NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The fascination Mets general manager Omar Minaya has about college relievers -- see Joe Smith and Chad Cordero -- played out to a degree in the Rule 5 Draft Thursday when the Mets selected a reliever from the roster of the Rockies' Double-A Tulsa affiliate. Right-hander Steve Register stands as the highest-profile addition the Mets made in four days at the Winter Meetings.
They took a modest chance -- they will pay the Rockies $50,000 cash for Register -- on the slender 24-year-old former Auburn closer who was selected in the third round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft and spent his first three years as a professional starting in the Rockies' system.
The Mets are obligated to carry Register on their 25-man roster all season or offer him back to the Rockies for $25,000.
A pitcher with a modest velocity and a modest resume, Register "has a chance" to find work in the Mets' bullpen after leading the Double-A Texas League in saves (37) last season. He had a 1-3 record and a 4.03 ERA in 61 games and 58 innings, allowing 63 hits and 16 walks. He struck out 48. His three-year record as a starter was 19-28, while his ERA in 69 starts was 4.73.
Minaya said Register "throws his breaking ball for strikes. We like the way he competes."
The Rockies had left him unprotected even though they had a vacancy on the 40-player roster because they are hoping to add a big league reliever.
The Mets' Triple-A New Orleans affiliate also selected 24-year-old right-handed pitcher Garry Bakker, who was born in Suffern, N.Y., and resides in nearby Sloatsburg, from the White Sox organization in the Triple-A phase of the Draft. Bakker was rated the No. 1 high school player in New York by Baseball America in 2001.
Bakker had a 2-7 record and a 3.67 ERA in 31 games (11 starts) for Winston-Salem (Class A) of the Carolina League last season. In 83 1/3 innings, he allowed 79 hits and 45 walks and struck out 64. Bakker has a 13-16 record with 11 saves and a 4.60 ERA in 123 games in four years in the Minor Leagues.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.