Stephen Guilbert - An Early Look at the 25-man Roster

RHP Noah Syndergaard's major league career will start in 2015--but he will have to wait until June. 
Here is a reasonable 25-man roster given the current state of the Mets personnel.

C- Travis d'Arnaud
1B- Lucas Duda
2B- Daniel Murphy
SS- Wilmer Flores
3B- David Wright
LF- Curtis Granderson
CF- Juan Lagares
RF- Michael Cuddyer

4th OF- John Mayberry
5th OF- Kirk Niewenhuis
CI- Eric Campbell
MI- Ruben Tejada
BC- Anthony Recker

SP1- Matt Harvey
SP2- Zack Wheeler
SP3- Jacob deGrom
SP4- Jon Niese
SP5- Bartolo Colon

CL- Bobby Parnell
CL/SU- Jenrry Mejia
CL/SU- Jeurys Familia
7/8- Vic Black
7/8/LOOGY- Josh Edgin
Mid/Long- Carlos Torres
LOOGY- Sean Gilmartin

Notes- Jan 2, 2015:

1.) OF Kirk Niewenhuis gets the call over OF Matt den Dekker because of options. If den Dekker gets the nod over Kirk, the Mets likely lose Kirk to another team via waivers.

2.) SP/RP Rafael Montero and 2B Dilson Herrera start the year in Las Vegas alongside SP Noah Syndergaard.

3.) Absence of SP Dillon Gee is from high likelihood he gets traded. Future edits of this list may include him if we continue to get closer to spring training and he is still a Met.

4.) Despite protecting Kirk Niewenhuis, OF Cesar Puello will be exposed to waivers. Given his tool set, an organization likely picks him up and puts him on their 25-man roster as a 4th/5th outfielder.

5.) Similarly, LHP Sean Gilmartin likely makes the team because, as a rule V selection, he must play the entire season on the 25-man roster or be offered back to the Twins. Other second LOOGY options include Jack Leathersich, Dario Alvarez, Darin Gorski, Scott Rice and Dana Eveland, if he is re-signed.

Crowdsource question: Why was Cesar Puello placed on the 40-man roster after 2011?

Puello signed before the age of 19 which means he has a five year "evaluation period", per MLB rules, before he must either be protected or subject to the Rule V draft. He was signed and played his first pro season in 2008, meaning he played only four years before being added to the 40-man instead of five, yet the Mets protected him anyway. Had the Mets waited a year, he would not be subject to waivers this spring--something likely to happen. All of the research I have conducted indicates that he did not have to be protected until after the 2012 season rather than the 2011 season when the Mets did so. Can anyone answer this for me? I have heard that his suspension had something to do with it but that came well after. I cannot believe this is a blunder from an intelligent front office. What happened?



Thomas Brennan said...

Personally, I'd keep Dekker over Kirk, regardless of options, and Puello over Campbell, given Puello's long term higher ceiling.

Campbell is very likely to be squeezed off the 25 anyway as Reynolds, Herrera, Conforto and Nimmo arrive over the next year or so. Give Cesar a chance to show he's got the goods in a NY Mets uniform.

Campbell might well pass thru waivers and end up back in AAA. Puello won't.

Reese Kaplan said...

I agree with your assessment but Tom's recommendations.

The only quibble not addressed is Bobby Parnell who I doubt will be ready to start the season in the pen. That will give Rice a leg up for the extra bullpen slot and see how he fares vs. Gilmartin.

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Steve.

Cesar Puello signed as an International Free Agent on July 2nd of 2007. Thus 2011 was his 1st year eligible for the Rule 5 draft.

This is why he was added to the 40 man roster in 2011.

Burned option 1 April 2012
Burned option 2 April 2013
Burned option 3 April 2014.

Anonymous said...

