With the giant contract of disappointing outfielder Jason Bay partially off their backs, the New York Mets are now free to make some big, eventful signings that will help the team for years into the future…right?
Perhaps those deals will come at a later date, because while the Mets did ink a new player to a contract recently, the deal isn’t particularly, well, impressive.
The team signed relief pitcher Greg Burke to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training Wednesday, according to MLB.com.
The 30-year-old spent 2012 in the Baltimore Orioles system, going a combined 3-1 with 17 saves and a 1.53 ERA in 44 appearances for Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk. In 64.2 innings, he allowed only 46 hits while striking out 50 batters.
The big right-hander posted a 4.14 ERA in 48 relief appearances for the San Diego Padres in 2009, his first and only stint in the big leagues. In 45.2 innings, he was 3-3 with 23 walks and 48 hits allowed. His 13 games finished tied for third-most on the team.
He was originally signed by San Diego as an amateur free-agent out of the independent Atlantic League in 2006.
While not a big name, Burke is a useful depth signing—he gives the Mets options at the Triple-A level.
If the Mets bullpen falters this upcoming season, as it did in 2012, Burke and pitchers like him will be called upon to shore up the beleaguered relief staff, which had the second-worst bullpen ERA in the major leagues last year (4.65).