(Long Island, NY) You can’t go home again. That old saying did not ring true when the Long Island Ducks announced recently that they acquired infielder Edgardo Alfonzo. The 33 year-old is trying to resurrect his career after playing 12 big league seasons and starring for the New York Mets from 1995 to 2002.
“We’re excited to welcome Edgardo to the Ducks family,” Ducks owner Frank Boulton said to reporters. “His leadership and talent will be a welcome addition to our ballclub.”
‘Fonzie’ is coming to the Ducks via the Bridgeport Bluefish, who he played for part of last season. He started 2006 with the Los Angeles Angels and batted .100 in 50 at-bats. He then went to Toronto, and hit .162 in 37 at-bats. Alfonzo also played part of the season in the Mets farm system and in the Atlantic League for the Bluefish, where he played in four games and hit .286 with four runs batted in.
The rights to Alfonzo didn’t come cheap. The Ducks traded the rights to two of their impact players from last year, first baseman Bucky Jacobsen and starting right handed pitcher Pat Mahomes, another former Met.
Alfonzo has a career batting average of .284 with 146 home runs and 744 RBI. He earned All-Star honors with the Mets in 2000 and was an integral part of their post-season runs in 1999 and 2000.
How much does Alfonzo have left in the tank? His last productive season came in 2004 with the San Francisco Giants, when he played in 139 games and hit .289 with 11 home runs and 77 RBI. In 2005, he hit. 277, but played in only 109 games with the Giants, hitting two home runs and driving in 43 runs.
Although his skills have obviously eroded, Alfonzo can be productive in a league such as the Atlantic, where pitching is not a premium. Considering that the Ducks have had 40 former players signed by major league organizations since 2000, it would not be a surprise if a team takes a flyer on him by mid-season.
The Ducks are looking to get back to playoffs after winning the North division first half championship in 2006. In addition to Alfonzo, they have also signed pitchers Pat Ahearne, Tim Cain and Randy Leek; infielder Rob Cafiero; and outfielder Kevin Haverbusch.
Returning to the Ducks will be Dave LaPoint, the former Dicks pitching coach and Bridgeport manager. He takes over the reigns from Don McCormack, who becomes the bench coach. Rounding out the coaching staff will be Bud Harrleson at third base and former Ducks All-Star Kevin Baez, who is the infield coach.
For Met fans to be able to come out to Citibank Park and see one of their heroes up close and personal will add to the special day at the Ducks game. A first-class organization added a first-class player in Alfonzo, and everyone will benefit from his presence in Central Islip.