I agree with just about everything, except for Parnell who wont be ready for opening day and Soup over Puello. Soup has no particular defensive value, other than being passable at a couple of positions, but he lost many of those ABs to pick up this off season. He wont get any ABs in LF, 1B or 2B, so that just leaves 3B and he was really sub par there and they have better options, so he only makes the team because of his bat and that was not that great. A .263 average, no pop and a 30% K rate doesn't scream TAKE ME!! I think he goes back to Vegas for the same reason as MDD, options. His bat and defensive versatility are not so great that it would preclude a major league audition for Puello. If Soup gets the call over Puello, when he still has options, it would be a travesty. Soup didn't even get ABs at 3B when DW went down last year, so I don't see where he gets any ABs this year
Anon Joe F

Anonymous said...

One other thing: who would have a better chance of clearing waivers, Puello or Soup?

Buddy3 said...

Parnell will start on DL. Terry Collins has already announced that. Campbell has all three options left so he will not be exposed to waivers if he fails to make the team, he will just be optioned to Las Vegas. Puello should take either Parnell or Campbell's spot on the 25 man roster. If Puello is waived the team claiming him only needs to keep him on the 40 man roster, not the 25.The period for being protected on the 40 man roster is based on the date you sign a contract and your age, not when you actually play. Nice early analysis, but you need to get facts correct before you post.

Anonymous said...

Soup would easily clear waivers....Puello probably would not.

That said though....Can the team afford to carry 3 OF'ers on the roster? Especially since 1 bench will be tied up to a defensive minded SS and the other to the back-up C.

Cuddyer would be the back-up 1B, and Tejada 2B/SS, but who backs up 3B? I have seen people say Cuddyer as well but he's only played 3 games there since 2010 and 17 total since 2005. In addition he also got hurt playing there last season.

Anonymous said...


Good point on the options for Soup.

In reference to Puello, yes the claiming club only needs to keep him on the 40 man roster but they would also be in the same situation the Mets are.

In order for Puello to play in the minors this season the Mets or any MLB team is going to have to somehow pass him through waivers since he is out of options.

Unfortunately....I can see Puello being one of those poor guys who racks up some serious frequent flyer miles by getting claimed by 7+ different teams in 2015 circa Chris Schwinden in 2012.

Mets tried to pass Schwinden through waivers to option him to AAA but he was then claimed by Toronto. Toronto tried to option him, but he was then claimed by Cleveland. The Indians then tried to option him but then the Yankees claimed him.....and FINALLY the Yankees tried to option him and the Mets claimed him BACK!!!.....All in a span of 34 days.

Lew Rhodes said...

No way Kirk makes the team over MDD

Not if the Mets are serious about making a run at the play-offs this year.

MDD is a better base runner, much better defender and seems to have adjusted his swing and approach to cut way down on the strikeouts - his K:BB last year in AAA and MLB was about 1.65

Kirk's was 3.73 in AAA and 2.44 in MLB - he struck out 39 times in 130 PA's - over 30%.

You have to look at their roles - we are talking 4/5 OFer - meaning not a lot of regular work, pinch-hitting, pinch-running and defensive replacement

MDD makes better contact, is faster and plays better defense.

Let's not forget that MDD's CF defense is about on par with Lagares - he was putting up ridiculous Web Gems in college and has been consistently described as one of the best defensive OFers in all of the minor leagues - rated above Lagares a few years ago

I am not so sure Kirk will get claimed - I think his ceiling is nothing more that a solid AAAA player

And I have always been a big fan of Kirk's - seems like a great kid and a gamer.

Lew Rhodes said...

Soup won't make the team - he may make it out of ST if the team doesn't need a 5th pitcher until a week into the season

That would help him pass waivers if they keep him a week - everyone's 25 man will be set, so he likely makes it through (maybe they try the same trick with Puello)

But, I don't see Soup making it over Puello - Puello has too high of a ceiling if things come together.

Plus, Puello has more power, better contact and plus OF defense - all things that make for a better bench player

Also, Soup doesn't over any defensive value - Flores can play 3B for Wright, and so can Murphy.

