Posted by JD on March 23, 2011
The 2011 Mets’ roster is rounding into shape. The first round of cuts, comprised mostly of prospects who had little chance of making the roster, took place on March 11. The second round (which took place on March 19th) can be categorized as a group of AAAA players who had an outside shot (at best) at winning jobs, Dillon Gee, and Luis Castillo. Monday, Oliver Perez finally (mercifully) got the ax and today Justin Turner was optioned to Buffalo.
This is the exciting part of Spring Training for me: the final week or so, where the last few spots on the roster are sorted out. I tend to like the longshots and underdogs: that’s why I’m rooting for Nick Evans to find a spot on the bench. I guess Willie Harris is technically also an underdog, but I can’t help but feel that Evans’ upside outweighs Harris’ by a long shot (and Carlos Beltran’s knee may give both players an extended tryout). The second base competition is a slam dunk for me: I’m rooting for Brad Emaus to win. It’s not that I don’t like Luis Hernandez: the broken-foot home run that ended his season was awesome, but he’s a total non-factor offensively. I mean, Baseball Reference shows that his nickname (or middle name, I can’t figure it out) is “Mendoza”. If any team actually offers an asset for Hernandez, Sandy Alderson & Co. should jump on it immediately. So, two of the competitions are easy for me to diagnose.
The open bullpen spots are a different story. With the exception of Mike O’Conner, all of the remaining candidates have something to offer: Manny Acosta was solid last season after being picked up on waivers from the Braves; Pat Misch has performed above his limited stuff and has gotten results despite being less than overpowering: Pedro Beato is young, throws hard, and probably has the most upside of the bunch (and, as a Rule 5 pick, has to be offered back to the Orioles if he doesn’t make the major league roster); Jason Isringhausen has been a revelation as a reclamation project this spring, and Blaine Boyer has impressed members of the front office with his performance this spring. I’m all for carrying Beato. Beyond that, I can’t make up my mind, and I couldn’t be happier. Each of the candidates are viable major leaguers who probably won’t get through waivers. It’s a breath of fresh air: the Mets have a surplus of viable candidates for the last pitcher in their bullpen.
Maybe I’m being too optimistic, but I’m happy with the way they’ve managed their roster this season. I’m content to sit back and watch the players battle it out over the next week or so, reasonably content that Alderson & Co. will make a good decision. It’s been awhile since I’ve felt that way, and that’s the best part of spring training so far.
Posted in Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo, Mets, Oliver Perez, Spring Training | Tagged: Blaine Boyer, Brad Emaus, Carlos Beltran, Dillon Gee, DJ Carrasco, Jason Isringhausen, Justin Turner, Luis Castillo, Luis Hernandez, Manny Acosta, Mets, Nick Evans, Oliver Perez, Pat Misch, Pedro Beato | 1 Comment »
Posted by JD on December 22, 2010
UPDATE: The Indians acquired Martinez for a PTBNL or cash today. I like the guy and everything, but the only way I’d make that trade is if the BTBNL was Luis Hernandez.
From MLB Trade Rumors comes news that the Pirates have designated Joe Martinez for assignment today. Not the biggest of news, I know. But I’d like to see the Mets make a claim on him anyway.
Martinez will be 28 next seasons and doesn’t seem to have overwhelming stuff. Scouting reports that I’ve found on the web read much like this one from Pirates Prospects: four pitches with a fastball that sits between 86-90 but can touch 91-92 on occasion and some indication that he’s a “ground ball machine”. That hasn’t translated at the major league level: Martinez has pitched 49 innings over 18 games (six as a starter), generating a 6.16 ERA and 1.872 WHIP while striking out only 28 batters. Fangraphs.com shows that his xFIP is 4.76, indicating that he may have been victimized by some bad defense behind him.
Digging a little deeper, we see that he has 2.0 BB/9 and 7.3 K/9 ratios in his minor league career. Martinez also has a 3.58 ERA and 1.218 WHIP over 702 innings. Not the stuff that dreams are made of, but indicative that he could be a productive long man in the bullpen who makes an occasional spot start if necessary. And who knows? Maybe the change of scenery combined with a new pitching coach and a pitcher-friendly ballpark result in a slight bump in performance?
