It’s no secret that the Mets have been looking for a right-handed complement to Josh Thole behind the plate. That search led to talks with the Cubs regarding Geovany Soto this past week.
Andy Martino broke the news today, but he said a deal was unlikely. Following up on it, the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers said talks were dead. The Cubs are open to moving Soto and going with Steve Clevenger and Welington Castillo as a catching tandem, but Soto’s salary was probably more than the Mets were interested in taking on, particularly since they’re now looking more towards 2013.
The Mets have also engaged in talks for Colorado’s Ramon Hernandez and Boston’s Kelly Shoppach in the past without coming away with either. Those players could both come at discounts after Tuesday’s trade deadline, assuming they clear waivers.
Soto, 29, has hit just .195/.278/.345 this season, and given that he’s making $4.3 million, he’s looking like a top non-tender candidate this winter. The Mets could again look at him then. Unless he comes through with a big finish here, he’s probably looking at a salary closer to $2 million in 2013, making him more palatable as a backup.
Long-time rotation mainstay Tom Koehler was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Monday and reliever Hunter Cervenka was recalled, the Marlins announced.
Koehler, 31, made 131 starts out of the Marlins’ rotation over the last five years, but his 12 this season have not been good, so the club hopes he can figure things out with a stint in the minors. He’s carrying a 7.92 ERA with a 44/29 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. Koehler battled bursitis in his right shoulder in May and June, which may partially explain his struggles.
Cervenka, 27, posted a 4.50 ERA with a 34/21 K/BB ratio in 34 innings of relief with New Orleans. He hasn’t pitched in the majors yet this season, but compiled a 3.53 ERA over 43 1/3 innings in the bigs last year in the Marlins’ bullpen.
At the trade deadline, relief pitching is the name of the game and one of the names clearly available is Pat Neshek. Today Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are among the clubs who are closely scouting the Phillies reliever. Last week Ken Rosenthal reported that the Brewers and Rays were involved as well.
Neshek is an impending free agent, so he may come cheaper than Justin Wilson or some of the other bullpen arms available right now. The All-Star is 36 and is posting a fantastic season, featuring a 1.12 ERA and 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40.1 innings this season.