Lew Rhodes said...

And lastly -

Parnell will start on the DL and I see Monterro taking that spot out of Spring Training to see how he does.

Once Parnell returns, Monterro can move back to AAA and stretch back out to a starter's work load

Anonymous said...

So can even Cuddyer in a pinch. Soup lost all of his ABs (1B, OF) to Mayberry and Cuddyer, so the only spot he could possibly play is 3B and he was a fire hydrant there. What they need from the bench is offense and speed, there is enough defensive versatility to cover all of the infield positions, but they could use the extra pop and speed that Puello would provide over Soup and even his glove in the OF would be better that the Soup glove in the infield. No brainer and if they give Soup the slot over Puello, they are foolish

Anonymous said...


Oh but Lew....if you put Flores at 3B to cover Wright....that means you would have to start Tejada at SS...



greg b said...

I dont see anyway Campbell beats out Puello if the Mets have to expose Puello through waivers.

Reese Kaplan said...

@Lew Rhodes -- No way Kirk SHOULD make the team over den Dekker...but he will. Options speak louder than ability sometimes...

Anonymous said...

And to be fair....Nieuwenheis was actually pretty good in 2014.

.259 AVG, .828 OPS

Of his 29 hits, 14 were doubles, 1 triple, and 3 HRs resulting in a ridiculous isolated power rate of .223.

Amongst qualified players....only 12 guys in the MLB posted better ISO rates than that.

He also posted above average defensive metrics in both LF and CF. He's a pretty serviceable OF bench player.

Thomas Brennan said...

Chris, see your notes on Kirk. All true, but he struck out 39 times in 128 at bats, did not hit all that well in AAA, and struck out a bunch there too. I'll go Dekker, but if it is Kirk, would not be the end of the world.

Charles said...

If David's out, Murphy backs him up, Flores goes to second, and tejada goes to short.

Reese Kaplan said...

You can't convince me that a guy who strikes out in 35% of his ABs is worth keeping on the roster. He's had 489 major league ABs already...what more growth can be expected for Nieuwenhuis? He is what he is. Move on. It's den Dekker's turn.

As a comparison, even a human windmill like Curtis Granderson whiffs in but 26% of his ABs...and he has shown 40 HR power. Far be it from me to defend that signing, but I'm using this point to illustrate how bad Kirk is.

Stephen Guilbert said...

Guys, look, this isn't a list of players that make up the absolute best 25-man roster. But this is what makes the most sense to me at the moment. I don't think Campbell deserves to be anywhere near the 2015 roster but he does provide versatility for a team that lacks that in their bench. Of the five bench guys, two are purely outfielders, one is a backup catcher, and one is a middle infielder who is absolutely necessary if we're running a "shortstop" like Flores out there every day.

You guys could be right that MdD or Puello or someone else gets the not over Campbell but I think because he can play just about everywhere on the diamond and is a righty complement to whichever lefty OFer wins the job (MdD or Kirk), he probably sneaks his way on. My opinion at this point and I don't like it but I could very much see it happening--the same way Andrew Brown made the early season roster instead of MdD or Puello last year.

Stephen Guilbert said...

Regarding Parnell--maybe I should have posted a disclaimer but nowhere in that article does it say this is the opening day roster. It's an early roster. From the available reports, Parnell should be ready early in the season. If we're looking simply at the opening day roster, this thing looks different. Many of the same sources report that Harvey won't make a start until the home opener eight days after opening day. Given his injury, it's highly likely the Mets put him on the DL as well.

So if you want to look at this as purely an opening day roster, take out Parnell and Harvey and put in, oh, Montero and Gorski/Rice/Alvarez take your pick of reliever.

I intentionally omitted the words "opening day roster" from this piece. I will include a disclaimer on future versions of this piece but the idea is that this is an early season roster. I expect Parnell to be ready by the second week of the season and until I know more, he'll be on this list.

