How About Jose Canseco?

Many Mets fans are lamenting the lack of a big-time player acquisition this winter, which is due to the Mets’ limited finances. The team just doesn’t have the money nor the wherewithal to bring in someone who can make an impact in 2011.

Or do they?

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the Mets need to think out of the box. How about signing Jose Canseco?

When you’re done laughing, consider the following:

- Jose was a central figure in Sandy Alderson’s success as a GM in Oakland
- Canseco is one of the few available hitters who can make Citi Field’s dimensions seem small
- His presence will sell tickets
- He’ll come cheap; likely he’ll play for the MLB minimum

Of course, Jose has his negatives — age being the most concerning. But advanced age didn’t prevent the Mets from hiring Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins, did it? Both of those men were hired because they had experience, and previous success at the MLB level — two things that Jose also has. And before you say it’s crazy to sign a 46-year-old free agent, remember the Mets did exactly that on this day in 2005, when the Mets inked Julio Franco to a 2-year, $2.2M contract. Hopefully I don’t need to remind you that the last time the Mets made it to the postseason was 2006, with Franco appearing in 90 games as one of their top players off the bench and a calming influence in the clubhouse.

There is some concern as to whether Jose can still play the field (some may argue he was never able to play the field), but I’m not suggesting that the Mets make him an everyday player; and can he really be much worse in a corner OF position than Fernando Tatis?

As for the steroid thing — which I’m sure has been on your mind since reading the headline of this post — perhaps you are not aware that Jose Canseco stopped taking steroids in 2008, and has been clean ever since. Of course we don’t know for certain whether he can still swing a bat with as much power as he had when he was juiced, but what is the harm in giving him a tryout to find out? If it turns out he can still hit, sign him to a minor-league contract, invite him to spring training, and see what happens. At worst, he gets cut. At best, the Mets get a very cheap, big-name slugger who will put fannies in the seats.

Is there a bigger name, or a bigger bat, currently available for a lower cost?

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. Paul December 12, 2010 at 4:04 pm
    Did anybody go to CitiField in 2009 to watch Gary Sheffield?

    Canseco might be able to put fans in the seats in Oakland, but he’s not going to have much impact for the Mets. He’d just give bloggers and media people something to talk about for a few days.

    • Joe Janish December 12, 2010 at 5:06 pm
      Actually, I found the Mets more interesting after acquiring Sheffield, but that’s neither here nor there. Sheffield did not have nearly the cachet and universal interest that Canseco would bring. There haven’t been any A&E specials on Sheffield, for example.

      And even if it’s only for a few days, I think the Mets will need something interesting for the beat writers and bloggers to talk about. This shoestring budget nonsense is going to get old real quick for the casual fan.

      • Andy December 12, 2010 at 5:08 pm
        What? The Mets had no casual fans in 1980?
        • Joe Janish December 12, 2010 at 5:25 pm
          There was no $600M ballpark to fill in 1980.
  2. Jay December 12, 2010 at 4:45 pm
    Well kudos your headline made me look.

    I consider you smarter than this Mr. Janish. Reading this is akin to someone who I admire and respect telling me they believe in ghosts or make plans exclusively according to their daily horoscope.

    Is their a bigger name available at a lower cost? Probably not. But if I’m going to completely waste a roster spot (on someone other than Oliver Perez) I’d rather do it on someone who’s been in the major leagues more recently than 2001. Franco is an apt comparison only if one willfully ignores the fact he had not been out of the majors for a decade before the Mets signed him.

    Outside the box is one thing, ludicrous is another.

    • Joe Janish December 12, 2010 at 5:08 pm
      Canseco has been out of MLB as long as Terry Collins, and who cares how long he’s been out if he can still hit the ball a country mile?

      Ludicrous it may be, but also ludicrous is the claim by the Mets that they can only spend about $5M this winter.

  3. Andy December 12, 2010 at 5:07 pm
    I usually appreciate your humor, Joe, but I’m not sure where you’re going with this one.
  4. Scott December 12, 2010 at 8:23 pm
    Why Canseco? One of the 5 best players of all time is sitting on his couch dying to hit:

    Bring in Barry.

    • Joe Janish December 12, 2010 at 10:40 pm
      Goldwater? Believe me, I would if I could — he’s the one man who had a clue as to how to fix this country. Unfortunately he’s been dead over 10 years.

      Oh wait you mean Barry BONDS. Right. No thanks. First of all, Barry Bonds is an *. Secondly, he’s boring. Third, he still hasn’t admitted to using steroids and/or HGH. My idea of Canseco may be crazy but at least Jose is genuine, interesting, and honest. In other words, someone I can root for. There’s no way I can ever root for Barroid Bonds. And that’s the bottom line here — a story. The Mets are going nowhere in 2011, so performance is secondary. Fans need some kind of motivation to watch a team destined to lose.

  5. Kenny December 12, 2010 at 11:43 pm
    Haha! Great post!

    For those that missed it, Joe is saying (I think) that Sandy Alderson’s allegedly impressive resume is built on Jose’s acned back. And Terry Collins was less qualified to manage than Jose is to have an ST tryout with the Mets this March.

    Jose may suck, but so do the Mets!

  6. gary s. December 13, 2010 at 1:02 am
    can he still do the fly ball off his head over the fence for a home run trick?
  7. Tim December 13, 2010 at 1:53 pm
    I think Andy Pettite would fill some seats… thats if the Yankees don’t sign him.
  8. Mark Squire December 15, 2010 at 2:35 pm
    I’d love for the Mets to bring in Canseco. Look, the Mets aren’t going anywhere in 2011. Phillies are a lock for the NL East crown, and the Mets are a LONG shot for the Wild Card. At least seeing Canseco hit 470 foot Home Runs from time to time would give me something to smile about. I’m all for it. Give the man a tryout!
    • EJ December 25, 2010 at 5:28 pm
      Agreed 100%
  9. Walnutz15 December 15, 2010 at 4:00 pm
    Increase Spring Training attendance by signing Jose Canseco.

    Then as the real team takes shape, come to your senses and give the roster spot to someone who can actually play ball.

    Jose’s been mashing softballs for year in Co-Ed Lob Pitch…..let’s get real now.

    This would have even been a stretch in THE AMERICAN LEAGUE in 2003, it’ll be 2011 and to my knowledge, we still play in the NL.

  10. Stu B December 29, 2010 at 11:16 am
    What a stupid concept.