The Mets signed Omar Quintanilla to a Minor League contract today, according to ESPNNewYork.com.
The Mets should be pursuing a good-gloved backup middle infielder. Even if you’re excited about Daniel Murphy’s ability to eventually handle second base, you must recognize the reasons for skepticism: Very few players have successfully made mid-career shifts to tougher defensive position, and Murphy has endured season-ending injuries at the keystone in consecutive seasons.
Plus, young Ruben Tejada is hardly a known quantity at shortstop and Justin Turner isn’t the world’s rangiest backup middle infielder, so it would behoove the Mets to find a suitable glove man as a hedge in case any one of the three falters.
What’s frustrating about the Wilson and Cedeno rumors is that neither can hit even a little. But then I suppose if there were a good-fielding middle infielder available on the free-agent market who could hit even a little, he’d a) be looking for a starting job and b) be too rich for the Mets’ tastes.
Quintanilla spent parts of five seasons with the Rockies from 2005-09, during which he posted offensive numbers that made the Colorado faithful yearn for the days of Neifi Perez. The guy has been Rafael Belliard bad at the plate in his Major League career, rocking a stunning .213/.268/.284 line. Rockies fan Ted Burke reports Quintanilla always looked solid defensively, which you’d have to assume given the “production.”
The small, pathetic glimmer of Mets-fan hope to Quintanilla’s offense rests with the fact that he’s never been nearly so awful in the Minors. His numbers have been bolstered by some very favorable hitting environments, but he has a career .308/.370/.445 line on the farm. His .298/.369/.452 line at Round Rock in 2011 was a touch better than league average for the ridiculous Pacific Coast League, but the ol’ MiLB equivalency calculator doesn’t seem to be functioning right now. Also, for what it’s worth: He hits left-handed.
If I had to guess, I’d bet Quintanilla’s signing is for Minor League depth — someone to make fancy plays behind Matt Harvey and join the Mets only in case of emergency. But then it wouldn’t be surprising at all if he outhit Jack Wilson at whatever level in 2012, so if it comes down to signing Wilson for some non-zero sum or using Quintanilla in that role with fingers crossed…
Oh man. The 2012 Mets, huh?