Mets End Offseason Moves Sign Schoeneweis and Sosa
by: Patrick Hickey, Jr. | Senior Writer - NY Sports Day | Wednesday, January 17, 2007

They may not have signed Barry Zito, Mark Mulder or Jeff Suppan this offseason, but after announcing the signing of pitchers Jorge Sosa and Scott Schoeneweis on Tuesday, the Mets seem to be done making moves for now and seem primed to get the 2007 season started.

Splitting last season with the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cincinnati Reds, Schoeneweis pitched in 71 games, producing a mediocre 4.88 ERA with four saves in six opportunities. During his career, which spans eight seasons with the Angels, White Sox, Blue Jays and Reds, he hasnít faired much better, holding a 43-47 career record with a 5.01 ERA. Despite those numbers, Schoeneweis seemed like a different pitcher with the Reds last season, sparking interest from several teams this offseason, including the Yankees.

In 16 appearances with the Reds in 2006, the journeyman lefthander only gave up one run and nine hits in 14 innings worth of work in his first tour of duty in the National League, proving to the Mets that he may be effective in role similar to the one occupied by Chad Bradford last season. As a matter of fact, the Mets were so impressed by the play of the 33-year-old last season that they locked him up for three seasons, signing him to a deal worth $10.8 million.

"We've been after him for a while," the Mets general manager Omar Minaya told MLB.com. "Statistically, our left-handed relief is as good as there in the game."

"I want to play for a winning team, have the opportunity to win. It makes it a lot more fun during the season," Schoeneweis told the Associated Press over the phone after the deal was made public. "I haven't played at Shea, but I've been in New York numerous times, and I've always been excited to come here and play."

In signing Sosa, the Mets hope that pitching coach Rick Peterson can help bring him back to somewhere close to 2005 numbers, where he produced a 13-3 record with a sparking 2.55 ERA in 44 games with the Atlanta Braves. Having a disastrous year with the Braves and Cardinals last season, giving up 30 gopher balls in only 118 innings, the Santo Domingo-native looks to turn his career around with the Mets, providing long-relief help in the bullpen and a spot start if needed, much similar to what Darren Oliver did for the team last season. However, despite his pitching problems last season, the 29-year old managed to slug three homers in only 20 at-bats for the Braves providing he could hit as well as Oliver did for the Mets last season as well.

While his numbers may have scared off other teams, Minaya likes the flexibility he provides the staff.

"Jorge can start, pitch in the middle or at the end of the game," Minaya told MLB.com. "He gives us the flexibility that you like to have on your staff."

With the signings of Schoeneweis and Sosa, the Mets believe they have made up for the losses of Roberto Hernandez, Chad Bradford and Darren Oliver, entering spring training with a bevy of new arms competing for spots in the bullpen including Ambiorix Burgos, Jon Adkins, Jason Standridge and the returning Juan Padilla and look primed to reclaim their NL East crown.