Buster Olney canvassed his scouting sources for their views on the Mets going after Gary Matthews, and sums up the feedback thusly:
He can’t hit for average, can’t hit for power, his defense ranks
statistically among the worst outfielders in the majors and, to top it
off, rival scouts have been reporting that in recent years he has been
a clubhouse negative.
Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?
Given that the Angels are picking up almost all of the dough it’s not like he’s going to kill the team or anything, but someone needs to explain to me why the Mets would give up a serviceable pitcher for a guy who will provide no more production — and likely quite a bit less production — than any of the youngins and quasi-youngins the Mets ran out there while Carlos Beltran was on the DL last summer.
Those guys are signing minor league deals. Why couldn’t the Mets have done that?
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.
Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.
Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.
The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”