Last week we took a look at interesting list of minor league free agents that the Mets have inked this winter. But with every ebb comes a flow, which means there's been a whole bunch of players who have left the organization on minor league deals this offseason.
Now we've heard more than enough about the Paulinos and Igarashis of the world -- at least I have -- but what about the guys that fly a little bit lower on the radar? And then how about the actual minor leaguers who decided not to re-up with the organization?
While not all of them will have a major impact in 2012 or beyond, the Mets have lost at least a handful of interesting players that we shouldn't be surprised to see have some success elsewhere.
Let's take a look:
1B Nick Evans - Definitely not under the radar here at AA, we all remember remember where we were when one of the most underappreciated and inconspicuous players in Mets history slunk his way out the back door. Too bad as Evans finally got what was his most extended look since 2008 last August and thrived, batting .366 with a ~1.000 OPS. It should be noted that Evans only surpassed 40 plate appearances in a month twice during his career with the Mets and in both months he crushed, posting an .800+ OPS. The dude can clearly hit; and ESPN's Mark Simon eulogized Evans' departure with an interesting look at his potential defensive value going forward as well. Either way, Evans looks to be an improvement for a Pittsburgh club that could use it and I for one will be rooting hard for him. I still remember that three-double debut in Colorado like it was yesterday...
- OF Jason Pridie - Friend of the site Jason Pridie moved onto greener pastures after his first full season in the majors, playing the part of the Mets fourth outfielder for much of 2011. And he served the office reasonably well, fulfilling the first prerequisite of strong defense -- boosted by excellent range -- while showcasing surprising pop at times and posting a .700+ OPS in four of his six months with the club. Unfortunately, his inability against lefties and high strikeout tendencies led to periods of extreme underproduction, which likely precludes him from a starting job. And though his agent told us that he did receive a verbal offer from the Mets, Sandy & Co. clearly saw him as replaceable. With a spring training site just minutes from his hometown, Oakland offered a better path to major league at bats and so he justifiably left. But like Evans, I'll remember his time with the club well and I'll be rooting for Pridie come 2012.
- SS Chin Lung Hu - And just to prove that I don't fall in love with every former prospect who didn't get much of a chance, along comes Chin-Lung Hu. I suppose I should say 'there goes Chin-Lung Hu'. The former BA 55th overall prospect in '08 and 2010 'out of options' swap -- Sandy's first trade as Mets GM -- Hu tanked hard in 2011. He looked bad in spring training, was awful with the Mets in April, with the Bisons in May/June and after developing the yips throwing to first, was terrible for even the GCL Mets in August. Then in January he signed a deal with Cleveland. But don't feel too bad as his counterpart 26-yr old Michael Antonini wasn't anything special for the Dodgers Double-A club in 2011.
- LHP Pat Misch - After a few years of steadfast service -- and assumingly lots of Buffalo wings -- the 30-yr old Misch finally took the hint when he was DFA'd for the 95th time and instead of a return trip to Western New York declared for free agency. He signed a minor league deal with the Phils soon after. Misch isn't anything special but he did post a solid 3.82 ERA in twelve games -- six starts -- in 2010, earned the Bisons MVP that same year and who could forget that impressive CG shutout against the Marlins in late '09?
- OF Jesus Feliciano - Ah Jesus Feliciano, the 31-yr old rookie and media darling that seemed to come up with just about every big hit in the first half of 2010. He'd bat .291 as the Mets primary pinch hitter before the ASB that year and you must admit that the trip down to his native PR to play the Marlins was particularly special. However, the problem was that nearly every one of those hits was a single as he featured zero power. And once even those disappeared as he batted a putrid .170 in the second half in 2010, his limitations became crystal clear. He did not appear with the big club in 2011. I'll remember his Triple-A run at .400 with fondness as he'll be fighting his continually uphill battle with the Rays in 2012.
- LHP Michael O'Connor - After posting a nice 2.67 ERA with the Bisons in 2010, the 31-yr old former Nats prospect earned an early season shot last year. He actually wasn't bad, posting a 2.70 ERA in May/June but ultimately looked pretty unspectacular and fell victim to the numbers game. While he's shown decent spilts against lefties, his stuff just isn't that good as evidenced by his 5.22 ERA at Triple-A in 2011. He'll be pitching in the Yankees system in 2012.
- RHP Jose De La Torre - The diminutive 26-yr old righty (5'9", 175 lbs) is known to those familiar with the farm system as a guy who isn't exactly sexy but gets the job done. Featuring low 90's heat and decent command, all De la Torre has done is post a 2.85 career minor league ERA, including 2.36 in Triple-A. Yet he's been eligible and passed over for numerous Rule 5 drafts and missed much of 2011 with a shoulder issue. Nonetheless, he is one of those guys you expect to hang in one of the last spots of a bullpen as a cheap, yet effective option for the middle innings once he gets his shot, which will come with Cleveland in '12. Not a huge loss but he was probably more useful to the 2012 Mets than anyone on this list and like many guys, definitely more useful than DJ Carrasco.
- OF Brahiam Maldonado - After seven years in the Mets' organization, the 26-yr old outfielder has moved on, signing a minor league deal with Atlanta. Drafted in the tenth round back in '04, Maldonado is a good example of the consistently fruitless attempts by former Farm Director Rudy Terrasas to draft in Puerto Rico. Topping out at Double-A, Maldonado has good power -- see, 49 homers over the past two seasons -- but his lifetime ~4:1 K-to-BB rate has thoroughly relegated him to org filler status.
- 1B Stefan Welch - The Mets are not a club that has been active in Australia over the past decade, featuring virtually no players from there aside from Welch. Regardless, the 23-yr old from Adelaide was signed as an international free agent back in '06 right out of high school. And though for most of his career he didn't feature enough power to play first at the highest levels, he did hit 16 bombs in 2011 -- though that was in his third try at the league. Again, he'll likely be org filler for the Pirates.
- RHP John Holdzkom - Yet another in a career full of of missteps by Terrasas, Holdzkom was a surprise fourth round pick back in '06. He wasn't a complete unknown due to plus-plus arm strength and the ability to reach the high 90's as a teenager; but little to no control as well as serious makeup issues dictated a later round. Regardless Terrasas took him and not surprisingly it was more of the same throughout his Mets career, with the injury factor sprinkled in as well. The 23-yr old Holdzkom pitched only 126 total innings in five seasons with the club and after being cut loose last fall signed a deal to join this spring.
- RHP John Maine - I know that he wasn't a Met anymore, but I'm still keeping an eye on him. And apparently so are the Red Sox who inked him to a minor league deal this winter because he's apparently 'fully healthy'. Good luck with that one.
- As long as we're on former Mets, Anderson Hernandez followed the trend by signing with Pittsburgh. 2009 flash in the pan Fernando Nieve went back home to Houston. And the once fearsome Omir Santos re-upped with the Tigers; remember that time when the Mets might have actually been able to get something of use in return for him? Well played as always Omar.