The 30-year-old right-hander was acquired from the Mariners last season and never saw action with the Phils. He is awaiting trail on charges that he assaulted his wife in a Manhattan hotel back in May.
According to police, Mateo hit wife, Aurea, in the eye, choked her and bit her lip after she told him she wanted out of the marriage. Afterward, the Mariners suspended Mateo 10 days without pay and demoted him to the minors. They later placed him on the inactive list for three weeks while undergoing counseling. Determined to unload him, the Phillies obliged, sending minor league utility man Jesus Merchan to Seattle for the troubled reliever. Unable to be sent to Ottawa because of his pending U.S. trial, Mateo was sent to Double-A Reading, where he finished the season in the R-Phils' bullpen. Mateo's release opens up a spot on the 40-man roster.
Beerleaguer: Mateo would have been a serviceable reliever for the Phils, but if it was that simple, he would have been up with the club the final two months of 2007, and would be in their plans for next season. Acquiring him so soon after the Brett Myers situation obviously set a poor precedent. One would speculate the higher powers, fearing another backlash, never allowed Mateo to see the light of day.
Mateo is up for arbitration around the time of his newest trial date. There's just no way any of this was going to work. Mateo is pitching this winter in the Dominican, and pitching well (I still don't understand how it's possible for Mateo to be out of the country. Hopefully, tomorrow's articles shed some light on the situation). As for Merchan, the player they traded, he's a six-year minor league free agent, free to sign with any club.
Just another dubious chapter in the annals of Phillies history.