Apparently Brian Wilson isn’t the only relief pitcher that the Mets have had their eye on lately. This afternoon the team announced that right-handed reliever Scott Atchison had been signed to a Minor League contract with an invitation to spring training.
Atchison is 36 years old and spent the last three seasons pitching for Boston. In 2012, he threw for a career-best 1.51 ERA in 51.1 innings with 36 strikeouts and just nine walks. Obviously, expecting a repeat of those figures would be extremely optimistic, but the Mets would probably happy if Atchison could just maintain his career ERA of 3.48, especially considering the injury he suffered last season.
In July, Atchison partically tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He decided not to have surgery and was able to return in September to pitch 5.1 innings with zero runs allowed. Naturally, some of Atchison’s prospective suitors were worried by the UCL injury, but the Mets felt he was worth the risk.
“Some teams were pretty cautious with the elbow,” Atchison said Monday. “I think some of that was more to do with my age than anything, age and the elbow. It’s kind of like, ‘OK, well, you’re 36, going to be 37, and you do have this tear.’ Everybody knows about it, obviously.”
Atchison also said that he’s going to have a “pretty good” chance to make the Mets’ Opening Day roster. That makes sense, considering that Frank Francisco, Bobby Parnell, and Josh Edgin appear to be the only three locks to be in the bullpen on April 1. In fact, MLBDepthCharts.com has already projected Atchison to be on the Opening Day roster.
Obviously, this minor league deal does not mean that Brian Wilson or anyone else is out of the picture for the Mets, so stay tuned to see how the bullpen situation continues to develop.