Veteran Bats Moving Fast
Only a few days ago we discussed various possibilities for the Mets’ bench, focusing on righthanded batters who ideally play 1B, OF, and/or catcher.
Since then, several veterans have been scooped up, including many mentioned here (by me and you). Hat tip to Walnutz on some of these.
Herewith a roundup of recent last-minute signings and ST invites:
Mike Sweeney (Athletics)
Once again Billy Beane grabs a vet with an excellent bat on the cheap. Sweeney accepted a minor league deal with an ST invite and the “opportunity” to back up Jack Cust, Dan Johnson, and Daric Barton at DH / 1B. Looking at that situation, maybe he would have been OK backing up Carlos Delgado and putting on the catcher’s gear once in a while for a team focused on the postseason. Who knows, Delgado may slump and the Mets may decide to overbuy at the trading deadline for Sweeney.
Tony Clark (Padres)
Clark returns to his home in San Diego for $900K and remains in the NL West, a division he knows well. He was too tall for the Mets anyway.
Craig Wilson (Reds)
The OF/C struggled with the bat the last two years due to injury, but claims he’s now healthy. He accepted a minor league deal with ST invite. According to Ken Rosenthal:
The Mets, looking for an inexpensive, right-handed hitting outfielder, considered free agent Craig Wilson before he signed a minor-league contract with the Reds.
The team does not believe Shannon Stewart or Kevin Mench would provide adequate insurance if Moises Alou were injured â€” Stewart has a below-average arm and Mench is a below-average defender.
Mench is expected to sign a minor-league deal with the Rangers.
Chris Woodward (Yankees)
The Yanks invite the hairless utlityman to spring training. There wasn’t any talk of him returning to Shea, but his hard play and strong fundamentals made him something of a fan favorite while with the Mets, so thought I’d mention it.
Eric Hinske (Rays)
Hinske took an ST invite to fight for a spot on the Tampa Bay roster. He was a lefty bat and strikes out a lot so not much interest for the Mets, but worth noting.
Juan Gonzalez (Cardinals)
Yes, THAT Juan Gonzalez. Glad the Mets didn’t so much as kick the tires on this one.
Sean Casey (Red Sox)
Again, a lefthanded bat, but worth noting. He’s a good fit for the Bosox.
Pitchers Picked Up
Victor Zambrano (Rockies)
Colorado pitching coach Bob Apodaca (former Met as well) says he can fix this guy in NINE minutes.
Mike Lincoln (Reds)
This guy had a couple of good years as a middle reliever, then his ERA doubled and hasn’t been seen in the bigs since 2004.
Brendan Donnelly (Indians)
Once a lights-out setup man, Donnelly had Tommy John surgery this past August and was named in the Mitchell Report but still found an ST invite. Shows you how desperate teams are to find bullpen help.
Sean Burnett (Pirates)
The Bucs DFA’d Burnett, no one claimed him, and they re-signed him to a minor league deal. I still think he would have been worth stashing in AAA, but we’ll see what he does this spring.
Josh Towers (Rockies)
Glad he signed with the Rockies because it means he didn’t sign with the Mets. In the mold of Adam Eaton / Josh Fogg, except he’s not even that good.
Matt DeSalvo (Braves)
Nothing interesting here, other than he was with the Yanks so you probably heard of him.
Mike Maroth (Royals)
At first glance, I thought he might be a good choice for AAA depth, but he’s most likely the lefthanded version of Brian Lawrence — except he throws a bit slower.
Scott Elarton (Indians)
The eternal enigma, Elarton gives the Indians a chance to look stupid.
If you are interested, here are a few of the free agents still waiting for an ST invite:
– Sammy Sosa
– Antonio Alfonseca
– Bartolo Colon
– Armando Benitez
– Tony Batista
– Kris Benson
– Russell Branyan
– Shawn Chacon
– Jeff Cirillo
– Kyle Lohse
– Shawn Green
– Livan Hernandez
– Jason Tyner
– Mike Piazza
– Aaron Sele
– Jeff Weaver
– David Wells
There are others … but the names don’t get much prettier.