Archive: February 24th, 2008

Bret Boone is Back

Bret Boone crying in Mets 2006 spring training campAfter muddling through the transactions over the past week, I couldn’t help but take note of Bret Boone’s return to the ballfield.

Boone signed a minor league contract with the Nationals but only recently was promoted to the big league camp (he was participating in the minor league camp).

According to the Washington Post, he’s doing better than expected:

“We didn’t think he’d be this far advanced” in his conditioning and baseball skills, said General Manager Jim Bowden, who watched Boone work out Friday. “And certainly, he can compete with the players in this camp. . . . We have a small window to make a decision here, so it’s more valuable to have our asset here than it is to wait and stall his progress.”

During Saturday’s infield drills, Boone stood in at second base, along with incumbent starter Ronnie Belliard, while Felipe Lopez — who is considered a candidate to start at either middle infield position — worked out at shortstop along with Cristian Guzman. Boone has said he is not interested in switching positions or playing in the minor leagues.

“Obviously, if this is going to work and I’m going to go out and play for another year or two years,” he said, “this is not going to be normal spring training.”

According to inside sources, he has yet to shed a tear.


Shannon Stewart Off the Market

The Blue Jays have signed veteran outfielder Shannon Stewart to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.

Remarkably, the Athletics will receive a supplemental pick at the end of the first round in the 2008 draft as compensation. Isn’t it time that MLB takes another look at the compensation structure? I realize Stewart is a solid .290 hitter, but consider that the A’s get essentially the same compensation as the Phillies will receive for Aaron Rowand, and the D’Backs for Livan Hernandez. Something is amiss.

Several MetsToday readers were supporters of a Stewart signing, but I’m not losing any sleep over him signing north of the border. Yes, he fits the veteran RH OF bat they need, but he’s also old, fragile, and not accustomed to a bench role.

By the way, the signing of Stewart creates something of a logjam in the Jays’ outfield. It would appear that 24-year-old lefty slugger Adam Lind or veteran RH hitter Reed Johnson could get squeezed out. Something to keep an eye on.

Other player movement in the last few days …

Major League Deals:

– Byung-Hyun Kim with the Pirates
– Josh Fogg with the Reds
– Shawn Chacon with the Astros

Minor League Contracts / ST Invites:

– Trot Nixon with the Diamondbacks
– Tomo Ohka with the White Sox
– Jason Tyner with the Indians
– Russell Branyan with the Brewers
– Ron Villone with the Cardinals
– Bubba Crosby with the Mariners
– Odalis Perez with the Nationals
– Alex Cintron with the Cubs
– Bret Boone with the Nationals (!)
– Matt LeCroy with the A’s

In addition, Jeremy Brown — immortalized in Moneyball— announced his retirement.

Finally, C-OF Craig Wilson was released by the Reds after spending only a few hours in camp.

Per the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Wilson, who was in camp Wednesday, apparently failed his physical. He had signed a minor-league deal with the Reds.

The Reds did not say why Wilson failed the physical and were non-committal about a possible return.
“I don’t know,” Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said Thursday. “We’ll see.”