As spring training winds down, more and more players will become available. A few somewhat interesting players have already hit the waiver wire, and can be had for a song.
First, Javy Lopez has retired, rather than take a demotion to AAA. He looked OK, not great, when I saw him, and one must question whether his career highs were the benefit of “something extra”. It’s sort of too bad he’s retired, as the Mets *might* have considered him as a backup catcher, first baseman, and RH hitter off the bench — particularly with the hamstring problems hampering Brian Schneider and Ramon Castro. It’s probably just as well, as Lopez wouldn’t be any better than, say, Mike Piazza, and I think we’d all rather see Piazza return for a swan song at Shea than Lopez.
Here at MetsToday we briefly considered Morgan Ensberg; however he has just been added to the Yankees’ 40-man roster so we’ll presume he’ll either break camp with the Bombers or accept a minor league assignment. That could mean OF-1B Jason Lane will soon be available — not a terrible option.
The Padres have released OF Jeff DaVanon and C / 1B / OF Robert Fick. DaVanon was a borderline slugger before PED testing began. Fick would be an absolutely PERFECT fit for the Mets if he batted righthanded instead of left. I doubt either player are of interest at this point.
The Cubs sent LHP Neal Cotts to the minors. Cotts had a marvelous 2005 (1.94 ERA in 70 games) but has been awful ever since. He’s only 28 and could still bounce back … but it likely makes more sense for the Cubbies to keep him stashed in AAA than trade him away.
The Astros reassigned both Victor Diaz and J.R. House, and neither fit into Houston’s plans. My guess is the Mets have no interest in bringing back Diaz, though I always liked his bat. House is a RH-hitting catcher / first baseman who has hit well at every level but the bigs — he hit .298 last season in AAA and .345 in 2006. The Astros do not have a lefthander in their bullpen, so could use a guy like, say, Scott Schoeneweis. How about The Show for Diaz and House?
BTW, the Toronto Blue Jays have NOT placed OF Reed Johnson on waivers (yet), according to the Globe and Mail. I’m still trying to figure out the fascination with this guy, who is a slightly younger version of Brady Clark — except that he gets injured and strikes out a lot more often. The Jays likely will cut either Johnson or Shannon Stewart, and everyone is still wondering why Stewart was signed in the first place. While I don’t condone the addition of Stewart, I have this funny feeling that the Mets will jump on him if he’s available, for no other reason than he is a “name” veteran. Time will tell.
Interestingly, the Dodgers are “scrambling for infield help“, with the injuries to Jeff Kent and Nomar Garciaparra. The Mets may not have a spot for Ruben Gotay — sadly — so he could be a good fit for LA. Some readers here have mentioned Jason Repko as someone who might help the Mets, but he missed all of 2007 with a torn hamstring and is playing through a quad injury this spring. He’s only 27 and is a decent hitter, but like the aforementioned Reed Johnson, Repko’s skillset and value doesn’t project to be any better than Brady Clark’s. Repko still has options, which is an attractive trait — though teammate Delwyn Young does not. Young looks like he could be a fine hitter but again, is he an upgrade over Clark? IMHO, Young has more pop than Repko so he projects to be more valuable — but the fact he can’t be optioned down is a negative. Still, I could easily see a Gotay-Young deal go down (much as I’d prefer to see Ruben stay with the Mets).
Happy Easter !