The Mets added to their pitching depth on Monday morning when they announced the signing of A.J. Griffin to a minor league deal. The right-handed pitcher was effective as a starter for two big league seasons in Oakland, but was much less so for Texas after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014.
Last year, Griffin was pretty dreadful in his second season for the Rangers. He had a 5.94 ERA and 1.34 WHIP with 61 strikeouts, 28 walks, and a whopping 20 home runs allowed. That’s a lot of tater tots, even for an extreme fly-ball pitcher like Griffin. Hopefully the shift to a more pitcher-friendly environment like Citi Field will help Griffin get his act together, but it’s easy to imagine him getting lit up in Las Vegas before he even makes it to Queens.
That’s why Griffin is on a low-risk minor league contract. The Mets and Griffin are hoping that a change in environment can prompt a return to his performance of 2012 and 2013, when he made a name for himself in the Bay Area. After a strong debut campaign in 2012, the San Diego native threw his only full season in 2013, completing 200 innings and posting a 3.83 ERA despite 36 home runs allowed.
If Griffin can keep his walks down and limit the damage that occurs when the ball leaves the yard, he has a chance to become productive again and work his way into New York’s 2018 plans.