Mets sign MVP's, others
The New York Mets today announced the signing of six players to minor league contracts with invitations to major league spring training. The list includes 2008 International League Most Valuable Player and All-Time Toledo Mud Hens Home Run King INF Mike Hessman and 2009 Buffalo Bisons Most Valuable Player, OF Jesus Feliciano.
Two-time International League All-Star INF Mike Cervenak has also been signed by the Mets as well as INF Russ Adams, INF Andy Green and RHP R.A. Dickey.
Hessman, 31, has spent the last five seasons in Detroit’s organization, playing 29 games with the Tigers and 591 games with the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens. The Mud Hens’ All-Time Home Run King hit 140 homers in a Toledo uniform, more than twice as many as any other player in the team’s 113-year history (Erve Beck, 67, 1896-1900).
Last season, Hessman hit .217 with 30 doubles, 23HR and 77RBI in 131 games with Toledo. In 2008, Hessman was named the International League MVP after hitting .271 with 20 doubles, a league-best 34HR and 72RBI in just 108 games with the Mud Hens. Prior to that, Hessman was an IL All-Star after leading the league with 101RBI in 2007.
Hessman has hit 311 home runs in 1,556 career minor league games. He has also averaged 28 home runs over the past five seasons. In 77 career major league games with Atlanta (2003, 2004) and Detroit (2007, 2008), he has averaged .208 (35-168) with 13HR and 27RBI. Hessman also won a bronze medal while playing for Team USA in the 2009 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.
Feliciano, 30, spent the entire 2009 season with the Bisons and was named the team’s Stan Barron Most Valuable Player. In 130 games, the outfielder collected an International League-best 154 hits. His .311 batting average ranked 5th in the IL. Feliciano also led the Bisons team in runs (57), doubles (30), stolen bases (13) and multi-hit games (38).
Cervenak, 33, has spent the past two seasons with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs and was named to the International League All-Star Team in each campaign. He hit .311 with 30 doubles, 10HR and 66RBI in 115 games with Lehigh Valley in 2008 and .305 with 36 doubles, 9HR and 77RBI in 119 games with the IronPigs last season. In 2007, Cervenak led the IL with 157 hits while playing for the Norfolk Tides.
In 1,126 career minor league games, Cervenak has averaged .295 with 142HR and 737RBI.
Adams, 29, split last season between the Toronto Blue Jays’ and San Diego Padres’ organizations. After hitting .319 with 1HR and 9RBI in 24 games with Triple-A Las Vegas, Adams was promoted to the Blue Jays for eight games (.200, 4-20). He was then claimed off waivers by the Padres in early July and hit .267 with 1HR and 12RBI in 36 games with Triple-A Portland of the Pacific Coast League.
Originally a 1st round draft pick of the Blue Jays in 2002, Adams has a career .247 average with 17HR and 113RBI in 286 games with Toronto. He played a career-high 139 games with the Blue Jays in 2005 and hit .256 with 27 doubles, 8HR and 63RBI that season.
Green, 32, spent the majority of the 2009 season with the Bisons but lost 69 games due two a pair of injuries. He began the year on the disabled list with a left oblique strain and then missed May, June and half of July with a fractured left thumb. While in the lineup, Green hit .259 with 7 doubles, 4HR and 20RBI in 50 games with the Bisons.
Dickey, 35, split last season between the Minnesota Twins and their Triple-A affiliate in Rochester. The knuckleballer spent the first four months of the season at the major league level and was 1-1 with a 4.62ERA in 35 games and one start (64.1IP, 85K). He spent the last month of the year with the Red Wings and was 2-1 with a 5.13ERA in five starts (33.1IP, 40K).
Originally a 1st round draft pick of the Texas Rangers in 1996, Dickey has a career record of 22-28 with a 5.43ERA in 144 games and 48 starts at the major league level with Texas, Seattle and Minnesota. In 2007, he was named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year after going 13-6 with a 3.72ERA in 31 games and 22 starts with Milwaukee’s Triple-A affiliate, the Nashville Sounds.
Dickey is also a former Olympian, having won bronze with Team USA in the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.