The Mets have rid themselves of Guillermo Mota and may have helped their catching situation at the same time. Mota was acquired at the trade deadline during the 2006 when Duaner Sanchez was hurt in a taxi accident in Miami and had a pretty good run for the remainder of the season. During the off season he was suspended for 50 for using a banned substance which he later admitted was steroids. The Mets signed him to a 2 year deal anyway and after serving his suspension he pitched in 52 games posting a 5.76 ERA. But with Sanchez, who sat out the 2007 season with an unrelated injury, slated to return and all the bad press it was clearly time to send Mota packing.
Last night the Mets found a taker for the troubled reliever in the Milwaukee Brewers and got catcher Johnny Estrada in the process. Estrada is a former all star who had a bad year that he blamed on bone spurs in his right elbow. Last month he had surgery to remove the bone spurs as well as arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and is expected to be ready for spring training. He became available due to the Brewers intent on signing free agent catcher Jason Kendall.
The great thing about this trade is how the Mets managed to fill a need while ridding themselves of a problem (as well as the $3.2 million left on his contract) and not giving up any bargaining chips that could be used for pitching. It also makes sense to settle the catching position before acquiring pitching because having a good receiver makes the team look more attractive to prospective battery mates.
The move does not preclude the Mets acquiring another catcher to fill the position. Estrada is arbitration eligible and should the Mets trade for another front line catcher, such as Baltimore’s Ramon Hernandez, the Mets could simply non tender Estrada making him a free agent. If this happens the Mets will not owe Mota or Estrada any money. In this way Estrada is an insurance policy. It’s like Omar Minaya is saying let’s keep this guy in our back pocket and see if we could do any better. Worst case scenario this move gets rid of a PR nightmare in Mota.
This is definitely a win-win deal for the Mets.