Mar 4, 2010, 3:40 PM EDT
Despite varying reports about his health status Kelvim Escobar seems likely to begin the season on the disabled list, so the Mets have smartly added another right-handed reliever by signing Kiko Calero to a minor-league contract.
Calero is 35 years old and also has a lengthy history of arm injuries, but the fact that he managed only a minor-league deal after posting a 1.95 ERA with 69 strikeouts and a .180 opponents’ batting average in 60 innings last season is pretty amazing.
He’s a big risk because that modest workload actually represented a career-high for Calero and he logged a grand total of just 4.2 innings in 2008, but when healthy he’s consistently been a quality setup man. Calero typically works in the high-80s with his fastball, but his low-80s slider is among the best in baseball and he’s racked up 324 strikeouts in 302.2 career innings along with a 3.24 ERA.
Given their recent track record with keeping players healthy Calero may give the Mets’ training staff a lot of trouble, but he’s an excellent low-cost pickup with a chance to make a big impact in a late-inning role.
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