Mets Go Above and Beyond and Sign Below

Despite already going into Port St. Lucie with at least a half-dozen LOOGY candidates, the Mets added another lefthanded reliever to the organization by signing Duane Below to a minor league contract.

However, Below was NOT invited to big-league spring training, so he’ll most likely start the 2015 season in AAA.

This news may not seem important, but there have been so few moves made by the Mets this winter that ANY transaction makes waves.

By the way I have no recollection of seeing Duane Below. According to the stats, he’s pitched in 43 big-league games — 41 with the Detroit Tigers. The other two appearances came in a Marlins uniform in 2013. Below has spent most of minor-league career as a starter, with mixed success. In 2007 he was the Tigers’ minor league pitcher of the year, and was something of a strikeout artist (369 strikeouts in 361 innings from 2006 to 2009) but had Tommy John surgery in 2009. After returning from surgery, his K rate dropped significantly but his walk rate dropped as well. He’s considered to be a strike-thrower with average stuff and “a good feel for pitching” (which generally means changing location and speed to keep batters off-balance); his fastball is in the upper 80s / low 90s. It sounds like he’s kind of like Pat Misch. In other words, Below is a good fit for filling out the rotation in Las Vegas and providing depth.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. friend February 9, 2015 at 10:11 am
    “This news may not seem important”

    Shouldn’t you have said, “this news may seem ‘below’ the radar”?

    • Joe Janish February 9, 2015 at 10:44 am
      Darn, that was an easy lay-up, wasn’t it?

      Good catch.

  2. Bat February 9, 2015 at 12:40 pm
    I as reading this post thinking “This is relatively unimportant” but then I got to this part of the post:

    “In 2007 (Below) was the Tigers minor league player of the year, and was something of a strikeout artist…but had Tommy John surgery…. After returning from surgery his K rate dropped significantly….”

    This made me stand up and pay attention as this is exactly the type of thing I’m worried about with Harvey.

    I see all of these posts and predictions which basically seem to assume that it’s a foregone conclusion that Harvey will be dominant in 2015.

    Harvey may never be dominant again and if he dominant, it is more likely to be in 2016 or later than 2015.

    • Joe Janish February 9, 2015 at 2:39 pm
      Somewhat similar to the posts and predictions which basically assume that it’s a foregone conclusion that Wilmer Flores will be as good as Jhonny Peralta or Ian Desmond?


      You know you’re preaching to the choir here, right? I mean, there’s a feature article attached to a big photo of Harvey at the very top of the homepage of this site. It’s here, if you missed it:

      It’s not just about the odds and how long it took other pitchers to recover from TJ surgery — it’s about the fact that the Mets chose to throw the standard medical prescription for recovery in the trash and made up their own timetable. How can you have any kind of idea how someone will respond from an injury when you create an entirely new, unproven recovery process — that was put together by a group of laypeople rather than scientists?

  3. MATT February 10, 2015 at 9:42 pm
    More like Duane “Below” Replacement! Seriously, he was worth -0.2 WAR last season.