After over a decade and a half Mike Sweeney will be wearing something other than Royals colors this spring. The Oakland Athletics signed him to a minor league contract and he is expected to report Wednesday with pitchers and cathers. The real question is why would they pick Sweeney up now? The easy answer is veteran leadership. The more complicated answer is that Sweeney led the Royals in several key statistical categories last year.
For example, his veteran eye at the plate was seen as he led K.C. in at bats per strikeout last year. Sweeney struck out a little under once every nine plate attempts. Solid work sir.
He also was the team leader in fewest times caught stealing. Sweeney was not thrown out once on the base paths last year. Nevermind that he didn’t steal a base last year either. That’s just details.
So in the end, the A’s get a veteran to hang around the clubhouse and play about 90% of the games when Cust and Barton go down with injuries. They get that veteran on the cheap and surely he can teach a few guys like Cust not to strike out every two and a half at bats. Who knows, he may even get Buck to cut his hair?