Figueroa has been on six squads and spent some time in Taiwan and Mexico.
Jason Vargas is another pitcher having some moderate success this year with the Mariners. Vargas is 9-9 with a 3.72 ERA. However, you know a guy with Vargas’ pedigree was due for a course correction, and Vargas is now starting to slow down.
Vargas has lost four straight starts, and on Monday he had his shortest outing of the season when he gave up five runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings pitched.
The Mets also knew the right time to get rid of Kris Benson.
In a trade with the Baltimore Orioles, the Mets got John Maine and it looked like highway robbery at first but now Maine is giving the Mets fits with his own injury problems. But, Benson has been worse. Once again he is shut down for the season with a shoulder injury, while being a member of the Diamondbacks organization.
After the Mets traded him to the Orioles in 2005, he had a mediocre season with Baltimore in 2006 (11-12 4.82 ERA), missed 2007 and 2008 with major injuries, came back in 2009 with the Rangers(another horrible stint) and has not been the same. His career might be over.
Livan Hernandez is crafty veteran, and you know what your gonna get with him: a lot of innings, but a lot of runs given up in the process. Hernandez can pitch well in stretches, as he has for the Nationals this season, but he is no better than a stop gap option for good ball clubs. Eventually, Hernandez is going to break down.
So while the Mets have made some bad decisions in regards to pitching, notably the trading of Scott Kazmir and Perez’ contract, for the most part the Mets have a good track record of getting rid of pitchers either past their prime or never that good to begin with.
GM Omar Minaya has made some terrible decisions in the past, but evaluating pitching seems to be something he has done right.