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Buried Treasure

Buried in the announcement we all knew was coming, that Marquis Grissom has been signed to a minor-league deal with a spring-training invitation, was this note:

The Cubs also signed infielder Augie Ojeda and outfielder Mike Restovich to Minor League contracts and invited them to Spring Training as well.

Ojeda, 31, has batted .219 in 178 big league contests for the Cubs (2000-2003) and Minnesota (2004). He spent the 2005 season with Triple-A Rochester, batting .224 in 105 games.

Restovich, 27, has seen Major League action over the past five seasons, batting .254 in 127 games. The right-handed hitting outfielder saw his most extensive big league time in 2005, appearing in 52 games for Pittsburgh and 14 games for Colorado.

I've always been a fan of Augie -- and clearly, the Cubs would have been far, far better off having him as the 25th man the last two years instead of Jose F. Macias.

But the part of that note I'm most interested in is the signing of Restovich. He's no kid any more -- in fact, he turned 27 today (cue the balloons!) -- but at one time he was one of the top outfield prospects in the Minnesota organization. His minor league numbers show pretty good plate discipline, at least at the lower levels, although that seems to have vanished in the last couple of years. Restovich was buried behind, among others, Jacque Jones in Minnesota, and then slogged his way through a couple of miserable years with a couple of miserable organizations in Pittsburgh and Colorado.

His very limited ML experience (228 AB) suggests he might be able to translate that plate discipline to this level. His lifetime numbers vs. lefties are .281/.336/.467 -- an .802 OPS -- which might, just might, make him a decent platoon partner for Jones.

I'd much rather have him on the roster than Grissom, anyway.

Buried treasure? Probably not. But it's sure worth a shot.