The New York Mets may not have added an impact player to the major league roster this winter, but they are continuing to give veterans a chance to prove themselves by signing them to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training.

Marlon Byrd's 2005 Donruss Diamond Kings autographed insert card from my collection

Marlon Byrd’s 2005 Donruss Diamond Kings autographed insert card from my collection

On Friday, the Mets signed outfielder Marlon Byrd. The 35-year-old right-handed hitter split last season between the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox, appearing in a total of 47 games. He batted .210 with one home run and 9 RBI.

If you prefer modern stats, Byrd was worth -0.4 WAR to the Cubs and -0.1 WAR to the Red Sox last year, and he had a combined OPS+ of 63. To make it even better, the former Philadelphia Phillie was suspended 50 games as a result of a performance enhancing drug test.

Earlier in the week, the Mets signed 40-year-old  LaTroy Hawkins and 36 year-old Scott Atchison, both right-handed relievers. Hawkins played for the Angels last year, while Atchison was a Red Sox player. Atchison had a really good season in 2012, but missed two months with a torn elbow ligament.

Signed LaTroy Hawkins 2004 Fleer Tradition baseball card from my collection

Signed LaTroy Hawkins 2004 Fleer Tradition baseball card from my collection

None of these moves are bad, though I’m not thrilled about Marlon Byrd. If these guys represent improvements over the players Sandy Alderson already had, they’ll be in New York on Opening Day. If not, they’ll be headed to Las Vegas or get their release.

But if there’s little risk associated with these guys, there’s also little reward. Byrd and Hawkins are roster-fillers at this stage of their careers, whether that’s in New York or Las Vegas.

Atchison could be more, if he can repeat the success he had in Boston… or he could spend most of the year on the DL.

We’re still waiting for the “real” players to get here… hopefully that will start happening later this summer.

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About Paul

I'm the former editor of a weekly community newspaper in New Jersey. I've been a New York Mets fan for most of my life and I've been blogging about them, minor league baseball, baseball cards and autograph collecting since 2007. Contact me at paul@randombaseballstuff.com

6 responses

  1. Roster fillers.

    If this was pro wrestling, I’d call them “jobbers.”

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  2. Freddy says:

    Who’s next Doug Sisk, AY, or Orosco? Maybe Backman can be player-manager

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    • Paul says:

      Backman didn’t look like he was close to playing shape the last time I saw him… besides, he’s not an outfielder or a relief pitcher.

      I wonder what Dwight Gooden & Darryl Strawberry are up to these days…. lol

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  3. I think Atchison is an excellent pick up. One of those guys who can give you 2 + innings or get that one guy you need out. He was real good with the Sox (Living in NH and watching mostly Sox games on tv :P, I can vouch for him). Hawkins I don’t feel one way or the other about and I think Byrd will get released halfway through camp.

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    • Paul says:

      If Atchison had surgery to fix that elbow ligament last year, I’d like the signing better. I have visions of him being Kelvim Escobar 2.0 (though thankfully on a minor league contract.) If he’s healthy, though, I do think he can help.

      I’d expect Byrd to be released too, except there was semi-serious talk about Justin Turner getting outfield playing time. One or two injuries, and Byrd could find himself as a starter – the Mets have no depth.

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  4. MJ says:

    Guys like Byrd tend to have great springs. They just do. I fully expect he’ll be in serious competition for a roster spot up to the end. At which point I hope the Mets realize it’s just a mirage and send him packing. I love the signing of Atchison. Hell, even hurt, even if he spends the entire year on the DL, he’s STILL better than anything we’ve got. Hawkins sucked in his prime, as far as I’m concerned, and he’s certainly far from that now. No risk, I suppose, in bringing him to camp, but no reward either. Even if he’s lights out in spring training, the Mets won’t take him north anyway because they’d never agree to pay him more than the minimum.

    As long as they’re going to suck this year anyway, just go with the kids…see what you’ve actually got. Anyway, that’s what I’m hoping for this year.

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