Thursday, October 30, 2008

I'll Be The Judge: Fernando Tatis

2008 Season: Anytime you win the Comeback Player of the Year award, you can be sure that you had a good campaign. Tatis was out of baseball for two full seasons before signing with the Baltimore organization in 2006. He spent all of 2007 in New Orleans and only made it to the big league roster because of injuries and ineffectiveness among Met outfielders.

But once he made it to New York, what an impact Tatis had. He quickly gained a reputation for clutch performances, knocking several game-winning hits and cementing his place with the big club once Moises Alou and Angel Pagan were lost for the season. A third baseman in the early part of his career, Tatis deserves credit for remaking himself into a utility player in the minor leagues. He'll never be confused for a Gold Glove fielder, but Tatis saw time at all four corner positions this season and only looked truly awful in a few appearances at first base. He mostly played in the outfield and before a September injury ended his season, swung a respectable bat whenever he was placed in the lineup. n all, Tatis was a very pleasant surprise.

Contract Status: The Mets will be bringing Tatis back next season, signing him to a one-year contract earlier today.

The Verdict: This is a typical Omar Minaya move - lock down another veteran who shows a modicum of competence coming off the bench. I don't think that the general manager understands that just because you can sometimes catch lightning in a bottle, it doesn't mean you can bottle it for future use. That said, I guess I'm happy it was only a one-year deal and not a two-year contract like the ones Minaya once gave Julio Franco and Marlon Anderson. How did those deals work out, Mr. Undeserved Four-Year Extension?

2009 Outlook: Tatis will be a right-handed bat off the bench who can play corner infield or corner outfield positions. I seriously doubt that he will hit at anywhere near his 2008 level of production and he will probably be a candidate for a mid-season release.


TW said...

He won't be starting regularly, so his numbers won't be as good, but I bet you a quarter he'll be more than serviceable and a welcome bench-hand all season long. They call it depth, especially if they get another innings eating starter, get their heads out of their asses and shrink the bullpen down one guy, leaving an extra bench spot--oh, we're talking aout the Mets right, sorry.

brian said...

He'll be effective, though almost certainly not as much of an impact player as he was in 2008. But I'll wager he'll be one of the 10 or so most effective bench players in the NL.

I can't wait for the stunned disbelief from the BP crowd regarding Tatis when they write their 2009 edition. Last year, they held Tatis as an example of what a joke the Mets' farm was.