YAO : Mets Sign Mackowiak

No, the Mets did not sign Chinese giant Yao Ming. Though, if Ming can pitch, I might be behind such a deal.

Rather, the Mets signed Yet Another Outfielder, Rob Mackowiak (muh-KOE-vee-ack), most recently of the Washington Nationals.

There was a time that Mackowiak had some punch — he blasted 16 homeruns in 348 ABs in 2002, then 17 HRs in 491 ABs in 2004. Strangely enough, his power reduced significantly after turning 29 and after MLB started aggressively testing for PEDs. Before you jump to conclusions, I am not by any means suggesting that Mackowiak took PEDs; rather, I’m simply pointing out that he hasn’t hit well since passing the age that most players enjoy their physical prime (27-30).

Truth is, I’ve always been a fan of Mackowiak’s hustle, hard-nosed play, and team-first approach. He has played every position on the field without embarrassing himself except pitcher, shortstop, and catcher. He’s not a defensive asset at any position, but he’s a decent fill-in. At this point in his career, though, he probably shouldn’t be playing second base or centerfield; he’s more of a corner guy. You might consider him “Ty Wigginton Lite”.

If he doesn’t hit, he doesn’t have much value. While I like Mackowiak and would like to see him play for the big club, this is a strange acquisition. He’s a lefthanded hitter whose main value would be as a pinch-hitter, which adds him to a pile that includes Jeremy Reed, Marlon Anderson, Angel Pagan, Cory Sullivan, and Alex Cora. Of course, it’s a minor-league deal so no worries about him pushing someone more valuable off the 40-man roster. I like the idea of having him stocked in AAA …. but I would’ve preferred to have had him about four years ago.

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. murph January 26, 2009 at 5:36 am
    The fact that a 53rd round draft choice makes it to the majors tells me that this guys hustles.

    Since teams started going with 12-man pitching staffs, the 5 bench players have to be as versatile as possible, hence guys like Mackowiak can get signed despite hitting .132 last year.

  2. Tandy3 January 26, 2009 at 10:39 am
    I like the last 2 low-key moves the Mets have made, this and the Garcia minor-league contract.

    Even though the Mets have a panoply of bench-types, the best the GM can do is to keep lighting fires under them and see who jumps the highest. At best you get an overachiever who hits a streak and wins a few games for you.

    As for Garcia, here’s a low-risk, low-cost, high-upside pickup that tantalizes. The guy is obviously a competitor and knows how to win, if healthy. That’s a small “if” for the Mets, with the guilt-free nature of the contract.

  3. joe January 26, 2009 at 11:03 am

    How may baseball blogs have visitors who throw around such sophisticated rhetoric?

    Nice comment.

  4. Tandy3 January 26, 2009 at 12:10 pm
    I would go so far as to say that the Mets have a PLETHORA of lefty pine-riders.
  5. Schmidtxc January 29, 2009 at 9:54 am
    I have no problem seeing the mets spend minimal dollars on minor league deals. Even if none of these guys pan out, I think it looks like we’re giving Buffalo a good roster to keep them happy. This also lets some of the kids take their time at the low levels, and develop as they need too.