Martinez basically profiles as a right-handed Pat Misch: a replacement level pitcher who can contribute in spots. He’s not the fifth starter that the Mets need, but with an open spot on the roster they have the ability to take a gamble on him. Yes, they’ll need that spot (and more) when they sign a starting pitcher and a fourth outfielder, but what’s the harm in putting Martinez on the roster now? Worst case scenario, they DFA him when the time comes and the Pirates re-claim him.
I won’t be upset if the Mets choose to pass on Joe Martinez: there are plenty of other replacement-level pitchers in the free agent pool at this point. In fact, I kind of expect them to make similar moves (mostly involving non-roster invites to spring training) once they sign their free agent pitcher of choice. But why not take a shot now, while the Pirates are trying to use the holiday slowdown to pass a useful player through waivers? Can’t hurt, right?
Posted in Mets, Offseason Moves, Sandy Alderson | Tagged: Joe Martinez, Mets, Pat Misch | Leave a Comment »
Posted by JD on November 29, 2010
It’s starting to look like it might (at least to me, anyway). Consider the rotation as it stands today: with Johan Santana recovering from surgery to start the season, Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey, and Jon Niese are the only established major league starters on the roster. In some ways, referring to this group as “established” is being kind: they each have questions to answer in 2011). Pelfrey can be solid (if unspectacular), but has been prone to extended streaks where he struggles to be average. Can he be more consistent next year? R.A. Dickey was a revelation this season, but he’s 36 and the 174 innings he pitched last season were a career high. Can he do it again? 2010 was Jon Niese’s first full season, and he’s struggled with injuries the past two season. Can he stay healthy long enough to contribute?
That being said, those three will anchor the rotation next season. John Maine has most likely played his last game with the team: I expect him to be non-tendered this week. Dillon Gee will be given a chance to win a spot in the rotation in Spring Training, as will Misch and probably Tobi Stoner. Misch is easily the most established (there’s that word again, used even more generously here) of the three, which can’t hurt. Add in Sandy Alderson’s (and Terry Collins’) comments about not wanting to rush prospects to the majors and that’s about it for in-house candidates.
There are, of course, outside candidates. Joe Janish of Mets Today put together a list of signable (read: not Cliff Lee) free agent pitchers last week, focusing on the risk/reward aspect of each. Having just returned from a trip to Atlantic City, I find some of these gambles attractive, particularly Chris Young. I wouldn’t be opposed to signing one of them to a one-year deal and hoping for the best, but I don’t know if it’s possible. I’ve read in many places that the Mets’ off-season budget may be limited to $5 million. If that’s the case, these players may not fit in the Mets’ budget (even accounting for the discount generated by their injury histories). I mean, it could happen, but should the Mets really gamble on a pitcher with a history of injuries when their budget is so limited?
The next few days will see a number of pitchers hit free agency as the December 2nd non-tender deadline approaches. Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors has put together a list of non-tender candidates. While there are some interesting names for the bullpen, the starting pitchers leave something to be desired. I’ve always liked Brian Bannister and he might benefit from making half his starts at Citi Field, but he’s always struggled with major league hitters and he’s been injury prone recently, too. I wouldn’t have taken a shot at Zach Duke before he was traded to the Diamondbacks, making that moot anyway. Jeff Karstens? Kyle Davies? I guess, at the right price. But it’s debatable whether their better than Misch or not.
Acquiring a starter via a trade is also a possibility. The Mets could possibly trade Jose Reyes or Carlos Beltran (Beltran for Daisuke Matsuzaka might make some sense, I guess). Personally, I remain convinced that the Mets should refrain from trading either of those players until June, at the earliest. Their value is what it once was, but there’s still a reasonable chance that they can recapture most of it: it simply makes no sense to move them now. We’ll see.
In an effort to be fair to every candidate, I have to mention that Oliver Perez currently has a 10-inning scoreless streak over his last two starts in the Mexican Winter League. Whatever.
So, there you have it: based on the known available options (and their costs), Pat Misch will very likely be the fifth (or possibly even the fourth) starter in the rotation next year. Bill James predicts Misch’s 2011 season as: 23 games (12 starts), 75.0 innings pitched, 82 hits, 50 strikeouts and 18 walks (2.78 K/BB ration) for a 4.20 ERA (4.19 FIP). Obviously, the counting numbers would be higher if Misch won the job out of spring training, but a 4.20/4.19 ERA/FIP for less than $1 million isn’t that bad. It’s less than optimal, but budget constraints make it one of the more plausible options available.
