Williams Clears Waivers

Lefthanded pitcher Dave Williams, who had been designated for assignment by the Mets to make room on the roster for Oliver Perez on July 14th, has cleared waivers already and joined the New Orleans Zephyrs.

Anyone who witnessed his July 8th start can tell you that Williams was not even close to ready when he made his first start of 2007. Williams spent most of March, April, May and June recovering from surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck, and made only three starts — totaling 18 innings — in the minors before his forgettable game with the Mets.

Luckily for the Mets, no one took a chance on the 28-year-old lefty, who once at full strength could be very helpful as a spot starter and long man out of the bullpen. Anyone who thinks his inability to break a pane of glass with his fastball earlier this month means he’s washed up, must understand this guy’s only been throwing a ball for about three weeks, after not throwing since October of last year. He did not have the benefit of spring training, and his throwing program was rushed because of the DL rules. Now that he’s cleared waivers, he can take his time building back up in AAA.

My uneducated guess is he’ll need at least another three weeks, which would make him “ready” in mid-August. That may seem a long way off, but anything can happen between now and then. There could be an injury, a trade, a suspension, a dropoff in perfomance — many things can happen that would require his services with the big club. It’s always nice to have an extra lefty hanging around.

Franco Returns to Atlanta

As you may have already seen, 49-year-old Julio Franco has rejoined Bobby Cox and the Atlanta Braves after being released by the Mets.

The Braves’ idea of Craig Wilson and Scott Thorman at first base has blown up, and the position is now being manned by top catching prospect Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Franco’s two main purposes on the Mets were to provide a good clubhouse presence and make Orlando Hernandez feel young, but apparently he wasn’t fulfilling the former — supposedly, he’d been whining about playing time and other things that a .200 hitter has no right to be complaining about. Said Willie Randolph,

“The clubhouse stuff is totally overrated,” Randolph told reporters in San Diego. “You have to play, you have to produce.”

And according to John Delcos,

Jose Valentin offered up that Franco was a less than eager participant in the club’s pre-game stretching. He also said Franco wouldn’t hesitate to get in the face of some of the younger players about doing their jobs even though he was hitting .200.

“To be a leader for me, it’s not enough to talk all the time,’’ Valentin said. “You have to go out and do it yourself.’’

Ouch.

Sounds like Franco should be looking for a coaching job — as we’d all been begging him to do since mid-May. You know, those who can’t do, teach.

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.