Stephen Guilbert said...

Lastly, my Cesar Puello question has still not been answered. Puello signed in 2007 but didn't play until 2008. Since he signed before the age of 19, per MLB rules, he has a five year evaluation period:

Year one: 2008
Year two: 2009
Year three: 2010
Year four: 2011 (protected here)
Year five: 2012 (should be protected here)
Option 1: 2013
Option 2: 2014 (issue here)
Option 3: 2015 (should be issue here).

Here's the rule, per mlb.com:


"Players who were signed when they were 19 or older and have played in professional baseball for four years are eligible, as are players who were signed at 18 and have played for five years."

The reason it's "*played* for four or five years" is that a player who signs December 31 and turns 16 on that day would get only four years of evaluation instead of five, which is a bit ridiculous when you think about forcing a 20 year old to be on a 25-man. That's the age of a college sophomore or junior. The rule is that signed AND play for those years. The Mets obviously signed Puello in 2007 but he also obviously didn't play--for reasons I do not understand unless he's signed *late in the year* which means he still shouldn't have to be protected until 2012, not 2011. So one of a few things happened:

1.) He was signed April 1 when he turned 16 and played somewhere that I cannot find
2.) He signed early and got hurt but was playing in the organization even if it wasn't live.
3.) He signed late in 2007 and the Mets messed up.

I can't find any evidence of an injury or at bats he got in any league in 2007. That would suggest, at least to me, that he signed late in 2007 in which case 2008 becomes his first evaluation year. Based on the rules the way they are stated BY the MLB, that's what should have happened. So either the MLB needs to re-phrase that rule on their website, Puello played in 2007 and I can't find it, the Mets messed up, or I'm still missing something here, largely probably because of the first thing I mention in this sentence.

Stephen Guilbert said...

Every site I can find about Puello has his first professional playing in 2008. If he was signed in 2007 and his evaluation period started then, why the heck wasn't Puello in games? There's not injury history on him AND no record of him playing in any 2007 games. If he's signed late in the year, his evaluation window runs 2008-2012.

Mack, do you remember any news about either when Puello was signed, if he was hurt in 2007, or a rule that I do not understand? Because it sure seems that Puello was protected a year too early. Even the press release in 2011 when Puello was protected says nothing revealing.

Stephen Guilbert said...


"Parnell will start on DL. Terry Collins has already announced that"

No, it's announced that it's likely. I also never mentioned that this was an opening day roster. I clarify above.

"Campbell has all three options left so he will not be exposed to waivers if he fails to make the team"

I never said he would be lost to waivers.

"Puello should take either Parnell or Campbell's spot on the 25 man roster".

I would like for this to happen, but I think it comes down to losing Puello or losing Kirk and I think the organization likes Kirk a lot better.

"If Puello is waived the team claiming him only needs to keep him on the 40 man roster, not the 25".

This is false. Whichever teams claims him will have to put him on their 25-man roster or expose him to the same waivers that the Mets did. His options are up--doesn't matter who has him. He has to play in the bigs or clear waivers and accept an assignment.

"The period for being protected on the 40 man roster is based on the date you sign a contract and your age, not when you actually play".

Not exactly. See comments above. The evaluation period has two components: Age the contract is signed and years played.

"you need to get facts correct before you post".

If you're going to insult me, come with better arsenal.

Lew Rhodes said...

Steve - I recall vaguely reading somewhere that he had more rights relating to the steroid related investigation by being on the 40 man versus being a minor leaguer.

By being on the 40 man, he was protected by the MLB Players Association agreement; which evidentially has more protections in it.

If nothing else adds up, I would bet that this is why he was added to the 40 man early - just a guess.

Stephen Guilbert said...

