The Dodgers today announced that they have traded infielder Chin-Lung Hu to the New York Mets for minor league left-handed pitcher Michael Antonini. This was expected, as Hu was out of options and figured to be a long shot to make the major league team in spring training. At the very least, this move clears a spot on the 40-man roster, which now has 39 players.
Hu had sips of coffee in each of the last four seasons, hitting .191/.241/.283 at the major league level in 191 plate appearances. He saw his most time in 2008, filling in for the injured Rafael Furcal, but hit just .181/.252/.233 in 65 games. Hu's calling card is his defense, and his prospect luster shone brightest in 2007, when he put up an .871 OPS splitting time between Double A Jacksonville and Triple A Las Vegas. However, he combined for a rather mediocre .735 OPS in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League from 2008-2010.
Antonini was drafted by the Mets in the 18th round in 2007, and he split time in 2010 between Double A and Triple A in his age 24 season. In 29 starts last year, he was 8-12 with a 4.49 ERA between Binghamton and Buffalo. In his minor league career, Antonini has walked 2.1 batters per nine innings while striking out 7.0 per nine. Antonini has started 84 of his 96 career minor league games, including starting 79 of his 84 games in the last three seasons. Antonini will have to be added to the 40-man roster after next season to protect from losing him in the Rule 5 draft, if the Dodgers are so inclined.
Eric Simon of Amazin Avenue had this to say of Antonini:
Antonini is a finesse lefty with good control but little in the way of strikeout prowess. If he were a ground ball pitcher then he might be a poor man’s Jon Niese, but he’s a fly ball pitcher and overall not very projectable.