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Rays Sign Scott Munter

Not a major signing, but an interesting one none the less, now before I ramble on Scott Munter for 300+ words I'm going to add a disclaimer that he probably won't ever see the light of day in St. Petersburg - end of disclaimer, ranting beginning.

Munter's nickname is the Mad Dog / Big Munt because he stands 6'6" and weighs more than 250 pounds and originally played first base for the Oklahoma Sooners. He throws a "heavy sinker" in upwards of 95 mph, but looking at his strikeout rates is hardly a Grant Balfour clone. In fact that's the interesting part of the signing; Munter is an extreme ground ball pitcher.

Last year balls in play against Munter were ground balls 63% of the time, in 20 innings with the Giants in 2006 62% were grounders, in 2005 51% in 38 innings with the Giants. His career major league totals are 72 innings, 84 hits, 2 homeruns against, 34 walks, and 22 strikeouts.

He reminds me a bit of Shawn Camp, which nowadays is enough for everyone to stop reading this right now and comment something along the lines of "****!", but see I'd like to think Munter or even Camp could be successful with the infield defense we've built. Groundball pitchers aren't sexy, but if you can maintain one in your bullpen who is successful that speaks more so for your infield defense than the pitcher - unless he's getting soft rollers to first all day long.

Munter is 27 which suggests that he's not much of a project, but rather a reserve in case of injury or poor performance - note that it's a minor league deal, so he's not on the 40 man. He could however be a good situational pen arm and for nearly nothing on the dollar he's a righty specialist in the majors, or at least that's what his .729 OPS against righties and .937 OPS against lefties suggests although he doesn't possess a clear split in the minors.

So yes, I like the signing, however irrelevant it seems, maybe he becomes our version of Cla Meredith or Sean Green, if not at least we didn't lose much.