Lew, that's EXACTLY my suspicions as well. I chatted with another guy who used to work for an MLB front office and he said it might be because of some foul play as a teenager we might not know about. If he signed on his 16th birthday and there was a failed drug test or something, you have to count that year. The thing that's bugging me is that there's zero evidence of foul play in 2007, there's no game log of him ever taking an at bat in 2007, and I can't find his actual signing date. It's frustrating.

International signing period is what...July through June, right? His birthday is April 1 so if he signed on his birthday (which is rare), he should have played SOMEWHERE in 2007. He didn't. Why? And if he didn't sign until after the rookie and DSL leagues were done in 2007, his evaluation period starts with 2008 games.

The Mets protected Puello before the biogenesis scandal, which was 2013.

Seriously what am I missing here?

Stephen Guilbert said...

As of a few minutes ago, the Mets have signed RHRP Buddy Carlyle who was effective for the Mets in 2014. Add him to the relieving mix that could fill in for Parnell (and a roster spot from Harvey) the first week of the season.

I doubt he sticks around for long, though, if he does make the OD 25-man.

Thomas Brennan said...

Every team needs a buddy.

Stephen Guilbert said...

I do like what he gave us last year but I can't really see a spot for him unless arms start dropping.

Thomas Brennan said...

It is such a mystery, maybe PUELLO does not even know. An extra year would be great.

Stephen Guilbert said...

Well we know he won't get another year. He's played three option seasons already and won't get another since he was protected post 2011 season. I just can't for the life of me figure out why.

Lew Rhodes said...

I don't think there was anything in 2007 - maybe he just worked that year in the Mets training center in the DR

I think he was added to the 40 man early to protect him during the biogenisis flap

Stephen Guilbert said...

Lew that would be very strange to do. I understand a few weeks of working out for evaluation and entry-level training but a full season worth of baseball? Nah. He would have at least gotten in a couple dozen DSL games.

The Mets protected him almost two years before Biogenesis.

I still don't get this.

Christopher Soto said...

Steve I answer the Cesar puello inquiry above

Christopher Soto said...

A player who is 19 yrs old or younger the June 5th before his signing and is approaching his 5th Rule 5 draft is eligible for selection.

Puello signs July 2nd 2007
Ineligible for Dec 07 rule 5 (1st)
Ineligible for Dec 08 rule 5 (2nd)
Ineligible for Dec 09 rule 5 (3rd)
Ineligible for Dec 10 rule 5 (4th)
Eligible for Dec 11 draft (5th)
Added to 40 man roster Nov 11
Protected from Dec 11 draft

Christopher Soto said...

The mlb.com website uses poor verbiage.....the actual rulebook says

-A minor league player who was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract is eligible for selection starting with the 5th Rule 5 Draft after he signs, and a minor league player who was 19 years or older on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract becomes eligible for selection starting with the 4th Rule 5 Draft that followed his signing.

Stephen Guilbert said...

Where is your source that he signed July 2? I can't find that ANYWHERE.

And if you read the words above, you'd see that I concede that if he signs early enough in 2007 then the protection makes sense but what does NOT is that he didn't play a single game that year. I still want to know why. Even the 16 year olds see at bats in the DSL.

And so based on your analysis, Jhoen Urena (signed in 2011 but didn't play professionally until 2012), will have to be protected as a 20 year old after this season having, likely, not played a single game above Savannah.

That seems moronic, doesn't it? Also, doesn't it contradict the rule I posted above that states five years PLAYING professional baseball? How did Puello play professional baseball if he didn't actually play any baseball?

What if you sign a 16 year old dominican pitcher late in the year and he blows his arm out and misses two years. You're telling me you have to put him on the 40 man roster as a 20 year old when he could still be in the DSL? Granted, few teams would take a player like that and stash them on the 40 but there's something either off about this rule or the accepted consensus.

I still want to know why Puello didn't play in 2007 if he was actually signed that early.

Stephen Guilbert said...

How is that poor verbiage? It simply contradicts what you posted above. One is that they play professional ball, one is purely a clock thing. Five years after you sign, you're subject to the draft.