Posted in Johan Santana, Jon Niese, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, Offseason Moves, Oliver Perez, Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins, The Rotation | Tagged: Brian Bannister, Carlos Beltran, Chris Young, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Dillon Gee, Johan Santana, John Maine, Jon Niese, Jose Reyes, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez, Pat Misch, R.A. Dickey, Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins, Tobi Stoner | 5 Comments »
Posted by JD on June 14, 2010
Two story lines broke today that were of interest to me, and neither were particularly encouraging. The first was related to Roy Oswalt: the New York Post reported a friend of his said that Oswalt “likes the veteran fiber of the Mets” and would accept a trade to Flushing.
Kudos to Oswalt’s buddy for that excellent quote, but no thank you. In the spirit of full disclosure, I feel compelled to share with you my utter dislike for Roy Oswalt. It’s pretty straightforward: I don’t like Oswalt because of his grudge with Cliff Floyd. I distinctly remember my outrage when Oswalt plunked Floyd with first base open, after Floyd had hit a grand slam off of him in a previous game. It was petty and I’ve never let go it. My inner “irrational fan” wants nothing to do with that jerk.
My “rational fan” side is only slightly less disinterested. Oswalt is still an above-average starting pitcher who, in his prime, was dominant. The problem is that he’s owed a lot of money over the next two seasons, will probably require a contract extension to waive his no trade clause (“veteran fiber” be damned), and plays for an organization that will demand premium prospects in return.
Truthfully, it’s that last piece that is the biggest negative. I read a couple of stunning trade suggestions from Mets fans on Twitter today that alternatively had me laughing out loud or dropping my jaw in utter disbelief. I don’t want to single anyone out, so I’ll just tell you my parameters for a deal. If the Astros asked for Jon Niese straight up, I’d decline the trade. Jenrry Mejia straight up? No thanks. Wilmer Flores? Nope. Fernando Martinez? No way. Dillon Gee? I’d think about it. Any combination of the above? Please don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
If the Astros are willing to eat a significant portion of Oswalt’s contract or accept Oliver Perez as part of a package, I’d think about upping the quality of prospect included in the deal. If not, I’d start with Tobi Stoner, Pat Misch, and a C quality prospect (or lower). If the Astros accept, great. If not, save those bullets for Kevin Millwood, Jake Westbrook, or (if possible) Cliff Lee: their cost/benefit ratios are far more acceptable than Oswalt’s*.
*This may all be a moot point. While I was writing this, Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports’ Hardball Talk (hat tip to MetsBlog) reported that the Texas Rangers are working hard at acquiring Oswalt. According to Calcaterra, the Rangers and Astros have agreed on the players involved but are waiting for MLB’s approval on the contract side (the Rangers are in bankruptcy and MLB is floating their payroll until their recent sale is finalized). Stay tuned, as Buster Olney is tweeting that there’s “nothing to it”, but it looks like it may be out of the Mets hands anyway. Which is a good thing.
In other news, MetsBlog reported that the Mets had come to term with 25 draft picks, the highest of which was 4th round pick Cory “Son of Greg” Vaughn (for the full list of signees, click here). I’m all for getting the kids signed and playing as soon as possible, but I have mixed emotions about these quick signings.
I have no insight regarding the scouting and drafting process beyond what I read in the past 10 days or so and I’m not involved in the negotiations, so I can’t comment on what was demanded and what was offered. But the quick signings indicate that the Mets drafted these kids knowing that they wouldn’t try to break the bank. It’s possible that they’re the players Omar Minaya wanted, but available evidence indicates otherwise. If even one of these guys makes the majors, it won’t matter one bit, but as I mentioned here and here, that was the last thing I wanted to see. The amateur draft may be one of the bigger crapshoots in professional sports, but that’s no excuse for a franchise as wealthy as the Mets to intentionally handicap themselves like that.
Posted in Mets, Omar Minaya, Trades | Tagged: Cliff Floyd, Cliff Lee, Cory Vaughn, Houston Astros, Jake Westbrook, Jenrry Mejia, Jon Niese, Kevin Millwood, Mets, MLB Draft, Oliver Perez, Omar Minaya, Pat Misch, Roy Oswalt, Texas Rangers, Tobi Stoner | 1 Comment »