Free Kevin Melillo
Kevin Melillo is a year younger (26) than Jose Bautista. He also has “a little pop” in his bat (career slugging percentage of .470 in the minors). He doesn’t hit for much average, but he walks. And he also only hits lefties, with an OPS vs. RHP of .842 and .868 the last two years in AAA, which is the only possible justification for holding on to Bautista, right?
I’m not sure about Melillo’s glove – he used to be criticized for it, but then he lead the Texas league in 2006 in fielding percentage. Which of course is a relatively useless stat, but shows he was improving in some way. Bautista on the other hand was -11 in 267 innings in 2006 (hard to do!!), a putrid -22 (ranked 32 in the league) in 2007, and -4 last year (22nd) using fancy dancy fielding metrics.
Ok, Melillo is kind of crap. A bona fide AAAA talent. But you know what? He’d play for the minimum, and he’s already in the goddamn system. We acquired him last season from Oakland for cash considerations and outrighted him down to AAA in October. But he didn’t even get a spring training invite and we just handed Bautista 2.4 million dollars.
Sure a two million dollar difference isn’t typically enough to get upset over, but on this market, and with a TON of free agents out there who have to be getting nervous, I’d say it’s almost half of a really decent player. A Giambi? Hudson? I dunno. Get creative. As the start of the season approaches and real players start to sign for embarrassing amounts, take solace – at least the Jays shored up the role of backup third baseman who only hits against lefties and is otherwise consistently below league average in every way while one was still available.
Next week: A comprehensive list of relievers who would be willing to be abandoned in the bullpen for less money than Jason Frasor.