The Mets signed pitcher and former first round pick, Boof Bonser, today to a minor league contract. With fans intently focused on and critical about improving the major league roster, it’s often easy to forget that signing minor league depth is an important aspect of the game too.
Bonser, a right-handed pitcher, was drafted by the San Francisco Giants with the 21st overall pick in the 2000 draft, but is more famously known for being involved in the incredibly lopsided trade that brought him, Francisco Liriano, and Joe Nathan to the Minnesota Twins for A.J. Pierzynski. I bet the Giants wish they could call “backsies” on that trade.
In 2006, Bonser’s major league debut season, he posted an impressive 4.22 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 84 K’s, 7 wins, and 2.15 BB/IP in 100.3 IP. However, he couldn’t duplicate his rookie success over his next two seasons with the Twins, recording a dismal 5.44 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, and just 11 wins in multiple pitching roles. Despite his growing pains, he still managed to post a respectable 7.19 K/IP and 3.12 BB/IP.
Unfortunately, Bonser endured season-ending torn labrum and rotator cuff surgery in early 2009, knocking him out for the entire 2009 season. The right-hander bounced back in 2010 as a full-time reliever, splitting the season between the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics. While Bonser’s 2 innings for the Red Sox weren’t memorable, he did post a 5.09 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 17 K’s, and just 6 BB in 23 relief innings for the A’s. It should also be noted that in the month of August, he posted a 2.38 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 8 K’s, and 2 BB’s in 11.1 IP.
Now at age 29, Bonser has a chance to break into the Mets 2011 bullpen. Since he has experience as a starter, Bonser could get a look as the long-man, though his splits suggest he’s better suited to face righties exclusively (vs. lefties: .318/.377/.509; vs. righties: .250/.298/.405). Regardless, since it’s just a minor league contract, Mets fans shouldn’t have to sweat much with this signing–then again, maybe he’ll turn-out to be this years R.A. Dickey (just don’t hold your breath).