Tag: delwyn young

Mets To Sign Willie Harris

According to ESPN-NY’s Adam Rubin, the Mets are on the verge of announcing the signing of Willie Harris to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

The 32-year-old Harris has been a thorn in the side of Mets fans for his dramatic outfield catches in late innings against the Mets over the past few years. Otherwise, though, there isn’t much to say about Harris, who hit .183 for the Nationals last year and is a career .239 hitter. He’s an average to slightly above-average corner outfielder, and average defensively in center. He can also play second base adequately, and fill in at short and third in a pinch. Once a speedster, he’s still faster than average and won’t make many mistakes on the basepaths.

It’s good to have him around for depth, particularly considering the injury histories of Carlos Beltran and Angel Pagan, but I’m not sure Harris is any better overall than Jason Pridie. I suspect Harris’ MLB experience is valued by the Mets braintrust, as well as his ability to play second base. Similar to Harris is Russ Adams, who also hits from the left side but is primarily a middle infielder who can play some outfield when needed (whereas Harris is primarily an outfielder who can play some infield when needed).

I know this is strictly a depth acquisition, but if the Mets are going to be insistent upon having an experienced MLBer competing for the fourth outfielder spot, I’d be more excited about a return to New York by Lastings Milledge or Ryan Church, or the signing of Andruw Jones. Though, I’m sure none of those three make sense for one reason or another — even if all three can play centerfield as well or better than Harris and almost certainly will provide more offense. Most likely, it’s a money thing, in which case, I wonder if Delwyn Young is on the Mets radar? Young is a 28-year-old switch-hitter who, like Willie Harris, is an outfielder who can also play second base adequately. Young doesn’t have much (if any) experience in center field, but is pretty much the same player as Harris — except four years younger.

You may be wondering why I even care to quibble over the differences between Willie Harris and Delwyn Young but this is how the Mets fans’ winter is going … so, please, don’t shoot the messenger.

If nothing else, Harris has always been a fan favorite in his previous big league stops. You can read a very nice interview with him on MLBlogs. Harris may not be a tremendous performer, but he’s hard not to like. Nothing wrong with this signing, but nothing exciting about it, either.


Fernando Nieve Signed By Pirates

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is reporting that the Pirates have signed former Mets pitcher Fernando Nieve to a minor-league deal.

Personally, I’m a bit sad to see him go as I believe he has potential as either a middle reliever or swing man. But considering his poor performance both at the MLB level and in AAA after being abused by Jerry Manuel in the early spring, and the fact that there is a completely new management regime in place, it’s probably best for Nieve to start over with a different organization.

You can read my 2010 analysis of Fernando Nieve here.

The Pirates also signed Dusty Brown (formerly of the Red Sox) and former Indians infielder Andy Marte, who never lived up the billing of top prospect in baseball.

In other news coming out of Pittsburgh, Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young both elected to become free agents. Like Marte, LaRoche never fulfilled the promise he showed as a hotshot prospect and is now 27 years old. Young is somewhat intriguing — a 28-year-old switch-hitter with some pop and experience as both an outfielder and second baseman. However I don’t believe he is strong enough defensively at 2B to be considered for an everyday spot; he could, though, possibly be part of a platoon and/or be a super-sub.