M’s Sign Mike Sweeney

Dave · January 29, 2009 at 11:33 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Well, a bunch of you have been screaming for the M’s to sign a hitter, so here’s one for you.

Okay, so, it’s a minor league contract, and Sweeney’s not exactly the kind of big bat that everyone wants. Back problems have robbed him of his power, and now he’s just a high contact hitter with an empty BA. At 35, and coming off three years as a below average hitter, it’s pretty unlikely that he’s going to hook himself up to the juvenation machine and party like its 2002.

But, he’s a free replacement level bat to have in Peoria. He probably won’t make the team unless he shows that he’s found some power somewhere, and there’s no real risk of him taking the job of anyone more worthy of a roster spot. So, it’s just organizational depth with a very, very tiny bit of upside.

Or, alternately, it’s a reminder to the former regime that this is exactly what no-power, slap hitting DH’s cost to acquire.


62 Responses to “M’s Sign Mike Sweeney”

  1. GriffeyCan on January 29th, 2009 7:12 pm

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  2. gwangung on January 29th, 2009 10:20 pm

    Why are some of you talking like Sweeney is going to play in Tacoma if he doesn’t make the club?

    Don’t think they got the flexibility thing down yet. Nothing stops them from signing another, better player if one comes along. And what they’ll learn in spring training isn’t going to affect other players’ playing time.

    If Sweeney’s offense comes back, fine and good. If not, bye.

  3. Breadbaker on January 29th, 2009 10:48 pm

    Why are some of you talking like Sweeney is going to play in Tacoma if he doesn’t make the club?

    Because it’s a minor league contract.

    The real test for me is if Sweeney hits like Mike Morse did last year in spring training, is he the Opening Day DH? The only reason I can see him coming up to the major leagues is if sufficient injuries to Branyan, Clement, Shelton, Morse and Wlad meant that we’re otherwise using Jamie Burke at DH. Let him hit the cover off the ball in Peoria and Tacoma; that might make him trade bait for someone whose DH goes down. If you could flip him for another Garrett Olson, that’s turning straw into gold.

  4. Benne on January 29th, 2009 10:52 pm

    Sweeney is the very definition of “low-risk”. If he shows that he has something left in the tank, then you just picked up an asset for nothing. If he doesn’t, you cut him after March (or leave him in Tacoma to mentor the youngsters); no harm, no foul.

    If this was the old regime, the headline would instead be “M’s ink Sweeney for 2 years, $18 million” and I would cry tears of blood.

  5. MrMalibog on January 30th, 2009 2:54 am

    I love this signing! As people have already said it is ZERO risk with a reward of a 300 hitter if healthy. Sweeney is the total opposite of a hitter as Sexson was. A little power but a solid .300 hitter compared to .240. He is the type of mentor every young team needs and can possibly assist Clement, Johnson, Vlad, Gut, etc to becoming better batters and provide a good influence. If he is not healthy it costs us nothing! I LOVE IT!

  6. That Bootleg Guy on January 30th, 2009 8:37 am

    Mike Sweeney is not going to play in Tacoma if he doesn’t make the team. The signing of Sweeney to a minor league contract was just so the M’s didn’t have to add him to the 40-man roster at this point.

    If he somehow makes the squad out of spring training, he’ll be added. If not, he’ll go home. He’s not some fringe quad-A guy like Todd Linden, still in his 20s and waiting for a shot. He’s in his mid-30s, made a lot of money and seems pretty content with his life.

    Isn’t this always how these late offseason free agent signings of veterans-in-decline turn out?

  7. TranquilPsychosis on January 30th, 2009 8:38 am

    According to Dave Andriesen in the PI, if Sweeney doesn’t make the club, he’s out.

    “If things don’t work out and I don’t end up making that trip to Minnesota for Opening Day, I’ll probably just sail off into the sunset and be thankful for the opportunity,”

  8. Paul B on January 30th, 2009 9:10 am

    There’s going to be a lot of pressure or responsibility placed on Wakamatsu this spring, due to the large collection of hitters and pitchers and the number of starting jobs, platoon jobs, and bench jobs up for grabs.

    I hope our new manager is up to the task.

  9. Mike Snow on January 30th, 2009 9:39 am

    I honestly don’t know how Wakamatsu will do with the many challenges he faces. I feel confident, though, that he won’t be batting the likes of Vidro in the cleanup spot. The bar is still low.

  10. joser on January 30th, 2009 9:50 am

    It’s going to be hard to judge how well Wakamatsu does with that, too. Unless you’re down in Peoria every day watching all the players and seeing what the coaching staff is seeing, you can’t easily second-guess what they decide to do with all these guys competing for spots. Once the season starts, of course, we’ll have lots of opportunity for second-guessing and I’m sure we will. Even if he (hopefully) gives us fewer obvious bone-headed moves than McLaren or Hargrove did.

    Personally, I think the race for the closer spot is going to be the most interesting (and it may not be permanently settled even after the first few months of the season).

    Isn’t this always how these late offseason free agent signings of veterans-in-decline turn out?

    Unless it’s Rickey Henderson. I get the impression that if he M’s offered him the same deal he’d keep playing if it was only in Tacoma.

  11. djw on January 30th, 2009 11:57 am

    it’ll affect playing time in the spring. I’d rather give Sweeney’s PT to a better (albeit more expensive) player.

    If you’re worried about the distribution of at bats and innings during Spring Training, you’re looking way too hard for things to worry about.

  12. BobbyAyalaFan4Life on January 30th, 2009 1:06 pm

    I honestly don’t know how Wakamatsu will do with the many challenges he faces.

    Hopefully he won’t have to figure out too much at all and most the positions will figure themselves out with play on the field.

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