The New York Mets have thus far this offseason, when not trading reigning National League Cy Young Award winners, procured the services of the following players with non-Mets major league experience:
Josh Rodriguez, infielder, 28 years old, 7 MLB games (2011);
Jamie Hoffmann, outfielder, 28 years old, 16 MLB games (2009, 2011);
Anthony Recker, catcher, 29 years old, 27 MLB games (2011-2012);
Carlos Torres, pitcher, 30 years old, 44 MLB games (2009-2010, 2012);
Greg Burke, pitcher, 30 years old, 48 MLB games (2009);
Brandon Hicks, infielder, 27 years old, 55 MLB games (2010-2012);
Andrew Brown, outfielder, 28 years old, 57 MLB games (2011-2012);
Collin Cowgill, outfielder, 26 years old, 74 MLB games (2011-2012);
Aaron Laffey, pitcher, 26 years old, 148 MLB games (2007-2012);
and Brian Bixler, infielder-outfielder, 30 years old, 183 MLB games (2008-2009, 2011-2012).
Among them, these 10 players, born between 1982 and 1986, have played a combined 659 games in the major leagues since 2007. By comparison, I recently turned 50 and have attended, by my count, 582 games in the major leagues since 1973.
It would be easy to say, “I’ve never heard of these guys,” and, in fact, I will say it: I’ve never heard of these guys, even if that’s not exactly true. Josh Rodriguez was in the Mets system last year and I’m pretty certain I noticed his name during a Bisons telecast or two. And six of these fellows — Torres, Burke, Brown, Cowgill, Bixler and Hicks — are certified by Baseball-Reference to have played against the Mets in games I watched and sort of remember.
But mostly, I’ve never heard of these guys. It’s as if John Hughes had lived to write and direct Moneyball.
Monday, January 7, 2013
New York Mets Spring Training Complex
Port St. Lucie, FL 34986
Dear Mets Fan,
We accept the fact that you’ve had to sacrifice several seasons of contention for whatever it is the Mets did wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make us report to camp early to tell you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found is that each one of us is…
• a minor league free agent
• a waiver claim
• a cash-considerations purchase
• an agate-type acquisition
• and somebody you’ve never heard of.
Does that answer your question?
The Afterthought Club
(We see Bixler walking across the baseball field as he thrusts his fist into the air in a silent cheer and freezes there. Cue Simple Minds.)
R.A. Dickey could rightly be invoked in this space as the unheralded December transactionee who delightfully surprises the smirk off our cynical faces, therefore proving rushed judgment should always be held in abeyance. Swell — but I’d heard of Dickey before we signed him in the kind of ink-conserving deal that brought us these fill-in-the-blanks. Of course I’d heard of Jason Bay, too, so glowing advance notices are not ironclad guarantees of anything.
Listen, if any given underknown quantity in this bargain-bin bunch works out by way of a key strikeout or a rally-extending hit, we’ll praise him as a good get at least until his unproductive outweighs his beneficial. If a very big moment transpires, the likes of me will swear years later that, no, this guy wasn’t totally worthless, he blasted that homer/won that game that time. And if he rolls out a success story even a twentieth the size of Dickey’s, well, we know who we’re nominating for Executive of the Year.
For now, though, I’ve never heard of these guys.
Then again, they’ve never heard of me.