Instead, they traded right-handed pitchers Henry Owens and Matt Lindstrom. And instead of Dontrelle Willis, they acquired Jason Vargas and Adam Bostick, both 23 years old, both left-handed, neither the caliber of starting pitcher they need.
"We think Vargas and Bostick are two promising left-handed pitchers, and we're happy to have them in the organization," Mets general manager Omar Minaya said Monday just before he announced that the club had decided not to exercise its option on the contract of Tom Glavine.
Minaya said the two new pitchers add to the Mets' depth, but he said nothing of filling the voids left in the rotation caused by the injury to Pedro Martinez, the departure of free agent Steve Trachsel and the possible defection -- to the Braves -- of Glavine.
Vargas, who began the 2006 season in the Marlins' rotation, had a 6-7 record and 5.25 ERA in two seasons, 29 appearances -- 18 starts -- with Florida. He produced a 1-1 record and 5.70 ERA in five starts in 2006, allowing 24 hits and 20 walks, while striking out 14 in 24 2/3 innings. As a reliever, his numbers were 0-1 with a 9.31 ERA, 26 hits, 10 walks and 11 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings.
He also started 13 games at Triple-A Albuquerque in 2006, producing a 3-6 record and a 7.43 ERA. He has appeared in four games and has not allowed a run in 6 1/3 innings, with two walks and five strikeouts in the Dominican Winter League.
Bostick split the 2006 season with Double-A Carolina and Albuquerque. In Carolina, he pitched 115 innings, allowing 100 hits, 67 walks and striking out 109. His ERA was 3.52. With Albuquerque, he allowed 39 hits, 13 walks and compiled 30 strikeouts. His ERA was 4.67.
Owens, 26, made four appearances with the Mets in 2006 after an impressive Spring Training and effective work at Double-A Binghamton. He was named to Team USA's 24-man roster that won the Gold Medal in the 2006 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Havana, Cuba.
Lindstrom, also 26, started the year with the Class A St. Lucie Mets of the Florida State League before being promoted to Binghamton, where he spent the majority of the year.
Owens and Lindstrom were traded less than a week after the Mets moved two other older relievers, Heath Bell and Royce Ring, in a deal with the Padres that imported reliever Jon Adkins and outfielder Ben Johnson.
The Mets also claimed right-handed relief pitcher Jason Standridge from the Reds on Monday. Standridge, who had a 1-1 record and 4.82 ERA in 21 games with the Reds in 2006, was assigned to the 40-man roster and invited to Spring Training.
A first-round pick of the Devil Rays in the 1997 First-Year Player Draft, he began the 2006 season with Triple-A Louisville. His contract was purchased on June 19, and he was assigned on the disabled list on Aug. 7 because of back spasms. He rejoined the Reds in September.
Standridge had appeared in 21 games with the Rays from 2001-2004, and in two games with the Rangers in 2005.
Overall, he has a 3-4 record and a 5.64 ERA in 76 big-league appearances, including nine starts. In 119 2/3 innings, Standridge has allowed 140 hits and 69 walks, while striking out 74.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.