After last night’s big homerun, I wanted to write a post about Kirk Nieuwenhuis‘ chances of making the postseason roster. I then realized such conversation is premature without first discussing who is definitely going to be on the roster, and what the roster needs will be.
- Travis d’Arnaud
- Kevin Plawecki
- Lucas Duda
- Wilmer Flores
- Daniel Murphy
- Ruben Tejada
- Juan Uribe
- David Wright
- Kelly Johnson
- Yoenis Cespedes
- Michael Cuddyer
- Curtis Granderson
- Juan Lagares
- Michael Conforto
- Matt Harvey
- Jacob deGrom
- Bartolo Colon
- Noah Syndergaard
- Jeurys Familia
- Tyler Clippard
- Addison Reed
- Hansel Robles
While typically an MLB team carries 12 pitchers, that number is usually reduced to 11 relievers. That means there’s three spots open for pitchers like Sean Gilmartin, Dario Alvarez, Carlos Torres (if healthy), Erik Goeddel, Logan Verrett, Jon Niese, and of course Steven Matz. Notice, I did not put Bobby Parnell and Eric O’Flaherty on the list. If all the position players make the list, there’s only room for 11 pitchers anyway.
The Mets have tough decisions to make. They have about a month of tryouts. So far, Gilmartin, Alvarez, and Nieuwenhuis have made their cases. Other players have their opportunities as well. It’s nice having this conversation instead of talking about next year.
When I began this blog, there were many things and players I thought would be great topics. I u thought I would’ve written so much about Dario Alvarez. In that vain, here’s yet another post.
With the earlier bullpen problems, the Mets called up Alvarez. He was on the roster from August 21st until August 23rd when he was sent down to make room for David Wright on the roster. The Mets kept up Logan Verrett, who wouldn’t be available for another three days.
In that time, Alvarez made no appearances. Even Akeel Morris was allowed to make an appearance the one day he was up. Last night, Terry Collins let Eric O’Flaherty pitch to a right thereby costing the Mets the game. Alvarez didn’t even get warmed up. I’d say it’s personal, but to his credit Collins seems bigger than that.
Overall, with the LOOGY situation unresolved, I can’t believe the Mets keep going to the same failed options. If you’re not going to give Alvarez a chance to be a solution to a major problem, send him back down and stop wasting his service time.
Honestly, the next time I write about Alvarez, I want a one sentence blurb in a game recap. Any more than that, and I’m wasting my time while the Mets are wasting his time.
In actuality, the competition may have begun last night. With one out in the seventh, Terry Collins brought in Sean Gilmartin to face the left-handed Odubel Herrera and Ryan Howard. Herrera singled and Howard hit into a double play. If this was indeed the start of the competition, Gilmartin threw down the gauntlet.
Gilmartin has found a nice role for himself in the Mets bullpen as the long man. He has appeared in 42 games going 3-1 with a 2.17 ERA, 1.095 WHIP, and a 2.46 FIP. In sum, he’s been fantastic. I’m sure he’s been considered for the long man role in the postseason. It appears he’s being considered for the LOOGY role as well.
The problem is the Mets are potentially looking to avoid a season’s worth of data. They’re also neglecting the adage that you never trust September results. The reason I mention this Gilmartin succeeds as a long man because he doesn’t have severe platoon splits. In fact, he’s slightly worse against lefties:
- RHB .215/.288/.280
- LHB .222/.282/.310
With that said, those are good numbers against lefties. Those numbers are on par with Eric O’Flaherty‘s career numbers against lefties: .209/.272/.272. Unlike Gilmartin, O’Flaherty can’t pitch to righties. O’Flaherty gets pummeled by righties in his career to the tune of .277/.356/.392. Also unlike Gilmartin, O’Flaherty has been terrible this year and worse so with the Mets.
O’Flaherty has a 14.14 ERA with the Mets with a 2.429 WHIP and a 5.28 FIP. He’s getting pummeled this year too. Righties are hitting .413/.496/.651. He hasn’t been impressive as a LOOGY going .262/.333/.308 against lefties. If he’s on the postseason roster and the opposition pinch hits a right when he comes into the game, watch out! That’s the strength of using Gilmartin as a LOOGY. If there’s a pinch hitter, he can handle it.
However, Gilmartin’s ability to give you multiple innings cannot be ignored, and that is why, September or no September, Alvarez needs a good, hard look. He’s pitched extremely well in AAA. Lefties and righties are batting .167 off of him. Given the fact that the PCL is a hitter’s league this is all the more impressive.
So we know Alvarez has the talent. It’s now an issue of whether his talent and AAA success translates to the majors. He has a lot riding on this, as do the Mets.
The Mets have announced what I presume is their first group of September call-ups. These players include Eric Campbell, Kevin Plawecki, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and Eric Young, Jr. It’s fitting these four are the ones being called up first because they have a legitimate shot at being on the postseason roster, especially Plawecki.
