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.

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. mistermet November 23, 2011 at 1:12 pm
    Wait…is this really the reason why they signed Loewen? I was under the impression that he couldn’t pitch anymore due to chronic stress fractures of his pitching elbow.
    • Joe Janish November 23, 2011 at 2:51 pm
      No, mistermet, it’s not really why the Mets signed Loewen, and you are correct. It was a joke. With no good news coming this winter I have to make up stuff. Happy Thanksgiving!
      • mistermet November 23, 2011 at 4:26 pm
        Gotcha. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t misremembering. Happy Thanksgiving to you too.
  2. Charlie17 November 23, 2011 at 1:14 pm
    AHAHA very clever sir. Ok we suck and we know it. Am I alone in thinking it’s almost a must to trade DW by the deadline for top pitching prospects? I know it’s been speculated, but I see it as the quickest way to get back being competitive a few years down the road.
    • Piazza November 25, 2011 at 3:57 am
      I’d rather trade Murphy who might very well have higher value by now, but with a much (MUCH) lower ceiling.
  3. SiddFinch November 23, 2011 at 4:16 pm
    Jose Canseco- a power bat off the bench and a garbage time arm out of the pen.
    • Joe Janish November 23, 2011 at 6:41 pm
      Good one! Based on his Twitter feed it appears that Jose is ready, willing, and able. Sandy, get this done!
  4. Joe November 23, 2011 at 5:41 pm
    Sandy Alderson was deemed very “smart” to do this though clearly it is part of the plan to you know what over fans by ownership, who also supports the mean brother in Arthur Christmas and every heavy in Christmas Hallmark movies.
  5. Feeldadreams November 23, 2011 at 9:09 pm
    I wonder if Willie Smith is active, “wonderful Willie” could help about now
    You could look it up
  6. argonbunnies November 24, 2011 at 1:41 am
    Brooks Kieschnick is only 39…

    To be honest, although asking pitchers to contribute with their bats is ridiculous, I don’t feel the same about their gloves. If teams can teach catchers and second basemen to play the outfield, then why the hell not teach pitchers?

    I remember Rich Harden beating out an infield hit where most runners would have been out easily. Teach him the outfield and have him go lefty-righty for a few innings with some athletic LOOGY.

    • Joe November 25, 2011 at 7:04 pm
      Pitchers can contribute with bunting and advancing the runners generally. Toss in a few hits, they did their job as hitters. A few actually can hit.

      A pitcher is allowed to alternate like that? I saw that in an old movie once — pitcher went to third base or something for a few batters and went back to pitching.

      • argonbunnies November 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm
        This has been done in MLB. I think Davey Johnson did it with McDowell and Orosco going back and forth between the mound and left field.

        I assume the only reason it isn’t done more is because teams don’t trust their relievers to play a competent LF. What I’m saying is that that could be fixed.