Mets 101's Seven in Seven series returns in 2014 as our gift to you. Each week, the Mets 101 staff will begin a countdown of something related to the New York Mets ( i.e. best third baseman, worst defeat, etc.). We will begin our countdown on Tuesdays with the number seven and work all the way to number one. Inspired by the current free agent market, this week’s countdown looks at the best Mets signings under $1 Million since 2000. Today we begin the countdown with utilityman Fernando Tatis.
#7 – Fernando Tatis
When the New York Mets signed a then-32 year old Fernando Tatis to a minor league contract in 2007, he was coming off a season in the Baltimore Orioles organization that saw the eight-year MLB veteran play primarily in AAA ball for the first time in over a decade and looked to be on the downswing of his MLB career. Tatis spent all of the year with AAA New Orleans, logging 131 games while posting a .276 avergaed with 21 homers and 67 RBI. The effort was good enough to earn another minor league deal for 2008 and after an injury to Angel Pagan, the veteran finally received his call back to the bigs.
Primarily a corner infielder, Tatis took his place in the Mets outfield upon his recall, a position he'd only seen four games at previously while with the Orioles. Like a true pro, he adjusted on the fly and would go on to play both left and right field for the banged up Mets, totaling 71 games roaming the vast expanses of Citi Field.
Even more impressive was his bat, as the man who once hit two grand slams in one inning for the St. Louis Cardinals belted 11 homers and drove in 47 over 92 games, all while hitting at a .297 clip. Tatis had reinvented himself as a true utilityman and was rewarded with the 2008 Comeback Player of the Year by The Sporting News.
Tatis cashed in on his big year with a one-year, $1.7 Million deal from the Mets for 2009 and hit .282 with eight homers and 48 RBI in his second season with the big club. While he returned for 2010 at a reduced sum, Tatis' numbers fell off and was eventually designated for assignment after 41 games, effectively ending his MLB career. All in all, the Mets got more than their moneys worth, landing Tatis the number seven spot on our countdown.
Mets 101 Seven in Seven series – Best Bargains continues tomorrow as we look at 2013 signing LaTroy Hawkins!
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