NEW YORK -- The Mets acknowledged their need for relief pitching and their interest in having Guillermo Mota and Roberto Hernandez fill voids in their bullpen on Friday when they offered salary arbitration to the two free-agent pitchers.
Although the Mets knew Hernandez was likely to sign with the Indians -- the deal was made official on Saturday afternoon -- they offered arbitration to the veteran reliever who pitched with them in 2005 and returned to do so again on July 31. Since he signed elsewhere, they are now due compensation.
The club has greater interest in re-signing Mota even though he will be unavailable for the first 50 games of the 2007 season, his penalty for violating the substance abuse policy.
It is because of Mota's suspension, the departure of free agent Chad Bradford and uncertainty about Duaner Sanchez -- he just has resumed throwing after undergoing shoulder surgery in August -- that prompted the club's interest in retaining Hernandez.
The Mets declined to offer arbitration to the remaining unsigned free agents who ended their 2006 seasons with the Mets -- Cliff Floyd, Steve Trachsel, Darren Oliver and Chris Woodward.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.