The New York Mets added five players — most notably, veteran outfielder Melky Cabrera — to their talent pool ahead of Major League Baseball’s second spring training, which is set to start on July 1.
Cabrera, who began his career on the other side of New York with the Yankees, is preparing for his 16th season in the majors following a one-year stint with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The 35-year-old slashed .280/.313/.399 in 133 games during the 2019 season as he continued to rebuild his reputation as a clean, dependable contact hitter. He was suspended for 50 games during the 2012 season with the San Francisco Giants after failing a performance-enhancing drug test.
In 15 MLB seasons, Cabrera sports a .285 career batting average and a .751 OPS, but he’s going to be thrown into a packed outfielding competition in Queens.
First-year Mets manager Luis Rojas already has to find a way to get at-bats for JD Davis, Dominic Smith, Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and Jake Marisnick — though some of that pressure was alleviated with the introduction of the designated hitter upon MLB’s agreement to return for a 60-game season starting July 23.
The Mets also announced the signing of a pair of arms in Erasmo Ramirez and Hunter Strickland.
Ramirez — largely a starter — has a 4.40 career ERA in eight MLB seasons, all with American League teams. He appeared in just one game last season with the Boston Red Sox having spent a majority of 2019 in the minor leagues.
Strickland split last season with the Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals, posting a 5.55 ERA in 28 relief appearances.
Veteran infielder Gordon Beckham and Mets minor leaguer Ryan Cordell also received invites to Mets camp.
This story first appeared on amny.com.