RH Sluggers Available
We know the Mets are not going to add any position players to their roster, but there’s still a major, glaring void — a righthanded-hitting outfielder with home run power. This week, a two players filling that description became available. Let’s take a quick look at them and a few others.
In a shocking move, the Tigers ate $14M to rid themselves of the surly slugger. Sheffield’s character and clubhouse presence has often come into question, but was generally accepted when he was hitting 35+ homeruns a year. However, injuries and age have affected his performance in the past two years, and many think he’s done. Sheff has looked healthy thus far this year, and he claims his shoulder is fine. His numbers have been terrible this spring, but he’s never been much of a March hitter. His arm issues suggest his future is only as a DH, but who knows? His bat speed is still there, and I think his reputation as a “clubhouse cancer” is overblown. The guy can flat-out hit and is more of a team player than he’s given credit for. Watch the Phillies pick him up.
[UPDATE: about an hour and a half after I wrote that last sentence, an article appeared on Phillies.com reporting “Phillies Release Jenkins; eye Sheff?”]
Wily Mo Pena
Pena was placed on waivers by the Nationals on Saturday; any claiming team would assume his $2M contract (which is $200K less than Tim Redding’s). No one is going to claim him, and when he clears, he’ll have the option to report to AAA or become a free agent. If he chooses the latter, why not take a chance? The cost is the MLB minimum salary, and he just turned 27 — the age many hitters begin to mature. Yes, three organizations have given up on him in the past three years, but that had more to do with him being out of options rather than a lack of talent. The guy does a lot of swinging and missing, but he can also mash. The Mets do not have ANY RH hitter in their organization with his raw power.
Other Available Free Agents
The LOOGY is back out on the market after being released for the second time this spring. He had a terrible season last year — an ERA near 9.00 — but did hold LH hitters to a .200 batting average and a .257 OBP. Plus, he’s never pitched in the National League, which gives him another slight advantage. I like his upside better than Ken Takahashi’s.
Another available LOOGY. No thanks.
A solid “catch and throw” backup catcher, meaning, he can’t hit. Pass.
If Luis Castillo didn’t look so good this spring, Giles might have been worth taking a look at. Pass.
I like Ensberg a lot, love the way he approaches the game, he’s a righthanded hitter who can play multiple positions and once blasted 36 homeruns. However, his offensive production dropped significantly after turning 30 (and after MLB started testing and suspending for PEDs). Pass.
He appeared in 56 games for the Giants last year and posted a 4.56 ERA. Pass.
He’s a lefty, he’s had past success, and he was lights out against the Mets on one fine June evening two years ago, but he hasn’t been the same since early 2006, thanks to an array of injuries to his arms and legs. Even when he was healthy, he wasn’t especially effective against LH hitters, so he doesn’t figure to have a future as a LOOGY — much less a starter. It may be the end of the road for Maroth, which is too bad, as he was a fun guy to root for. Pass.