Scouring the transaction wire, it looks like a few potential bats are available.
Saenz was granted free agency by the Dodgers after hitting .191 in 2007. The 37-year-old was considered among the best righthanded pinch-hitters in baseball (even better than Julio Franco!) before this past season. Though he’s not as versatile as, say, Damion Easley or Jose Valentin, he does have a good glove at both infield corners (though his range is not the greatest). If Easely or Valentin do not return, he might be an ideal backup first baseman and top RH pinch-hitter. There aren’t too many solid righthanded “bench” bats on the market. If the Mets were crazy enough to give Julio Franco a 2-year deal, I don’t see why they wouldn’t offer Saenz at least a one-year contract — though please, not at the expense of Marlon Anderson!
Kata was released by the Pirates. He has a good glove at a number of different positions and as a switch-hitter has some pop. Think Chris Woodward, but perhaps a better hitter. Since Willie Randolph didn’t know what to do with David Newhan, I wouldn’t think it’s a good idea to give him someone as complex as Kata — and not sure he’d be a big help anyway.
Don’t ask me why, but I like Bellhorn. Maybe it’s that attitude of his, the competitive fire. He can play all four infield positions and can play any of the outfield spots in a pinch. He’s a switch-hitter who kills lefties and does one of three things: hit a double, hit a homer, or strike out. OK, there’s a fourth thing — he’ll take plenty of pitches and earn walks. It wouldn’t bother me in the least to see him on the Mets’ bench in 2008. He cleared waivers and refused a minor-league assignment from the Reds.
Oh, if only he could play a position, he’d be worth bringing in to camp. But as Frank Robinson found out, he’s not suitable as even an emergency catcher, and he doesn’t provide enough value as a backup big-swinging first baseman. He’s available after refusing a minor-league assignment by the Twins.
House is a catcher, which is something the Mets do not have presently. He once had the tools to be a starting MLB catcher, especially offensively, but has been marred by injuries and at 27 is running out of time. His defense is acceptable if his bat produces, and therein lies the rub — he may project better as a backup C/1B/OF guy. The Orioles, strangely, have given up on him as he was granted free agency. He looks to me like he’d be worth taking a flyer on, but there must be a reason the O’s dropped him.
About the Author
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.