The New York Mets made their first offseason/winter meetings move Tuesday night, agreeing on a one-year contract with 6-foot-10 right hander Jon Rauch, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The deal is worth $3.5 million, according to MLB Network Radio's Jim Duquette and includes performance bonuses.
Entering the winter meetings, general manager Sandy Alderson made it clear that the team would look to add some back-end pieces to the bullpen to fill the eighth- and ninth-inning roles. The Daily News' Andy Martino, suspects the team will add "at least one more reliever" and Sherman said they'd like to add "one more closer-type." The two would then compete for the closer's role, leaving someone like Bobby Parnell, who has the stuff suited for the role but hasn't shown the command, to the seventh inning.
Rauch is coming off a season in which he had a 4.85 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and 11 saves in 16 opportunities with the Toronto Blue Jays. He logged 52 innings, giving up 56 hits, walking 14 and striking out 36. Rauch is kind of in the Chris Young (pitcher) mold: Despite his great size, he doesn't throw hard, but uses the high arm angle and that deception to get guys out. The righty will touch 90 miles per hour, has a fastball, slider, change up and curveball. He's not really your typical late-inning guy in that he will not blow anybody away and pitches to contact. He's also fly-ball guy, allowing 50 percent of them -- 13 percent went for home runs -- last season.
It's not a fancy signing by any means, but Rauch has a decent, yet unspectacular track record: 3.82 ERA and 1.25 WHIP, and he has closing experience, having locked down 21 games with the Minnesota Twins in 2010 and 18 with the Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008