NEW YORK — The New York Mets have announced that they have signed Bobbles the Cat, who made his unexpected debut during the team's opener Monday, to a four-year, $40 million deal. The cat, represented by agent Arn Tellem, reached a contract agreement with New York earlier today.
"Bobbles the Cat gives us another element in the lineup and he gives us a different intensity, just because of the competitive cat that he is," general manager Omar Minaya said. "I mean, the guy wanted to race me to see who could cough up a hairball first. I like that."
The two-year-old feline gives the Mets yet another corner outfielder — the team recently signed slugger Gary Sheffield, and regularly starts Daniel Murphy in left and Ryan Church in right.
Mets manager Jerry Manuel said he looked forward to adding Bobbles' speed to the top the of the lineup, where the cat will replace Jose Reyes as the team's leadoff hitter.
"What this does for us, it really creates some depth in the team," Manuel said. "I believe that in the course of 162 regular-season games, depth is the one thing that is normally overlooked."
Minaya and Manuel both professed unconcern with Bobbles' penchant for napping during games, or his inability to stop eating the outfield grass, or his tendency to play with the ball after catching it.
Murphy seemed comfortable with the move, too.
"Bobbles is more than welcome. He's a great player. He's just another piece for us," Murphy said. "I can't control what they do."
Sheffield seemed less pleased.
"We don't need this cat," Sheffield said. "Come on, they'll be paying Bobbles $10 million a year until he's six. It's not my fault they signed Bobbles to this stupid contract."
Bobbles had been wooed by several other teams, including the Tigers and Giants. "Thankfully, the Dodgers already established the market for fleet-footed leadoff hitters with little or no paw strength," Tellem said in reference to Juan Pierre, who signed a five-year, $44 million contract with Los Angeles in 2006.
Minaya and Manuel both professed unconcern with Bobbles' penchant for napping during games, or his inability to stop eating the outfield grass, or his tendency to play with the ball after catching it — often while opposing baserunners are taking extra bases.
Noted Minaya: "I mean, it's not like he's Manny Ramirez."
Earlier: Joe Camel Signs with Texas Rangers (SoSG)