Mets finally sign Fred Lewis

Longtime readers of this site may remember that it advocated the Mets’ acquisition of outfielder before both the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Well it seems like someone in the team’s front office is finally combing the TedQuarters archives for ideas (or, way more likely, combing the waiver wires for outfielders), as the Mets signed Lewis to a Minor League deal yesterday.

With Jason Bay and Andres Torres out, the Mets are in something of a pinch for outfielders. They’ve got Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Scott Hairston and Mike Baxter in the mix now and Terry Collins has said he’s willing to use converted infielder Jordany Valdespin in the outfield as well. Presumably if Torres returns as expected on Sunday, Valdespin will return to Triple-A or be used exclusively as a backup middle infielder, with Nieuwenhuis starting in left field and Hairston and Baxter serving as the team’s fourth and fifth outfielders.

But Lewis is 31 and was a useful Major Leaguer as recently as 2010. He can hit a bit, especially against righties, play good defense in the corners and fill in at center in a pinch. Don’t be surprised if he torches the ball in Triple-A and winds up with the big-league club whenever the Mets next need an outfielder. He’s not on the 40-man roster, so it would require some shuffling, but that’s down the road.

The Mets also signed Brad Emaus, which drew more headlines because he was their Opening Day second baseman last year as a Rule 5 draft pick and LOLMets. With Valdespin and Zach Lutz on the Major League team, the Triple-A Bisons have been stretched thin in the infield, so Emaus helps there. But his 14-game audition in 2011 shouldn’t be taken to mean he’ll never contribute anything at the big-league level. He’s done his Triple-A mashing in hitters’ heavens in Las Vegas and Colorado Springs, but if he can hack it at Buffalo, maybe he’ll have a future as a Major League reserve infielder.

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