Walking across the hotel lobby, New York Mets manager Terry Collins smiled.
"We rebuilt our bullpen in one day," he said.
In a rapid-fire series of moves at the winter meetings that took 1 ½ days to put together and 1 ½ hours to finalize, the Mets agreed to trade centre-fielder Angel Pagan to San Francisco for outfielder Andres Torres and pitcher Ramon Ramirez, and reached agreements with free-agent relievers Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch.
Francisco gets a two-year, $12 million US contract while Rauch receives a one-year deal worth $3.5 million. He can earn an additional $500,000 in performance bonuses.
"Good, solid arms," Collins said. "We've got some depth now."
While the trade had not yet been officially announced and the free-agent deals had not been finalized, Collins was beaming as he headed upstairs to congratulate general manager Sandy Alderson.
"No disrespect to our guys," Collins said, "but we couldn't stop some teams. I think we can now."
Francisco, the likely closer, spent six seasons with the Texas Rangers before he was traded to Toronto last winter for catcher Mike Napoli. The 32-year-old right-hander had 17 saves in 21 chances for the Blue Jays, going 1-4 with a 3.55 ERA.
Rauch also was with the Blue Jays, and the 33-year-old right-hander was 5-4 with 11 saves in 16 chances and a 4.85 ERA. He has 85 big league saves in a career that includes time with the Chicago White Sox, Montreal-Washington, Arizona and Minnesota, including a career-high 21 for the Twins in 2010.
Ramirez, a 30-year-old right-hander, was 3-3 with a 2.62 ERA this year. He held right-handed hitters to a .203 average and lefties to a .240 mark.
"I know one thing: He gets lefties out. He's got the good sinker," Collins said. "We're going to be able to spread out all the workload."
New York's bullpen had a 4.33 ERA last season, 28th among the 30 major league teams, ahead of only Minnesota (4.47) and Houston (4.49). Following the trade of Francisco Rodriguez to Milwaukee at the all-star break, Jason Isringhausen closed until he got his 300th save, then Bobby Parnell took over and faltered. Manny Acosta also got some chances.
"We knew we had to get some bullpen help here," Collins said. "I was all onboard the way Sandy's approach was, hey, look, let's not go spend it all on one guy. Let's spread it out and get some depth. I'm shocked how he made it all fit."
The moves were the first for the Mets since all-star shortstop Jose Reyes agreed Sunday to a $106 million, six-year contract with the Miami Marlins, a deal that could be finalized Wednesday.
It was unclear entering the off-season whether the Mets would offer a 2012 contract to Pagan, who made $3.5 million this year and is eligible for salary arbitration in his final season before free agency.
"We're going to miss Angel. Played great here," Collins said. "But again, our target was to rebuild the bullpen and he was a piece that they wanted badly."
Pagan was a frequent fill-in for mentor Carlos Beltran in recent seasons until taking over the everyday job in centre this year. Beltran shifted to right in spring training before he was traded to the Giants in late July.
A switch-hitter with speed, Pagan hit .262 with seven homers and 56 RBIs this year, down from .290 with 11 homers and 69 RBIs in 2010.
Torres, who turns 34 next month, batted .221 with four homers and 19 RBIs, down considerably from the Giants' World Series championship year of 2010, when he hit .268 with 16 homers and 63 RBIs. He is not eligible for free agency until after the 2013 season.
"Speed guy, can give us the leadoff spot and a quality defender," Collins said.