Mets Get Two For One in Pioneering, Cost-effective Move
For once, the Mets are light years ahead of everyone else with a brilliant, innovative idea — one that might change the way MLB rosters are constructed and The Game Itself.
In an, out-of-the-box, cost-effective move, the Mets have signed outfielder/pitcher Adam Loewen to a minor-league contract.
The big Canadian and former first-round (and fourth overall) pick was once a can’t-miss pitching prospect in the Baltimore Orioles organization, and converted to full-time outfield duty in 2009. For AAA Las Vegas last year, Loewen hit .306 with 17 HR and a .885 OPS.
“Pitching and power hitting are premium-priced,” said a source close to The Situation, “and this signing addresses both at a discount.”
Loewen, who has a 3.61 ERA in five minor league seasons, can slot right in to the back of the Mets rotation, then play right field on the other four days. Alternatively, he can play the outfield every day, but be available for relief duty at a moment’s notice.
The same source indicated that the Mets are also on the lookout for a righthanded two-way player to complement the lefthanded Loewen.
“Hypothetically, Loewen and a righthander could platoon between the mound and the outfield in the late innings, depending on the matchups,” said the source, “it would provide manager Terry Collins unprecedented flexibility.”
Toward that end, I imagine the Mets will also get Ike Davis back on the mound, and consider signing former pitching phenom Rick Ankiel to play centerfield. Who knows, maybe they’ll have R.A. Dickey — arguably the Mets’ best-hitting pitcher — take grounders and fly balls, with an eye toward using him more efficiently as well.
Personally, I think the Mets are on to something here. Having pitchers play the field and fielders go on the mound is a really smart way to extract the most value out of an asset. More importantly, this strategy could potentially allow them to cut the roster down to 20 or less players — in turn saving them anywhere from $2M – $20M. Maybe this is part of the cost-cutting plan? Ten years from now, when position players and pitchers are interchangeable as a routine (and the DH finally dies), people will look back and commend the Mets for their bold, innovative thinking (perhaps even a book will be written).
I wonder who else the Mets are looking at for two-way duty? Dontrelle Willis? Carlos Zambrano? Jason Marquis? Micah Owings? Mitch Maier? Felipe Lopez? Maybe they can coax Todd Zeile out of retirement to throw his knuckler … I bet Desi Relaford is still in good shape.
Who else might the Mets be targeting? Post your ideas in the comments.