The Royals and free-agent RHP Clay Buchholz agreed Monday to a minor-league deal that will pay him $1.5 million if he is promoted to the 25-man roster, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
In the event Buchholz is not on the 25-man roster by May 1, he can opt out of the contract, return to being a free agent and sign with a different team.
This is the exact type of deal I'd like to see Sandy Alderson give to free-agent RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, which I explained in detail here.
In 2012, Jimenez was 9-17 with a 5.40 ERA. In 2013, he teamed up with Mickey Callaway and went went 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA.
Jimenez parlayed his brief success with Callaway into a four-year, $50 million contract with the Orioles, with whom he was a terrible 32-42 with a 5.22 ERA while making at least 25 starts each season.
I've heard through back channels that Jimenez is eager to reunite with Callaway, who is now managing the Mets, because of how Callaway was able to maximize the effectiveness of Jimenez's slider and curve ball, which (as recently as last season) were still among the best in baseball... especially when pitching in strategically-chosen relief opportunities.
At this late point in the winter, the only other available free-agent pitcher ready for action and likely to accept a minor-league deal is Scott Feldman...
And in the event Alderson wants more depth, he could offer up a minor-league deal to Jimenez.
It's worth noting that Jimenez looked great pitching in relief last season, albeit against just 72 batters. However, during that time on the mound, he struck out 21 batters and walked four as opponents hit just .217 against him.
In signing Jimenez, who would cost very little of Alderson's reserve cash, the Mets could get an extra arm to lean on in case of injury to the rotation, as well as a potential reliever who seems to have a strong appreciation and connection to Callaway. Or, Alderson can sit tight, hope Vargas returns as expected and everyone else remains in what appears to be the best shape of their careers.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!