Bats Available

Scouring the transaction wire, it looks like a few potential bats are available.

Olmedo Saenz
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!

Matt Kata

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.

Mark Bellhorn
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.

Matthew LeCroy
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.

J.R. House

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.

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. Micalpalyn October 25, 2007 at 1:02 pm
    Nice subject but weak list. As the transaction wire has rolled I have also salivated on the growing list of FA having refused re-assignment. I think Isu pointed out that House is still Oriole property though).

    One name I like (and no one else here will) is Alex Escobar, who became a FA this week. If he could just stay healthy for ONE yr!! The guy can rake. I’d love him in LF (platoon) as an ‘Endy” type, especially if (say) Gomez is dealt for pitching.

    I also noted Jake gautreau above. There has been no talk of his role in next yrs Mets.

    Also see Metsblog and the NY daily news who are basically forecasting LoDuca is DONE as a Met.

  2. joe October 25, 2007 at 1:11 pm
    I was never high on Escobar, but maybe because he was such a disappointment. He could platoon in RF with Adam Stern after the Mets trade Milledge to the A’s. (ha)

    I like Gautreau, but as with Escobar the guy has been hammered with injuries from his debut in pro ball. Too bad, because I really believe he’d develop into a Jeff Kent or Bobby Grich type if he ever stayed healthy and had the chance to get consistent at-bats.

    Yeah, weak list. If Easley doesn’t return, though, I’d love to see Bellhorn and/or Saenz on the bench. Bellhorn could be one of those bad-ass fiery guys the Mets need on and off the field.

  3. skibolton October 26, 2007 at 10:05 am
    I’d love to see us go after JR House. He’s got six pro season’s, so he’s an unresticted free agent. I’d also consider guillermo quiroz from toronto. I think either of these guys would be great to have in new orleans with a shot to make the mets in the spring.
  4. joe October 26, 2007 at 10:17 am
    I’m not so high on Quiroz, mainly because outside of 2003 and a handful of at-bats in 2006, he’s done absolutely nothing with the bat.

    Even in his decent years, Quiroz has trouble making contact. Though I suppose you could look at him as a younger, unproven version of Ramon Castro (Castro in a typical year, not the 2007 Mr. Slugger).

  5. skibolton October 26, 2007 at 10:21 am
    I don’t like him as the answer for the mets, but I would rather see him as depth on the 40 man roster than sandy alomar jr.
  6. joe October 26, 2007 at 10:39 am
    I figured that … you’ve already proven to be not silly enough to think the Mets would consider putting Guillermo Quiroz into the starting lineup.

    Quiroz might be an OK guy to have around AAA … who knows he might develop into a Castro, #2 guy.

    Maybe I’m nuts but I wouldn’t mind seeing either of Alomar or DiFelice return to AAA next year as well. Alomar in particular showed he can still catch as well or better than the majority of backstops in the NL. His bat, however, is another story.