When I looked at this list, I was surprised that Dario Alvarez‘s name wasn’t on the list. With Eric O’Flaherty struggling and the Mets refusal to put Steven Matz in the bullpen, there are no lefty options. As the August 31st waiver trade deadline has passed, another one cannot be acquired. The Mets need to figure this out.
The Las Vegas 51s season ends on the 7th. They’re in last place, so there won’t be any playoffs for them. The Mets apparently don’t care about the 51s season, and nor should they. That’s why they gutted their roster. Why they left Alvarez behind is beyond me. He’s been terrific in AAA. He is 2-1 with a 2.61 ERA and a 0.871 WHIP.
Alvarez belongs in the majors, especially with the LOOGY problem unresolved. I don’t know that Alvarez is ready to be a LOOGY. I don’t know if O’Flaherty can fix his issues in September to become the LOOGY the Mets need in the playoffs. What I do know is the Mets need to figure something out soon. They could be facing Adrian Gonzalez, Jason Heyward, Matt Carpenter, Pedro Alvarez, and/or Anthony Rizzo. It would be nice to have a lefty to get those guys out.
It’s funny with all the Mets moves, this is the one area they haven’t been able to properly address. I’d hate to see them LEFT out of October glory for that reason.
Nope. We were all wrong. Apparently, the Mets enjoy shortchanging the bullpen. Verrett is going to stay and Dario Alvarez is going down. The Mets got away with it last week. With the Phillies and Red Sox coming up, you can tell the Mets think they can get away with it again. The problem is they’re tempting fate in more ways than one now.
Not only are they shorting the bullpen for two days, but they may also have a rotation problem. We don’t know the severity of Bartolo Colon‘s wrist. He’s due to pitch Wednesday against the Phillies, which is also Verrett’s throw day. As we saw in Baltimore, that means Verrett will only be good for an inning. That means Colon better be alright to pitch.
If he’s not the Mets could have Matt Harvey start on Wednesday instead of Friday. I don’t think they’ll do that because it would defeat the purpose of them skipping Harvey’s start. There’s also no one on the 40 man roster who’s ready to get called up to make a spot start.
That means Colon has to start and all hands need to be on deck . . . like they needed to be on Friday. Hopefully, Verrett’s inability to go more than one inning won’t be a major problem. Hopefully, multiple innings of Sean Gilmartin and Carlos Torres won’t harm the Mets chances of winning a game in bandbox like Citizens Bank Ballpark.
No matter what’s going on, I’m starting to get a headache just trying to figure out what the Mets are doing in the bullpen.
On August 10th, with Michael Cuddyer coming off the DL, the Mets had to decide whether to send down Eric Campbell or Michael Conforto. It seemed both would have to be sent down anyway. Most believed that when David Wright came off the DL, the other player would have to be sent down to AAA.
I thought it should’ve been Conforto for many reasons. Principally, I thought if you’re going to have to send him down anyway, why not do it sooner to let him really work on some things in AAA where he can get more focused attention. In his infinite wisdom, Mark Simon basically said that we should worry about the second move when the time comes:
It turns out he was right. No one should be surprised because he’s a smart guy and a fantastic follow. Anyway, he’s right because things are a little haywire with the Mets right now.
The bullpen is a mess right now. Logan Verrett was initially called up to take Bobby Parnell‘s spot in the bullpen. In reality, he was called up for one short relief appearance on his throw day and to make a spot start on Sunday so the team can skip Matt Harvey‘s Sunday start.
With the bullpen being short, the Mets decided they needed to call-up Dario Alvarez. I don’t know much about him. I’m not putting much stock in his performance last year. It was a small sample size. However, he was ranked as the Mets #22 ranked prospect. After a good start in Binghampton, he moved to Las Vegas where he’s been dominant with a 1.08 ERA, a 0.60 WHIP, and 16.20 K/9. This may turn out to be a great decision especially since Alvarez is a LHP.
Now, the Mets need to make a make room for Alvarez. Throughout the game on Friday, Gary Cohen suggested it would be Conforto. With him having to go down on Monday and the Rockies throwing a LHP on Saturday, meaning Conforto wouldn’t play, it seemed to be the right move. Then, as Mark Simon said, things began to work themselves out.”
First, Bartolo Colon was hit on the wrist and has a large bump there. It was severe enough that it merited getting an x-ray. Luckily, it’s not broken, but Colon said it did affect his pitching. He doesn’t want to have to skip a start, but I’m not ruling it out at this point. At some point, the Mets may need to consider putting him on the DL.
