Two teams finally made moves this past week in signing much needed free-agent talent. The San Francisco Giants signed Mark DeRosa and the New York Mets signed Jason Bay. Let me touch on the DeRosa move first.
The Giants signed utility player Mark DeRosa to a 2-year 12 million dollar deal that will place DeRosa primarily at 3B. Now as I've told my friend Justin many times, that the Giants need a power bat to compliment Pablo Sandoval. Sorry to say that DeRosa does not provide that bat. But he provides something else. Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle describes as DeRosa as "He is going to be, as it turns out, a mega-Juan Uribe with a slightly more selective eye - put in any number of positions to protect and defend whatever offense the Giants have in them. He'll be a principal part of Bruce Bochy's daily Rubik's Cube lineup game, morphed around Pablo Sandoval in an attempt to reduce the automatic outs from a lineup that has teemed with them". To read more of Ray Ratto's article click here
DeRosa is currently 35 years old and recovering from wrist surgery. Last season with both the Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Cardinals, DeRosa had an combined average of .250 in 139 games where he had 129 hits (23 2B, 1 3B, 23 HR) and 87 RBI. DeRosa struck out 121 times and walked 47 times, had an OBP% of .319 and a SLG% of .433 for an OPS of .799 and a fielding percentage of 1.000 with no errors at a total of 6 positions (LF/RF/CF/1B/2B/3B). So he's not the second coming of Barry Bonds, but what DeRosa brings to the table is a veteran who can play almost anywhere on the field which gives the Giants more depth that they have had in the last few years. Financially he's not too much of a burden on the Giants who seem to be reluctant to pursue big name free-agents since the Barry Zito signing. We'll see how this signing plays out for the pitching rich Giants.
To all my friends who are Mets fans out there you can all now breathe a little easier. I guess the Mets still do have some money to spend. Announced yesterday on SNY, the Mets signed OF Jason Bay to a 4-year 66 million dollar contract with a vesting option for a fifth year pending the passing of a physical examination by Bay. As you can see by the photo, the Mets previously had Bay in their farm system, having traded him to San Diego in 2002 in the deal that brought Steve Reed and Jason Middlebrook to the Mets. So what does this mean for the Mets. Bay brings a solid bat to a lineup that was decimated by injuries this past year. Bay hit for an average of .267 in 151 games where he had 142 hits (29 2B, 3 3B, 36 HR) and 119 RBI. Bay struck out 162 times and walked 94 times, had an OBP% of .384 and a SLG% of .537 for an OPS of .921 and a fielding percentage of 1.000 with no errors in the field. The Mets get not only a bat to protect David Wright in the lineup but also a player who plays with injuries unlike the complaints that were heard by the Mets faithful concerning a number of their players who spent considerable time on the disabled list. Bay is also a solid fielder who will release the pressure that the Mets' pitching staff have dealt with in seasons past due to shoddy defense. This signing brings up another question. Why didn't Boston resign Bay.
To hear some Red Sox fans that I know, they spoke of Bay as if he was the second coming of Ted Williams. Bay suitably filled the void left in both the lineup and the field with the trading of Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The "Anti-Manny" was beloved by the Red Sox nation so why wasn't he resigned. Amelie Benjamin of the Boston Globe states that "In his year and a half in Boston, Bay hit .274 with 45 home runs and 156 RBIs, including a .267 average with 36 homers and 119 RBIs in 2009, Bay also struck out 213 times in 715 at-bats and was extremely streaky last season at the plate". Bay's health seemed to be the sticking point along with his demand for a guaranteed 5th year which the Red Sox were hesitant to offer. I firmly believe that Mike Cameron can't replace Jason Bay in the lineup. Cameron is a decent player but Bay was a perfect fit for the Red Sox even with his hot and cold streaks. He'll surely be missed by Red Sox nation. To read more of Amelie Benjamin's article click here.
In a separate move, the Mets signed RHP Kelvim Escobar. Escobar has had an injury plagued last two seasons with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Escobar missed the entire 2008 season and pitched only 5 innings this past season. By signing Escobar to a 1-year deal, it looks like he'll be a possible 8th inning setup man to his former Angels teammate Francisco Rodriguez. Escobar last pitched in 2007 where he finished 18-7 with a 3.40 ERA as a starter.
The Mets also plan on signing C Benjie Molina formerly of the San Francisco Giants and RHP Joel Piñeiro formerly of the St. Louis Cardinals. I think the Mets need more than these two players to claim a successful offseason. But there really isn't much left out there that the Mets can sign. I'll wait to see what else the Mets do before deciding if the preseason was successful or not.