After upgrading their lineup over the weekend with the additions of Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, the Mets addressed the back-end of their bullpen tonight by acquiring reliever Tyler Clippard from the Athletics for prospect right-hander Casey Meisner. Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports that Oakland is including $1 million in the deal, so the Mets will be responsible for around $2 million of Clippard’s remaining salary.
Clippard has functioned as Oakland’s primary closer this season, posting a 2.79 ERA and 38/21 K/BB ratio in 38 2/3 innings while going 17-for-21 in save chances. He’ll presumably move back into a set-up role in New York and has a chance to form a potent late-inning duo with closer Jeurys Familia. While Clippard’s walks are up a bit this season, he has been one of the game’s better relievers dating back to 2009. Bobby Parnell hasn’t shown his pre-Tommy John surgery form quite yet and Jenrry Mejia isn’t eligible to pitch in the postseason, so it’s a smart move for the Mets. It also helps to keep Clippard away from the first-place Nationals, who reportedly had interest in bringing him back.
Meisner, a third-round pick from 2013, owns a 2.89 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 over 35 starts and six relief appearances in the minors. The 20-year-old has split this season between Class A Savannah and High-A St. Lucie. He could be a useful piece down the road for Oakland, but the Mets still have plenty of prospect depth if they decide to pick up another bat in the coming days.
The Angels have been in the market for an outfield bat for a while now and they finally landed some help tonight by acquiring Shane Victorino from the Red Sox for infielder Josh Rutledge. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe writes that the Red Sox will also cover $3.8 million of the roughly $4.9 million remaining on Victorino’s contract.
Hamstring and calf injuries have limited Victorino to just 33 games this season and he hasn’t been all that productive when healthy, putting up a .245/.324/.298 batting line over 106 plate appearances. Still, Angels left fielders have combined to hit just .212/.277/.312 so far this season, most of it coming from Matt Joyce, so I guess you can call this an upgrade. The 34-year-old Victorino is due to become a free agent this winter.
Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports hears that the Angels view Victorino as a fourth outfielder, so this doesn’t necessarily rule them out from acquiring another outfielder. The Angels have been linked to Jay Bruce of the Reds and Ben Zobrist of the Athletics in recent days.
Rutledge was acquired from the Rockies over the winter, but he has spent the entire 2015 season in Triple-A. The 26-year-old has an 83 OPS+ over 947 plate appearances in the majors and has experience at both middle infield spots and third base.
We heard earlier this afternoon that the Mets are looking at Justin Upton of the Padres among other outfield targets, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan are both reporting that the team has also been in touch with the Rockies about shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. So far, there’s not much momentum toward a possible deal:
As for Rosenthal, he hears the Mets are “under the impression that Colorado does not want to trade” Tulowitzki.
Tulowitzki is still owed more than $100 million through 2021, which has long led to skepticism about whether the Mets would be able to afford him. Even putting that aside, the Rockies don’t seem motivated to move their star shortstop even though they are headed for their fifth straight losing season and could use some pieces for the future. Tulowitzki is 30 years old and has battled injuries in recent seasons, so trading him in a year where he has managed to stay healthy could be perfect timing, but it would clearly require a major haul to convince them to move their face of the franchise. The impact on the fanbase must be considered.
Barring a change of heart from the Rockies, the Mets appear likely to move ahead with Ruben Tejada as their primary shortstop. Wilmer Flores has been playing second base in recent weeks, but he’ll likely move into a part-time role after the acquisitions of Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe on Friday. Johnson is starting at second base on Saturday with Daniel Murphy at third.