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Jose Mesa reaches deal to pitch for Tigers in 19th season

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Jose Mesa reaches deal to pitch for Tigers in 19th season

Postby Dannomyte » Sun Dec 10, 2006 10:36 pm

Veteran reliever Jose Mesa has reached preliminary agreement on a one-year contract with the Detroit Tigers that will pay him about $2.5 million, two baseball sources said Sunday.

The deal will be completed when Mesa passes a physical exam this week, the sources said.

Mesa, a 40-year-old right-hander, ranks 13th on baseball's career list with 320 saves. He went 1-5 with a 3.86 ERA last year for the Colorado Rockies in his 18th major-league season.

The Tigers, who have Todd Jones as their closer and the hard-throwing Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney in setup roles, were looking to add a veteran arm to their bullpen. They're also interested in acquiring a left-handed reliever after losing Jamie Walker to Baltimore through free agency.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2693447


I really don't know what to make of this signing. Mesa hasn't been very good for a few years and the Tigers seemed to be set in the pen besides a lefty. Does this mean they are planning on going with the lefties they have or is there a trade on the horizon?? I've read rumors of Todd Jones being traded but I didn't put much in to them. I hate the thought of having Jones and Mesa in the pen together.

The more I think about this signing the less sense it makes :-o
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Postby Dannomyte » Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:28 am

After reading more about Mesa in todays Freep and News I feel a little better about this signing. Here are a few things.

Talk with those who studied Mesa in Colorado and they'll tell you Detroit got a bargain for one year and $2.5 million.

They say he has the arm and upper body of a man at least 10 years younger, thanks to an extraordinary physical regimen: up at 6 a.m. and workouts until noon during the offseason; heavy-duty long-tossing in the outfield every day -- even after he has pitched -- during the regular season, all to go with two effective pitches: a fastball that tops out at 93 mph and a solid slider/cutter. He also works low in the strike zone.


"His stuff's very good and he's a quality individual," Dombrowski said. "He closed for Lloyd McClendon (former Pirates manager and now Detroit's hitting coach) and Mac really likes him. Anybody you speak with about Jose Mesa talks in glowing terms."


Mesa is one of those Rogers-style mentors who enjoys working with young pitchers and impressing upon them the merits of conditioning, such as his 200-feet, on-a-line long tosses. The guy is a serious physical disciplinarian.

He also is regarded as incredibly knowledgeable and as the kind of locker-room elder the Tigers love.


Manager Jim Leyland said in a telephone interview that Mesa would be slotted for the sixth inning, but that he could be used in the seventh if Fernando Rodney or Joel Zumaya weren't available.

"We wanted to get another veteran to give us some stability and to help Zumaya and Rodney along in case they need days off," Leyland said. "He's kind of an insurance policy, another veteran arm.

"I'm tickled to have him. We think it's a nice fit for our bullpen."


There could be a market for Jones, especially once free-agent closer Eric Gagne signs, but Dombrowski said it would be "completely off base" to speculate the Tigers might now consider dealing Jones.

"Todd Jones is our closer," Leyland said.

When reached via e-mail Monday night, Jones wrote that Mesa would make a "huge contribution" next year. "He's competitive and a true pro. He's a monster in the weight room. He's fluent in Spanish and English. ... He can do all of our jobs, from the sixth inning to the end of the game. He will be very important for this team."

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Postby mcqfesijiba » Tue Dec 12, 2006 8:40 pm

Eh, bullpen depth and experience. I don't really like Mesa a ton either, but he's as good as at least a couple of players that are already on the 40 man roster.

I can't imagine them trading Jones yet, unless the team gets an offer that they just can't refuse.
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Postby ScarletP » Wed Dec 13, 2006 2:17 pm

One year ago I was scratching my head at the Rogers and Jones signings. They turned out to be okay signings. I'm not going to question Dombrowski's moves any more.
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Postby moochman » Fri Jan 05, 2007 3:16 am

I can't see Mesa doing much for us. Would much rather have seen them try and sign Gange. He signed a one year deal that wasn't outrageous. I would think they Tigers would have looked pretty inviting.
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Postby mcqfesijiba » Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:01 pm

moochman wrote:I can't see Mesa doing much for us. Would much rather have seen them try and sign Gange. He signed a one year deal that wasn't outrageous. I would think they Tigers would have looked pretty inviting.
I think Gagne wanted to close. Some guys have priorities other than winning (enjoy your money, Jamie Walker, haha). I don't think his chances would have been as good to close for the Tigers as they are with Texas (he's already been named their closer). Although, since the Tigers got Mesa, I would hope that they at least looked towards Gagne.

I see Mesa as an expensive 11th or 12th guy in the bullpen with some experience. Probably won't have much impact on the team one way or the other, but if Leyland wanted Mesa, then let him have him. Not a big Mesa fan myself, but I'll take him over Neifi...haha
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