LAS VEGAS - They don't keep standings for the offseason. That's probably just as well for the Phillies. In one dizzying day yesterday, their National League East archrivals, the New York Mets, finalized the signing of closer Francisco Rodriguez to a 3-year, $37 million free-agent contract, then followed that up with a three-team blockbuster early this morning that added former Mariners closer J.J. Putz as a setup man.
K-Rod set a major league record with 62 saves for the Angels.
Putz had 36 saves for Seattle in 2006 and 40 in 2007 before having just 15 last season.
Considering that the Mets were unable to hold a late lead in the division for the second straight year and that a bullpen that blew 29 saves was a big part of that problem, it's not a large leap to suggest that the Mets have at least narrowed the gap with the defending world champions.
"All I kept hearing from Mets fans when I went out to get bagels in the morning was, 'Please address the bullpen,' " said general manager Omar Minaya. "Well, Mets fans, we addressed the bullpen."
Still, it's early. And there was a report on yahoo.com last night that the Phillies were close to signing free agent righthander Chan Ho Park to a free-agent contract.
While Park most likely would go into the bullpen, he also could be used as a starter if necessary. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. could not be reached for comment.
In the meantime, here's the breakdown on the big Mets deal. In addition to Putz, New York received outfielder Jeremy Reed and righthander Sean Green from Seattle.
The rebuilding Mariners got righthander Aaron Heilman, outfielder Endy Chavez and four minor leaguers (first baseman Mike Carp, righthander Maikel Cleto, lefthander Jason Vargas and outfielder Ezekiel Carrera) from the Mets and outfielder Franklin Gutierrez from Cleveland.