Former Met reliever Ron Villone signed with the Washington Nationals yesterday. The 39 year old lefty was released by the Mets at the end of spring training. The deal with Washington is a minor league deal, as he had with the Mets, and he’s expected to report to the Nationals Triple-A team the Tidewater Tides.
Yesterday the Mets announced that they were releasing Ron Villone. As I wrote when they signed him at the end of February, it hasn’t looked like Villone has had much left for a few years now. His 10.80 ERA in 5 innings of work just solidifed that opinion for me.
Nelson Figueroa, Jose Valentin, Rene Rivera, and Andy Green were reassigned to the minor league camp. Carlos Muniz and Cory Sullivan were optioned to Triple-A Buffalo.
It looks like Jeremy Reed will be the fifth outfielder and Pedro Feliciano will be the only lefty in the bullpen. Bobby Parnell will likely make the major league roster to start the season. Its always nice to see some homegrown talent make it to the majors. But Parnell will need to prove that he belongs on the major league team by getting off to a good start in April.
I still believe that its going to become a problem with only one lefty in the bullpen. If you look at the Phillies’ heavy left-handed hitting lineup, the Mets need to match up against that lineup in the bullpen. If Feliciano is having an off-day, which he is prone to occasionally, the Mets need a backup plan to get lefties out. Will Ohman is still out there as a free agent. He’s rumored to be looking for a 1-year/$2 million deal which is far too much money for the Mets to spend on a reliever at this point. As the season starts, Ohman may reduce his demands as Joe Beimel did just to get back to playing again.
The Mets decided to let Valerio De Los Santos go despite liking what the lefty brought to the table. He had a good power arm and worked well with the Mets younger pitchers. He pitched in 4 games this spring to a 4.15 ERA. It’s surprising that they couldn’t find a spot at Triple-A Buffalo for him. Ron Villone looked awful against the Tigers today. I just don’t see him filling the situational lefty role for the Mets this season with any kind of success. So far this spring he has a 10.80 ERA in 5 games.
In other news, the Cardinals waived former Met reliever Royce Ring. He’s always had decent success against left handed hitters (.229 BAA for his career). Although he only pitched in a small number of games for the Mets, he did have a good run in 2007. Last year he was terrible for the Braves though. But I think he could certainly compete against Ron Villone for the lefty specialist role in the Mets bullpen. It would be worth checking into if he clears waivers to see if the Mets can get him to agree to a minor league contract.
Ron Villone signed a minor league contract to compete for the second lefty spot out of the bullpen. I’m not sure how much value he adds to the Mets. He did appear in 74 games last season for the Cardinals pitching to 4.68 ERA and 1.640 WHIP.
Villone is a Jersey guy and just turned 39 years old last month. We’ll have to see where this goes but the last few times I saw him pitch he didn’t look like he had that much left in the tank.