January 9, 2009

Redding in Blue?

Newsday says Los Mets are on the verge of signing ex-Nats starter Tim Redding to a 1-year, $2.25M contract. Washington cut Redding loose in December to avoid going to arbitration with him, and then signed ex-Oriole Daniel Cabrera for $2.6M.

Getting Redding on a one year, sub-$2.5M deal is a solid signing, though it's arguably less than what Tim would have made in arbitration. (We'll have a better idea once the arbitration offers start coming in.) Maybe the Nats know something about Redding that no one else does. He did crash hard at the end of last season, but he was also dealing with a foot injury. If he bounces back to early 2008 form Trader Jim looks like an idiot... again.

Nevertheless, the team has had some success with the, "Churn through inexpensive free agents, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle and trade them or recoup some draft picks," approach to filling out the staff. From Esteban Loiaza in 2005 to Pedro Astacio, Brian Lawrence, Redding, Odalis Perez and now Cabrera and Gustavo Chacin, the idea has never been to build around these guys, but to milk them for a league average season or two and then sell them to slaughter. There have been some spectacular failures (Lawrence, Jason Simontacchi, Jerome Williams) but the Nats have gotten some valuable performances from retreads on minor league NRIs over the last few seasons.

Hopefully D-Cab can outperform Redding, which would both A) increase Cabrera's value and B) make the Mets look dumb. But I won't be terribly surprised if Tim has at least one more league average 5th starter season in him. It just had to be the Mets, didn't it?

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