Saturday, November 8, 2008

What about Graffanino....

Today at NY Baseball Digest they posted several interesting names who are minor league free agents, the one that stood out to me was Tony Graffanino.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not thinking of him as a starter but more replacing Easley (who won't be back at 39 y/o) as a role player/bench position. A one year league min. with incentive deal (coming back from an injury)or minor league contract with a invite to spring training.
There were a lot of rumors circulating in 2006 that the Mets were interested in bringing in Graffanino as insurance at 2B. At the time there was no confidence in Kaz, both Ahern and Valentin were unknown commodities, and Aaron Boone was also in camp trying to make a comeback on a minor league deal.
In 2005 for Boston Graffanino hit .309 in 51 games all at 2B but at the end of the season the Sox put him on waivers ( he was the goat of the playoffs making a critical error- even though the series was a sweep) and many thought it was a no brainer for the Mets to pick him up.

Much like this year with Castillo, Kaz was on a big contract and I believe Omar was unwilling to give out too many major league contracts for one position. He ended up signing a major league deal and hit .274 /.345/.406. In 2007 with the Brewers he had the worst offensive year of his career hitting .238 in 86 games before completely destroying his knee.

Out for the second half of 2007 and most of 2008, in mid-June he signed a minor league deal with the Indians to rehab with the Buffalo Bisons ( at the time the Indians AAA Affiliate). Eventually he returned to play in 25 games for the Bisons hitting .315/.384/.416, playing all four infield positions.

Graffanino is a 36 y/o native New Yorker who is primarily a second baseman but has spent significant major league time at all four in-field positions. He is a lifetime .267 /.336 /.396 and in 15 post season games hit .230 / OBP .333 overall, but in two NLCS series he hit .273/.385. It appears by his .315 AAA average last year that he's fully recovered.

If Castillo returns and struggles, Graff could easily be plugged into the position but off the bench he could spell all four in-field positions along with play left field while being a right handed bat off the bench. He would provide veteran leadership, with large market and playoff experience along with being a good clubhouse figure. Not only does he have decent pop in his bat but judging by his MYSpace bio he would be perfect fit for Manuel's offense....

Anthony Joseph Graffanino is my name. I was born on June 6,1972 in Amityville, New York. I am a infielder in Major League Baseball currently playing for the Cleveland indians i am primarily a contact hitter (just 466 strikeouts in 2703 big-league at-bats) i am able to get on base (career .336 OBP) – and my speed is above average, with 53 stolen bases in 78 attempts. I excel as a situational hitter, being capable of hitting behind the runner and dropping down a bunt. As a fielder, I have the ability to play every infield position and left field. I have an above-average arm, which helps me in the LF and on the left side of the infield. source Tony Graffanino Myspace

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