The Mets lost one pitcher late Sunday night for the rest of the season and compensated on Monday by making a deal for two new ones before the 4 P.M. trading deadline. Duaner Sanchez seperated his right shoulder in a car accident after the Mets arrived in South Florida last night forcing Omar Minaya to make the second trade for a New York team with the salary shedding Pirates. Ex-Met Roberto Hernandez and would-be Pirate rotation ace Oliver Perez are heading to Queens in exchange for the outfielder Xavier Nady.
Sanchez was riding in a cab near the team's hotel at the time of the accident. One must be thankful that the only injury Sanchez suffered was a (relatively) minor one but for Met fans it's the silver lining to a very grey cloud. The hard-throwing righty has been a rock in the Met bullpen with a 5-1 record, 2.60 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 55 innings. His role will likely be taken up by Hernandez, a 41 year-old ubervet with ample experience as a closer and set-up man. In fact he has experience in this exact role, filling it with aplomb for the Amazins a year ago before leaving the team as a free agent in the offseason.
Perez's role is less clear at this point. He was demoted to AAA a month ago with a dismal 2-10 record and 6.63 ERA. The lefty is just 24 and was considered to be the Pirates best pitcher as recently as last season so the team may give him a shot in the back of the rotation and give Mike Pelfrey a little more time to develop. Nady will likely be replaced by Lastings Milledge and Endy Chavez in rightfield. He's played well for the Mets since coming over from San Diego last winter, with 14 home runs and a .264 average in 265 at-bats. Without Sanchez's injury Minaya may not have moved forward with this deal but he dealt from strength to make a move that both replaces Sanchez and may have a bigger benefit if Perez can put his game back together.