Speaking of the DL, Lucas Duda had to be pulled from the game with an aggravation of the same back injury. According to Adam Rubin, it may be Duda who winds up on the DL. It should be noted with the Mets not putting Duda on the DL when the problem first arose, they got a PH appearance, two games at DH, and six full innings at 1B. If he was initially placed on the DL, he would’ve been ready to come back on August 28th. Presumably, he would’ve been in better shape and not susceptible to a relapse. Instead, the Mets will get three games from Duda between August 13th and September 6th. Yet again, they’ve botched an injury situation.
With Duda presumably going to the DL, Conforto gets a reprieve. I wish the Mets would let him bat against lefties. It doesn’t make sense that they don’t, especially when they let Curtis Granderson do it. However, that’s another argument to re-hash at another time.
Let’s hope Colon and Duda get better. Let’s hope Conforto begins to produce better than his .224/.333/.448 triple slash line. Let’s hope Alvarez is effective. Mostly, let’s hope the Mets start reacting better to player injuries.
As of today, the Mets 40 man roster is full with Erik Goeddel and David Wright on the 60 day DL. Since players on the 60 day DL do not count towards the 40 man roster, two players will have to be removed from the 40 man before Goeddel and Wright can be added.
The first decision could potentially come on August 11th, when Goeddel is first eligible to come off the DL. The Mets can send down Hansel Robles, who has options, but that only solves the 25 man roster issue. As of today, here are the people who are on the 40 man roster, who are also not on the 25 man roster:
- Dario Alvarez
- Vic Black
- Jack Leathersich
- Steven Matz
- Akeel Morris
- Logan Verrett
- Gabriel Ynoa
- Johnny Monell
- Anthony Recker
- Dilson Herrera
- Danny Muno
- Wilfredo Tovar
- Darrell Ceciliani
- Michael Cuddyer
- Kirk Nieuwenhuis
In deciding who to remove, there are a couple of important factors to take into account:
- This player will be exposed on waivers allowing any team to claim that player, and
- A player must be on the 40 man roster as of August 31st to be eligible for the postseason roster (there are loopholes however).
Immediately, you can rule out the pitchers. They’re young, under control, and will be snatched up by another team . . . even Vic Black. That leaves eight players for two spots.
Next, we can eliminate Michael Cuddyer and Kirk Nieuwenhuis from consideration. Cuddyer is set to come off the DL soon. Nieuwenhuis is a possibility, albeit remote right now for the postseason roster. We’re done to six players.
I would next eliminate Dilson Herrera, who is seen as the second baseman of the future. This is especially important with Daniel Murphy, Kelly Johnson, and Juan Uribe set to be free agents. We’re down to five players: Monell, Recker, Muno, Tovar, and Ceciliani. Here’s where things get tricky. You can make cases for all of these players to stay or go.
I’ll start with the catchers, who have been awful this year . . . absolutely terrible. I’m expecting the Mets to move on from both of these players in the offseason. However, we need to remember Travis d’Arnaud has been injury prone. You don’t want to him to go down and have no playoff replacement. At a a minimum, one catcher must stay on the roster. Possibly both.
Up next are the young middle infielders. Admittedly, they have both been pretty bad in very limited major league experience. Accordingly, you can’t use that experience as the sole reason to outright that player. It should be noted neither player is a top prospect in the Mets organization. I think both are candidates, specifically Tovar, who is behind Matt Reynolds, Gavin Cecchini, and Amed Rosario on the organization’s SS depth chart.
Finally, we have Ceciliani, who played decently with the Mets this year (even if he was a little exposed). It should be noted he was passed over in the last two Rule Five Drafts. I don’t imagine his limited playing time changed the minds of the other 29 teams. Furthermore, with Nieuwenhuis being on the bubble for the postseason roster, there’s no chance he would even see the field. In my opinion, this makes him the most vulnerable.
Now, I have no connections whatsoever, but I would believe Ceciliani and Monell are the two players who will be moved to make room for Goeddel and Wright. You could easily interchange that for Recker and Ceciliani or one of the middle infielders. However, I think Ceciliani and Monell are the two least regarded players on this list.
Further complicating matters is Rafael Montero, who is also on the 60 day DL. Terry Collins recently went to talk to Montero to encourage him to ramp up his rehab so he can help the team. If Montero is coming back, the Mets are going to have to make yet another roster move. I believe at this time, the middle infielders would definitively be in danger of being removed from the 40 man roster. My guess would be Tovar, but then again, I could be wrong.
The only way to avoid removing anyone, and risking losing a player, is to make a trade with another team. The problem there is if these players had value to other teams, they would have been moved already. Specifically to Ceciliani, we’ve seen teams pass on him a number of times. There is also the possibility that the player to be named later in the Eric O’Flaherty deal is one of the aforementioned 15 players making part of this post moot. However, I think that is unlikely.
Overall, the Mets have a lot of important decisions to make with an eye towards who they want on the postseason roster. It’s fun to be a Mets fan again.