DeWayne Wise will forever be known for the spectacular catch that he made on July 23rd, 2009, which allowed pitcher, Mark Buehrle, to earn the second no-hitter of his career.
Despite enjoying two of the best years in his career in Chicago, Wise declined an assignment to the club’s Triple-A affiliate recently and elected to become a free agent.
As a veteran journeyman, Wise has spent time in Toronto, Atlanta and Cincinnati prior to joining the White Sox in 2008. While his career numbers at the plate are rather unimpressive ( a lifetime .216 hitter), Wise is able to make himself a useful player due to his strong defense.
In 371.1 innings this season, the 31 year-old, Wise compiled a fielding percentage of .990. This is directly in line with his career number of .989.
Along with this comes a stellar attitude, which was something his former minor league coach, Rick Sweet, emphasized in an interview with the Courier Journal. In it, Sweet describes Wise as a “hard worker who always took pride in his defense”.
Sweet later adds that “he [Wise] always made great catches for us”. After a year in which fundamentals cost the Mets almost as much as injuries the team could use a breath of fresh air when it comes to players that can field their position.
To me, Wise is an ideal fifth outfielder, in the sense that he can be relied on to provide solid defense in the latter innings of tight ball games.
This is more than the Mets can say about the man, who currently fills the position, Jeremy Reed, who really didn’t seem to do much of anything during his time in Queens.
As Amazin’ Avenue’s James Kannengieser points out Reed is a likely non-tender candidate, which would open up a spot on the roster for Wise and possibly others to compete for out of spring training next year.
Wise reminds me of ex-Met Endy Chavez, a bit, in the sense that both men have a knack for making highlight reel catches while providing consistently good defense throughout the season. Both players also bring with them a positive attitude.
To be fair, however, Endy, has a bit more pop in his bat than Wise does.
Also, Wise could spell Carlos Beltran in center-field from time to time in an effort to prevent Beltran’s knees from giving out on him midway through the season.
The question still remains, could the Mets afford to fill a spot on the 25-man roster with a guy, who brings practically nothing offensively to the team?
The answer is probably not, especially when you consider that in all likelihood the team will bring back Alex Cora, who is another defensively-orientated bench player that does not pose much of a threat at the plate.
However, if the team adds a bat or two, then the team could certainly allocate two bench positions to defensive specialists.
Regardless of what the team does this off-season, it couldn’t hurt to at least offer Wise an invitation to Spring Training, perhaps the team could catch lightening in a bottle.