And thank you for at least clearly up the signing date (still waiting on your source for that) but it does not explain to me why he didn't play in 2007. That's surprising. Usually there's at least 10 DSL at bats or something.

I cannot believe we have to protect Urena after this season or leave him open to the rule-V. If he goes off, the Mets will be forced to protect him but he's still years away.

Stephen Guilbert said...

Something was still screwy with this. What I'm learning is that I really don't like this rule. 16 year old international players are treated the same as 18-year-old domestic athletes and a year behind 21, 22, 23 year old collegiate players.

The Mets did the same thing with Rosario. They signed him late summer 2012 but he didn't play until 2013. So he'll be subject to the rule-V after 2016. Geez I don't like this.

Stephen Guilbert said...

And one last thing:

EVEN IF Puello signed summer 2007 and EVEN IF he didn't get to see any game time that year and EVEN IF everything was done according to logical processes,

Why did the Mets decide to protect him after a season of A-ball in which he had a .710 OPS and struck out five times for every walk? It's inconceivable that a team would take a player like that and put him on their 25-man roster for the entire season. Impossible, actually.

That year, they protected Flores, Familia, and others. Familia just had a very good season in Double-A and could have pitched out of any team's bullpen even back then. Wilmer Flores only made it to High-A but at least he had a very strong season. I don't understand protecting either of them but Flores was a top prospect back then and could conceivably been grabbed.

But Puello? Nahhh. Not a chance. Not with his skill set having the season he had at the level he had it at. Marte, Valdespin, and Armando Rodriguez were all part of that international class and none of them were protected either. Valdespin was all the way up to Triple-A already and playing quite good baseball. It's a wonder he wasn't taken but it just about proves that Puello wouldn't have either.

Thank you for clearing some of that up but the decision is still mind boggling to me and the Mets are paying for it now. It was a mistake. I just didn't know why. Now I do. Thank you

Ernest Dove said...

Im not worried about any of this because we all want the Mets to spend the next decade competing for division titles and championships, not stockpiling 'prospects'........
They created rules like this in the first place so that smart GMs with even smarter scouts don't simply keep all the talent to themselves and pay them minimum wage minor league salaries for as long as until they might need them.....
Anyway, the Mets are supposed to have some of their talent actually pan out in the majors, for years to come. As we've said many timez, the mets can't have a 10 man rotation. They can't have 6 -7 outfielders and they can't keep ALL of the low level high ceiling shortstops currently in their system.
People gotta get traded for missing pieces every year, including 3-4 prospect packages for one all star.
Don't worry about Puello who probably missed his chance. Dont even worry about Rosario because he ain't steppin onto citi field anytime soon either way. Lets hopefully enjoy 2015 and support all 25 who make the playoff contending roster.

Stephen Guilbert said...

I'm all about that, Ernest. And I get why those rules are in place but since they're there...at least use them so you can maximize your talent. Putting a 20-year-old A-ball mediocre talent on the 40-man a year early doesn't do that and now the Mets will either lose him or Kirk--both valuable and viable 25-man roster options. And that sucks.

Christopher Soto said...

I sent you an email Steve

Stephen Guilbert said...

Thanks, I got it. Soto's research is good and Puello did sign some time in July or August of 2007 and thus would have to be protected in 2011 before the draft.

The Mets messed this one up. Puello was coming off a very pedestrian season in A-ball as a 20 year old. There is absolutely no reason to protect him then. They're paying for it now.

However, Chris is right--the Mets did protect him when it was the first year he would have been subject to the rule-V. I just can't believe any team in their right mind would have selected him. If they did, then there's no way he stays on a 25-man roster for 162 games.

I also really don't like that MLB.com has bad information on their website. That's what I was going off of--not other sites like hardball and wikipedia that said otherwise. Oh well.

Thanks, Chris, for sorting some of that out. I appreciate it.

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