I just got off the phone with Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu to get a few comments on the signing of Mike Sweeney to a minor league contract.
First of all, Wakamatsu was only around Sweeney for last season and not even a full one at that, but still came away impressed.
“Phenomenal,” Wakamatsu said in describing Sweeney as a person. “He’s the epitome of a professional. He works his tail off, he cares about people, he does what’s supposed to be done. I don’t know too many people that are quite like him.”
As for whether Sweeney can contribute or even make the team, Wakamatsu said Sweeney will have to show him and the Mariners that he is capable.
“Obviously, he has something prove to us,” Wakamatsu said. “From what I saw last year, we had questions whether the back alright. There was no signs of the back bothering him. He swung the bat well early then he had the knee problems.”
Wakamatsu called Sweeney “a professional hitter” and said that didn’t think Sweeney had lost any of his bat speed
“I saw a lot of good things from him last year,” Wakamatsu said.
I mentioned to Wakamatsu that the whole situation seems like a pretty minimal-risk investment and any possible returns would be a bonus, he concurred.
“Exactly, that’s the way we’re looking at it,” he said. “Here we have a quality guy, a guy with a good track record, who has played and had success at the big leagues, a guy that’s a quality guy that could help us in the clubhouse with what we’re trying to develop and we’re just giving him a chance with no guarantees. It’s really a no-risk deal for us.”