At least three sources are reporting that the Mets have officially dealt Kris Benson for Jorge Julio. On the other hand, MetsBlog says the above sources jumped the gun. In case the deal or something like it occurs, here's a rundown of the pitchers.
A recap of my synopsis of Benson from a week ago:
He was much worse away from Shea Stadium.
He hasn't pitched 200 innings in a season since 2000.
His 2005 strikeout rate was a career low.
Nonetheless, Benson makes a passable #3 starter. As a flyball pitcher moving from one of the toughest parks in which to homer to a neutral one, Benson figures to see his ERA hit 4.50 or higher in 2006. The Mets are free of $15MM due to Benson for 2006-07.
They will have to cover roughly $3MM coming to Jorge Julio. The right-hander hasn't been particularly good since 2002, the year he somehow managed to keep the ball in the park. Since then, his home run rate has been poor and he's allowed tons of baserunners.
Fallout from the deal:
Some speculate Julio makes Aaron Heilman expendable, but it doesn't seem likely the Mets would think that way.
The Orioles might pull back in their pursuit of Paul Byrd, or perhaps he's reached a deal elsewhere. A Benson addition might indicate an Erik Bedard deal on the horizon, although co-VP Mike Flanagan has said he's not shopping Bedard.
While it's being called a salary dump, the Mets only clear $5MM in the deal for '06. It's not as if that $5MM was holding Minaya back from a big deal he wanted to make. The key to the deal is more that it opens up a rotation spot for a Javier Vazquez-type trade. While the Mets are quickly being heralded as National League favorites, their starting rotation is not particularly fearsome at present.
Thanks to Steve and Brian
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