Yep, it’s that time of year; the time when, in the midst of a shortened holiday week and two weeks before things really get into motion at the winter meetings, we’re reporting on a minor league deal with a camp invite as though it’s news. Then again, here we are, so I suppose it is.
Andy Martino, New York Daily News:
Former Met Nick Evans, popular with fans during parts of four seasons spent in New York, has signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, his agent, Marc Agar, told the Daily News. The deal includes an invitation to major league camp as a first baseman and third baseman.
Evans, 26, left the Mets to sign with Pittsburgh last year, but played in just 21 minor league games after suffering a broken hand. Evans is expected to be fully healed in time for spring training.
Evans played essentially a full season for the Mets between 2008-2011, seeing 419 PA over 159 games and hit .256/.314/.403 with 8 homers, playing almost exclusively first base & left field. Evans seemed like he might be something after a .300/.371/.536 line in 2010 (with 24 homers) split between Double-A & Triple-A, but was unable to translate that to the majors, and, as Martino notes, barely played last year due to injury.
Still, Baseball Prospectus liked the idea of the Pirates giving him a shot before the season:
Evans is a nice addition to the Pirates. Consider him the inverse of Garrett Jones, with the ability to play first base or the corner outfield and a bat that’s useful against left-handed pitching. While Evans has hit .295/.360/.489 vs. southpaws, he struggles against righties. That means a heavy-handed platoon or pinch-hitting should be the extent of his playing time. Still, it took little to sign Evans, and he is a major-league quality bench player. The Pirates could—and have—played worse.
I’m not sure where this “as a third baseman” business is coming from, because he’s played just 59 games there in parts of 9 seasons in the minors (and only three innings in the majors) but I suppose a guy like this trying add flexibility is never a bad thing. In a small sample size, the righty hitter has definitely had more success against lefties than righties, which could put him in the mix to be Adrian Gonzalez‘ backup, and…
…and that’s where we stop ourselves. As we need to remember every single year, Evans is just the first of many zero-cost what-the-hell signings. Sure, every year there’s a guy like Jamey Wright or Aaron Miles who finds their way onto the roster due to a hot spring or injuries elsewhere. Many more end up filling out the Triple-A roster, like Josh Fields & Josh Bard. And even more disappear before the end of the spring, because raise your hand if you really remember Cory Sullivan, John Grabow, & Matt Chico being in camp in recent years. Evans is young and briefly showed talent in the minors, so he’s a great guy to have for depth in camp and the system. Do I expect to hear much about him other than pointing out how great his ABQ-inflated stats look after 300 plate appearances for the Isotopes? Probably not. It’s that time of year.
Evans has been added to the depth chart under the heading “camp invites” on the right, where he’ll surely be joined by a dozen others over the winter.