With Spring Training fast approaching, the Nationals added another name to their list of players who are receiving a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training in Viera, Florida. William Ladson of MLB.com reported on Wednesday that the Nats signed right-handed reliever Evan Meek to a minor league deal:
Meek joins Heath Bell and Manny Delcarmen as the other relievers who have been signed to that type of a deal this offseason. Last season, with the Baltimore Orioles, the 31-year old reliever went 0-4 with a 5.79 ERA in 23 games.
The 11th Round pick of the Minnesota Twins in 2002 was with the Twins and Rays’ organization before being taken by the Pirates in the Rule V Draft in December of 2007. What stands out about Meek in terms of what he could bring to a team is the numbers that he put up in 2010.
During that season, Meek made the All-Star team and went 5-4 with a 2.14 ERA in 70 appearances. Over the course of 2009-2010, he was a pitcher who put up eight strikeouts per nine innings in 2009 and 7.9 in 2010. He had 15 holds in 2010, second on the Pirates behind Joel Hanrahan’s 18.
He made the All-Star team in part to his 4-3 record before the break in 2010 with a 1.11 ERA in 31 games. After the break, Meek’s ERA went up to 3.73 and the strikeouts went down from 45 to 25 in 30 innings of work.
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After the 2012 season, Meek signed with the Texas Rangers and never played a game for the big league club. Two years later, he signed with the Orioles.
When you see a minor league signing, one of the things you want to look at is his AAA numbers. With the Norfolk Tides, Baltimore’s AAA affiliate last season, Meek went 2-0 with a 1.94 ERA in 39 games. He had 37 strikeouts and only four walks. In six seasons of AAA ball, he is 11-11 with a 3.23 ERA.
If anything, Meek has the ability to dominate at the AAA level, but the Nationals’ front office is hoping that the former Pirates’ reliever can help their bullpen like he did for Pittsburgh in 2010.