What do Jason Bay and Mike Sweeney have in common? They both have seen their talents seemingly diminished in the public eye due to the markets they have played in. Jason Bay is now getting the recognition that he deserves for being a really good baseball player. Mike Sweeney on the other hand, will never be remembered for more than a pretty good player, who played on lousy Royals teams, and no one ever said much about him. But now, Sweeney has yet another chance to redeem himself as a baseball player.
Injury riddled, unnoticed when he actually was healthy, Sweeney has, believe it or not, encountered some really good years. But who knew? I did. But I spent many years reading the USA Today’s baseball statistics and Sweeney fell in on some of the leaderboards for a few years there. Sweeney actually batted .333 in 2000, do you remember that? And get this, as crummy as the Royals have been for a long time, Sweeney actually drove in 144 runs that season. 144! No one associates RBI totals like that coming from Kansas City. Ok, there were actually a few players on that team; Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran, Jermaine Dye. Base runners actually existed on their basepaths–unlike today. But still, as flawed as RBI’s can be, I know that someone who ends up with 144 of them, probably just had a very successful year.
But that isn’t all. Sweeney had seven straight seasons with an OPS+ of 117 or greater. Mild problem, some of those seasons Sweeney missed some time. But at least while he was on the field, he was a good player. Health has been an issue for a long, unfortunately. Only once has he played more than 108 games in the last six years (122 in 2005). Billy Beane took a chance on him last season, the chance did not end up being a successful one. But now, since I haven’t said it yet, Mike Sweeney gets another chance with the Seattle Mariners…
Sure, it is a minor league deal, but it is something. I have been kind of hoping that Sweeney could stay healthy and get back somewhere near where he used to be (Don’t ask me why, just cheering for the guy I guess). Doubtful that he does end up being productive, I know. But Sweeney is 35, not 40, and hopefully he can move up the ladder, and get some playing time with what will probably be a team out of contention. This move really is just about meaningless as far as helping the Seattle Mariners field a contender. But for Mike Sweeney, well, let us just hope for the best. And a very unlikely scenario, but maybe, just maybe, Sweeney stays healthy, hits decent enough, and the Mariners dish him off to a contender at the deadline so he has a chance to play on a winning team.