It looks like Brian Cashman is wheeling and dealing in the early goings of the GM meetings. First we heard that he was chatting up Reds GM Walter Jocketty, which likely means nothing, but surely could mean something. Aaron Harang, anyone? Or maybe Jocketty is looking to cash in his Homer Bailey chip a bit late. That’s all just idle speculation, though. Chances are the two GMs were doing what they’re supposed to, which is gauging the market for available players.
However, the Yanks did sign a player today. Bryan Hoch informs us that former Marlin Sergio Mitre has signed a minor league deal. The 27-year-old righty underwent Tommy John surgery back in July, and likely won’t be ready until July or August of next year. This sounds like another scenario similar to Octavio Dotel. Hopefully the Yankees have learned from that experience in how they handle Mitre. You also would have liked to see them get some sort of option for 2010, as a reward for their signing him and paying for his rehab. Alas, that’s tough to do when you get a guy on a minor league deal.
After three disappointing seasons in Chicago, wherein he alternated between the rotation and bullpen, the Cubs dished him to Florida in the Juan Pierre trade*. He didn’t have much success in Miami either, though he did toss 150 innings for them in 2007. He has plenty of upside, though, as he fared very well in the minors as a youngster. This is a total upside move by the Yankees. If he pans out, great. If he continues to falter in his rehab, they will have wasted neither a lot of money nor a roster spot.
* Talk about a poor trade. Mitre, Rickey Nolasco, and Renyel Pinto for Pierre. Mitre and Pinto might be marginal players, but Nolasco had promise then, and had a break-out year at age 25 this season. Why do teams continually overvalue Pierre?
While the results didn’t bear it out, Mitre has fared decently as a reliever, in that his strikeout rates are far higher than as a starter. Considering the surgery and his lack of success as a starter, the Yanks should think about bringing him back solely as a reliever. Maybe then they can get some production out of him. Otherwise, this is just another in a line of low-risk pitching moves (Milton, Zambrano).
Update: Joe Frisaro, filling in for Hoch on the official Yanks site, notes that this is a $1.25 million deal, with a team option for 2010. The Hoch piece did not mention the option, or the dollar amount.