Good For Him!

     What do Jason Bay and Mike Sweeney have in common?  They both have seen their talents seemingly diminished in the public eye due to the markets they have played in.  Jason Bay is now getting the recognition that he deserves for being a really good baseball player.  Mike Sweeney on the other hand, will never be remembered for more than a pretty good player, who played on lousy Royals teams, and no one ever said much about him.  But now, Sweeney has yet another chance to redeem himself as a baseball player. 

     Injury riddled, unnoticed when he actually was healthy, Sweeney has, believe it or not, encountered some really good years.  But who knew?  I did.  But I spent many years reading the USA Today’s baseball statistics and Sweeney fell in on some of the leaderboards for a few years there.  Sweeney actually batted .333 in 2000, do you remember that?  And get this, as crummy as the Royals have been for a long time, Sweeney actually drove in 144 runs that season.  144!  No one associates RBI totals like that coming from Kansas City.  Ok, there were actually a few players on that team;  Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran, Jermaine Dye.  Base runners actually existed on their basepaths–unlike today.  But still, as flawed as RBI’s can be, I know that someone who ends up with 144 of them, probably just had a very successful year. 

     But that isn’t all.  Sweeney had seven straight seasons with an OPS+ of 117 or greater.  Mild problem, some of those seasons Sweeney missed some time.  But at least while he was on the field, he was a good player.  Health has been an issue for a long, unfortunately.  Only once has he played more than 108 games in the last six years (122 in 2005).  Billy Beane took a chance on him last season, the chance did not end up being a successful one.  But now, since I haven’t said it yet, Mike Sweeney gets another chance with the Seattle Mariners…

     Sure, it is a minor league deal, but it is something.  I have been kind of hoping that Sweeney could stay healthy and get back somewhere near where he used to be (Don’t ask me why, just cheering for the guy I guess).  Doubtful that he does end up being productive, I know.  But Sweeney is 35, not 40, and hopefully he can move up the ladder, and get some playing time with what will probably be a team out of contention.  This move really is just about meaningless as far as helping the Seattle Mariners field a contender.  But for Mike Sweeney, well, let us just hope for the best.  And a very unlikely scenario, but maybe, just maybe, Sweeney stays healthy, hits decent enough, and the Mariners dish him off to a contender at the deadline so he has a chance to play on a winning team.     

11 Comments

I got to see Sweeny play once he is a great player. Good thing Varitex is now in the public eye.

Bob, http://bostonsports.mlblogs.com/

He is actually further from the public eye than he was when he was good in Kansas City. But I am just happy to see him come back and give it another chance.

I hope that MLB Network turns out the be a place where some of these players, from the smaller markets, will finally get noticed.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

nice piece–
i’m wondering if you still think the yankees should have offered arb to pettitte and abreu

Now? No. But we didn’t know it was going to be anywhere close to this bad a market. I can’t make my decisions based on hindsight. I mean, I also want to choose Cliff Lee to win the 2008 Cy Young :)

yeah but i was arguing against it very early on…unlike you.

I know, but that doesn’t mean Abreu would have accepted (he only had a very small amount of time to accept). I know some seem to think he would have, as you said before. But I believe it is unlikely that he would have. At the time I feel that Abreu and his agent probably felt that they could seek, and get, a 3 year deal somewhere else. Only 2 of 24 accepted, Mike. The Red Sox offered Varitek arbitration, he had more incentive to accept, because he isn’t as good as Abreu, and he didn’t. If players took arb more frequently, then yes, offering it to Abreu wouldn’t have made that much sense. But what is the percentage that he would have accepted? That is what I am basing my opinion off of, and I think the percentage is quite low.

Jason Bay is really really good. I wanted the Braves to land him before the break last year in an attempt to make the playoffs. The only knock I have on Bay is when I saw the Braves play the Pirates at PNC Park in Pittsburgh he had some trouble tracking down fly balls. Maybe it was the sky that day or the lights but he looked a little silly and the fans let him have it during practice. He may not look graceful on his way to the catch but he makes it in the end.
http://hardballblog.mlblogs.com/

I don’t know how good Bay is as a fielder. Average at best, probably.

On Sweeney, Joe, I agree. He can DH and play some first, can mash when healthy and, from anything I’ve read, is a good guy and teammate. He just might allow Seattle to bounce back by providing a good righty bat in what is basically a pitchers park. Plus, they need to replace Ibanez’s offense. That’s a team that’s invested a lot in pitching to little avail, and has neglected offense.

Good that he got paroled out of the baseball wasteland that is KC.

It will be very hard for Sweeney to be a productive Major Leaguer at this point. But I hope he can move up to the Big League club and help the team. But even if he returns to form, and that is a very, very huge if, the team will probably still fall short of the playoffs. His power has been lost for a while now, so he will have to find it again, somehow. At least he has hope now.

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