End of the Line for Alomar

Finally, mercifully, "The Great Hall of Fame Second Baseman Experiment" has been terminated. The Mets sent Roberto Alomar packing on Tuesday afternoon, dealing the 35 year old to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for three prospects. For Met fans, this trade couldn't happen fast enough. For Mets interim GM Jim Duquette, this was the first significant step towards cleaning up the mess he inherited from Steve Phillips… and possibly losing the "interim" moniker.

It's been clear for some time that Robbie was headed out of New York faster than a Wall Street broker on a Metro North train. He simply has been embarrassing during his brief - albeit agonizing - stay in the Big Apple. This is a guy who hit .336 as an Indian in 2001, to go along with 20 homers and 100 RBI's. Not only did he hit 70 points lower last year, he had half as many dingers and half as many runs driven in.

Given a chance to redeem himself this season, Alomar has responded with - surprise! - a whopping .262 average over 263 at bats. And power? Forget about power. He's on pace for 5 homers and 44 RBI's. This guy has not been Alomar, he's been a Malomar.

According to the Mets' web site, New York receives pitchers Royce Ring and Edwin Almonte, as well as middle infielder Andrew Salvo. Ring is a 22 year old lefthander, and was Chicago's first pick in the 2002 draft. He was 1-4 with 19 saves and a 2.52 ERA for the White Sox Double-A affiliate at Birmingham. He is scheduled to report to Binghamton of the Eastern League (AA).

Almonte is a 26 year old righty who will head to Norfolk. He was 2-6 with a 6.88 ERA and 14 saves for Triple-A Charlotte of the International League. More importantly, he's accumulated 76 saves over the last three seasons. Last year he finished 2-3 with a 2.24 ERA, and led the International League with 26 saves. While time will tell whether he has the stuff to be a big league closer, Almonte's acquisition may make it easier should the Mets decide to move Armando Benitez.

Salvo was hitting .223 with one home run and 6 RBI through 42 games of A ball in the White Sox organization. He's a career .273 hitter over three minor league seasons, and it's unlikely that he'll be an impact player for the Mets.

Duquette's first trade appears to have been a steal for New York. Alomar is a free agent at the end of this year, and the Mets would have signed John Rocker before they brought Alomar back. And the money was as good as paid. Either way, the Metropolitans were going to cough up another $4 million or so, and then wave goodbye. This way, they (1) get to waive goodbye sooner and (2) get three prospects who may help the rebuilding process in Flushing.

If you close your eyes you can just picture Duquette going through the "To Do" list in his head…

"1. Dump Alomar (check)"
"2. Move Benitez"
"3. Unload Burnitz"

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