A few days ago I mentioned that the Ryan Theriot rumor was about the biggest news regarding the Mets' roster since the winter meetings, but yesterday they went out and signed 30-year-old Omar Quintanilla to a minor-league contract. If you hadn't heard of Quintanilla until yesterday, you are not alone.
Originally drafted in the first round of the 2003 Rule 4 draft by the Athletics, Quintanilla has only 582 plate appearances in his major-league career over parts of the 2005 through 2009 seasons with the Rockies and a very brief appearance with the Rangers in 2011. In that time, he's put together a .213/.268/.284 slash line.
On the upside, Quintanilla's defense appears to be pretty good, although the limited number of innings he's played make it tough to draw concrete conclusions. DRS and UZR/150 like rate him as above-average at second base but like him even more at shortstop.
Perhaps Quintanilla would have gotten a few more games in the majors in 2010, but he was suspended 50 games in August that year after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance while playing for the Rockies' Triple-A affiliate.
At the plate, Quintanilla's been much better in the minor leagues than in the major leagues. Last year, he hit .298/.369/.452 with the Rangers' affiliate, which is nearly identical to his career numbers in the minors. Since 2006, he's spent all of his time in the minors playing in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
In Quintanilla, the Mets get another middle infielder in the organization as a backup. Given his defensive performance thus far at short, he figures to be in line to fill in should Ruben Tejada get injured during the season. In the meantime, he can either spend time playing regularly in Buffalo or sit on the Mets' bench as a late-inning defensive replacement and spot starter at either short or second. It's a reasonable, rather unexciting signing by Sandy Alderson.