Despite already going into Port St. Lucie with at least a half-dozen LOOGY candidates, the Mets added another lefthanded reliever to the organization by signing Duane Below to a minor league contract.
However, Below was NOT invited to big-league spring training, so he’ll most likely start the 2015 season in AAA.
This news may not seem important, but there have been so few moves made by the Mets this winter that ANY transaction makes waves.
By the way I have no recollection of seeing Duane Below. According to the stats, he’s pitched in 43 big-league games — 41 with the Detroit Tigers. The other two appearances came in a Marlins uniform in 2013. Below has spent most of minor-league career as a starter, with mixed success. In 2007 he was the Tigers’ minor league pitcher of the year, and was something of a strikeout artist (369 strikeouts in 361 innings from 2006 to 2009) but had Tommy John surgery in 2009. After returning from surgery, his K rate dropped significantly but his walk rate dropped as well. He’s considered to be a strike-thrower with average stuff and “a good feel for pitching” (which generally means changing location and speed to keep batters off-balance); his fastball is in the upper 80s / low 90s. It sounds like he’s kind of like Pat Misch. In other words, Below is a good fit for filling out the rotation in Las Vegas and providing depth.