Newly signed utility infielder Alex Cora is more than a solid replacement/pinch hitter off the bench. Yes he will be used to fill in for Jose Reyes and Luis Castillo, but there is something else he might be able to offer some of the younger players on the Mets – leadership and mentorship.
Michael Silverman - Boston Herald has an article today that describes what a big part of the Red Sox Alex Cora was. He lent his experience and knowledge with younger players, most notably last year's (2007) Rookie Of The Year, and this year's (2008) Most Valuable Player, Dustin Pedroia. Cora, commenting on his relationship with the young, talented second baseman who lockered next to him, “The kid to my right in the clubhouse, I don’t have a little brother, but now I do.I feel a part of his career, getting to the point of seeing him getting the rewards for everything he’s been preaching, I feel very proud of him.”
If Cora is able to share his experiences of not only winning a World Series (Red Sox 2007), but how a player can prepare for a game, stay alert, stay in shape – with the likes of Jose Reyes, David Wright, Daniel Murphy, etc. he might be a bargain at $2M/year.
As I have scribed before (What's Missing - June 11, 2008) the Mets have missed a true leader since the departure of Cliff Floyd. If Cora, although a utility player, can help teach this team mental and physical toughness that is necessary down the stretch, as well as to teach them how to win, it might be the best investment of this off season.