Sweeney, Escobar Discuss Retirement

It's no secret that veterans Mike Sweeney and Kelvim Escobar are nearing the end of their major league careers, but as both of these players discussed on Wednesday, their last days in the majors might have already occurred.

FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi reports that Sweeney will retire if he isn't on a major league roster by opening day.  The 15-year veteran signed a minor league deal with Seattle last month but told Morosi that he has no interest in going back to the minors or in taking a coaching job.  If Sweeney doesn't make the Mariners, he would try to catch on with another club and "would give priority to West Coast teams" so he could be closer to his family in San Diego. 

The injury-plagued Sweeney hasn't had more than 289 plate appearances in a season since 2005, but could still provide a team with a solid pinch-hitting option.  Sweeney hit .340/.377/.434 in 114 plate appearances against right-handers last season, and over his career has had success against both lefties and righties (.864 career OPS vs. RHP, .827 OPS vs. LHP).  Looking just at west coast options, the Angels could be in need of a right-handed compliment at DH if Hideki Matsui needs a day off.

Escobar, meanwhile, may have his career ended not by lack of opportunity, but by injury.  David Waldstein of the New York Times reports that Escobar has been bothered by shoulder pain following a four-week break from pitching after his stint in the Venezuelan winter league.  Such an injury is of particular concern to Escobar given that he has pitched just five major league innings since 2007 due to a number of shoulder problems and labrum surgery in July 2008.  Waldstein says that Escobar will get an MRI if the pain continues, and the right-hander is willing to undergo one more surgical procedure if doctors give him a decent chance of pitching again.  If not, then Escobar said he will call it a career after 12 seasons in the bigs.

Escobar signed a $1.5MM contract with the Mets in December, so it wouldn't be a major financial blow to the club if Escobar couldn't pitch.  It would, however, further weaken the already-thin New York bullpen and it certainly wouldn't look good on the Mets given the team's myriad of injuries last season.

21 Responses to Sweeney, Escobar Discuss Retirement Leave a Reply

  1. While I didn’t like the signing of Escobar in the first place, this wouldn’t hurt the Mets and their bullpen. It’s only Spring Training, bullpen arms are a dime a dozen. We just picked up Calero and hopefully Beimel or another lefty.

    And the only reason it wouldn’t look good on the Mets is because they knew he had major injury issues the past few years and they actually believed he could of been their 8th inning guy.

    • Guest 5 years ago

      I think the idea of having a healthy Escobar in the 8th inning is nice, but honestly, the Mets shouldn’t have taken a gamble on another injury prone pitcher. They already got rid of Stokes and who knows if Calero will remain healthy. They should have either traded for Rafael Soriano, signed Brandon Lyon, or Fernando Rodney. Mike Gonzalez was also out there but not for a cheap price.

      • jaydh 5 years ago

        all those options you suggested would have cost too much. there are plenty of options without escobar.

  2. Fredschickenshack 5 years ago

    when i think of the guys in our bullpen right now i dont even think of escobar, i forget hes even here bc we already know hes hurt / isnt playing right now but i see it as if he can play its only good, n if not n stays healthy no biggie, doesnt change anything, not like hes really in our plans right now anyway.

  3. Yankees10 5 years ago

    Wow I forgot all about Escobar going 18-7 in 2007, the year before the injury.

  4. I think the Orioles should look at trading for Belliard, which would free up a bench spot for Sweeney on the Dodgers and provide upgrades for everyone.

    • Ferrariman 5 years ago

      Dodgers can’t trade belliard till midseason sense he was signed as a free agent. Same with carroll. That’s the whole point of the TrADE DEADLINE

      • maristmetsfan 5 years ago

        i believe that the dodgers actually can trade belliard because they resigned him, they didnt sign him from another team, but i could definately be wrong.

      • It’s June 15th I believe, but even still, the Dodgers should look at Sweeney (I’m sure they have at some point) as an upgrade over a number of guys.

  5. $1846466 5 years ago

    I didn’t like the signing of Escobar either. However, I wouldn’t call the Mets bullpen thin. It is better than last season assuming everyone is healthy. There are question marks though. Nieve is supposed to be the long reliever (unless he beats out Niese for the #5). They also have a list of Takahashi, Fogg, Dessens (who wasn’t bad last season), Figueroa, Misch and Dickey to pick from for the long man. And most of the same list (excluding Fogg) for the #5. Parnell and Green may or may not get better. Feliciano is an above average lefty specialist. Calero is good if healthy. As can be said with K-Rod. They’d really bolster their pen by signing Beimel (or even Mahay) too.

  6. I guess it was pretty predictable Escobar would fall prey to injury. Maybe Smoltz would take a setup role? Bleh.

  7. Just_MLB 5 years ago

    everyone forgets parnell was lights out til manuel ran him out every other day…i think parnell has a legit shot at being the 8th inning man

  8. jaydh 5 years ago

    Igarashi will be considered the setup guy for now.

  9. jwsox 5 years ago

    first and foremost in a whitesox fan followed by the yankees after that i dont have a favorite team im simply a baseball fan and have favorite players…but i hope the mets are for once fully healthy when they need to be and run through the NL for no reason other than to upset the phillies

  10. Sidd Finch 5 years ago

    Two DHs on one team seems like a waste to me…

  11. mo2119 5 years ago

    Looks liek Sweeney will be on the Mariners starting roster cause he is hitting .769 with 6 hrs and 16 rbis!

  12. BK 5 years ago

    Escobar was exciting when he was a healthy Angel. Dude is a work horse but has got the short end of the stick at every stop in his major leauge career. I hope it works out.

  13. ryanisgoodlooking 5 years ago

    ya know how in MLBTR they throw-around the phrase the physical is “just a formality”. well its like that with the Mets doctors, because they never seem to find anything wrong with an injured player.

    • jaydh 5 years ago

      thats why they gave him a major league deal….o wait.

  14. CaseStreet 5 years ago

    Mark, how do you figure the Mets bullpen is weak when just the other day in the Mets Off-Season report, Tim said the bullpen was a strength despite Escobar’s continued injuries?

    I’d really like for you to explain how the Mets bullpen is weak, especially considering the other bullpens in the NL East.

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