Mets sign Strickland, Melky, Beckham, 2 others

June 29th, 2020

NEW YORK -- A day after announcing their initial player pool for the start of summer camp later this week, the Mets on Monday supplemented it with a quintet of signings. Three of them -- reliever Hunter Strickland, infielder Gordon Beckham and outfielder Melky Cabrera -- came from outside the organization. The other two -- pitcher Erasmo Ramirez and outfielder Ryan Cordell -- came from within. All five are part of the Mets’ 60-man player pool scheduled to begin working out at Citi Field on Friday.

Strickland, a veteran of six Major League seasons with the Giants, Mariners and Nationals, was released by Washington in March after allowing nine runs over 6 2/3 innings in Grapefruit League play. He missed much of last season due to a strained right lat muscle, but he was an effective reliever as recently as 2018, when he saved 14 games for the Giants with a 3.97 ERA.

Strickland burst onto the scene during the Giants’ World Series run in 2014, delivering seven shutout innings down the stretch before struggling that October. Over the next three seasons, he developed into one of the National League’s better relievers, posting a 2.75 ERA over 195 appearances in a right-handed setup role.

With the Mets, Strickland figures to battle Chasen Shreve, Paul Sewald, Drew Smith and others for a spot in the Mets’ Opening Day bullpen.

Beckham was released by the Padres after going 0-for-14 in Spring Training. A former first-round Draft pick of the White Sox in 2008, Beckham finished fifth in the American League Rookie of the Year Award voting the following season, but he never repeated that success as a big leaguer. Instead, he hit .233/.294/.355 over the next 10 seasons for six different teams. Now 33, he joins Luis Guillorme and Eduardo Núñez as depth options for the Mets at second and third base.

Unlike Strickland and Beckham, Cabrera, 35, never hooked on with a team before Spring Training. He batted .280 with a .713 OPS for the Pirates last season and is a .285 hitter over a 15-year career with eight different teams.

The Mets also re-signed both Ramirez and Cordell after releasing them this weekend. Both thrived in Spring Training before the coronavirus shutdown, with Ramirez allowing one run in eight Grapefruit League innings and Cordell batting .270 with a home run and several notable defensive plays. Ramirez gives the Mets rotation depth, while Cordell is capable of playing all three outfield positions.

The Mets’ player pool is now up to 50 players. They can still add up to 10 via a combination of trades, internal promotions or additional free-agent signings.