Reese Kaplan -- The Roster Shuffle


Between injuries and post-season needs the Mets have a few important roster decisions to make.  The following list is from the Mets own official website, yet it is out of date.  I have highlighted in color the status of the different players on the 40-man roster.  After you consider the names on the list, the next order of business is analyzing the players returning from injury and the option of the roster expansion come September 1st.  It's not going to be easy to rearrange the pieces in the quest for the Mets' first post season appearance since 2006.  However, these tough decisions will have to be made:




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The first issue concerns the impending return of David Wright.  There are a lot of schools of thought here regarding how best to handle not only his addition to the active roster, but someone's removal from it.  To complicate matters further, Wright is currently not on the 40-man roster as he was on the 60-day DL.  That means potentially two moves could have to be made in order to clear space.  Let's look at some of them:

  • Demote Michael Conforto.  While he's shown that he appears to be for real, he's not exactly been a difference maker.  His removal from the active roster opens up a spot for Wright, leaving Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares, Michael Cuddyer and Kelly Johnson capable of playing the OF.  This move would remove a left handed power bat and leave Johnson as pretty much the only bench option in that regard.  It would also not solve the 40-man roster problem as Conforto would still be on it while playing in Las Vegas.
  • Disable Juan Lagares.  While his manager as publicly stated he thinks Lagares may need Tommy John surgery, no one from the front office has thus far agreed.  It's evident he's not throwing nearly as well as he did in his two previous years, though ironically lately he's been hitting quite well in a righty platoon-type of role.  Still, this move would necessitate him going on the 60-Day DL and kill two birds with one stone.  
  • Demote Wilmer Flores.  This option may not play well with the fans who have lately embraced him as a folk hero of sorts, but his role has been minimized with the steady if unspectacular play of Ruben Tejada at shortstop and the track record of Daniel Murphy at 2B.  The other flaw with this plan is the manager's obsession with lefty/righty batting platoons and Murphy's backup, Kelly Johnson, is also a lefty.  Furthermore it leaves you with 37 year old Juan Uribe as the backup shortstop, a position he has not played regularly in five years.  
  • DFA your choice of Kelly Johnson or Juan Uribe.  You probably aren't going to re-sign both of them for 2016.  You could cut ties with one now, replacing him with David Wright in the lineup and the remaining one on the bench.  That's a step up in terms of talent.  This move would be gutsy as you gave up some prospects to get them from Atlanta, but neither are setting the world afire with batting averages around the Mendoza line for their cumulative albeit brief Mets tenure.  However, like the Lagares suggestion, it would solve both the 40-man and 25-man roster issue simultaneously. 
  • Suggest to Michael Cuddyer that he's tired, too.  Hey, if the Player's Union let's them get away with the Bobby Parnell story, a precedent has been set.  
The next decision that must be made is Kirk Nieuwenhuis.  Right now he's starting rehab in the minors and the Mets can keep him there for 20 games which would push past the September 1st deadline for roster expansion.  This decision is a fairly easy one.

What about Erik Goeddel?  He was a pleasant surprise in 2014 after being converted from lackluster starter to cromulent reliever.  This year he was similarly doing well but the crowded bullpen means someone would have to go.  Hansel Robles recent mutli-inning effective stint against a quality Pittsburgh Pirates team may have pushed lefty Eric O'Flaherty to the back of the line.  He's not been good at all since arriving.  Of course, they could stall the arrival of Goeddel by keeping him in the minors (moving from Binghamton for rehab to Las Vegas) until after September 1st, but the question they have to ask is whether the fringe relievers like Robles, O'Flaherty and Carlos Torres are a better bet for the post-season.  With the return of Logan Verrett yesterday and the presence of both Robles and Sean Gilmartin, they may be set at "long man".

Then there's the question of Steve Matz.  He obviously has some immense talent, though he only got to feature it in two major league starts.  However, his presence (along with that of Logan Verrett) means that the innings limits people feared for the Mets' other starting pitchers is less of a concern.  However, who goes to make room for him?  The same list above would be the vulnerable pitchers, but would they even consider the move to DFA 42 year old Bartolo Colon in order to make space for Matz' return?  

Come September 1st, there are probably quite a few people who could help.  Johnny Monell has had a solid year with the bat and is a long-ball threat.  Wilfredo Tovar has quietly stolen 30 bases while hitting .283.  Darrell Ceciliani has hit even better at .345 with 8 HRs and 13 SBs.  Relief pitchers Vic Black and Dario Alvarez also look like they could help for the September stretch.

The problem may be that the Las Vegas 51s are fighting for a pennant, currently sporting just a 1.5 game lead over the El Paso Chihuahuas.  Their regular season is scheduled to end on September 7th and a divisional title will mean entry into the AAA playoffs.  That success could play into decision making about stripping the club bare of its assets when they arguably need them most, though it's more important for the Mets to make it to the post season than it is Las Vegas.

How would you handle the upcoming roster choices?


The Closer said...

Well, this is why Sandy gets paid the big bucks of course, as these are some tough decisions to have to make and I'm glad I dont have to make them.

Thankfully, I'm glad their are tough decisions to be made at this point vs years past, when we had to sign guys like Harang and Dice-K just to finish the season since we had no options to call up from the farm.

No question we need some help in the bullpen, but considering the starting pitching surplus, we could use guys like Colon and Matz and the pen for a 7 game series for a 2 inning stretch when needed, we just need to get there!!

Mack Ade said...

Well, I'd handle the roster changes one at a time.

First up seems to be David Wright and I would send Michael Conforto down to Vegas until Sept 1st.

Next up would probably be Eric Goeddell and I would reassign either Carlos Torres or the new Irish guy...

Christopher Soto said...

Well in regards to Wright.....two things need to happen.

A) a 40 man roster move needs to be made


B) a 25 man roster move needs to be made.

1st....I DFA Eric Campbell to remove him from the roster....having both him and Kelly Johnson on the same 40 man is redundant. He is also very unlikely to get claimed.

2nd.... Unfortunately....the OF is too crowded. I would option Michael Conforto to AAA.

Line-up would be
RF Granderson L
3B Wright R
2B Murphy L
CF Cespedes R
1B Duda L
LF Cuddyer R
C d'Arnaud R
SS Tejada R

Reese Kaplan said...

You could also DFA Muno, Monell, or Nieuwenhuis.

Unknown said...

40 man roster spots will not be an issue - there are 3 no brainers:

1) Leathersich to the 60 day DL

2) DFA Monell off the 40 man - either him or Recker, but since Recker is up and Monell isn't that is a no brainer.

3) DFA Muno is needed (sorry Tom) - with Johnson / Uribe in the MLB he isn't coming back up and he will like be moved off the 40 man this winter anyway

25 Man Roster is similarly easy given the date:

1) Demote Conforto for 1 week when Wright returns 0 it is only a week, let him go to AAA and play every day for a week

2) If Goedell is ready next week - demote Robles or Verrett for the week until Sept 1 - Goedell is better than both of them.

3) Kirk stays on rehab until Sept 1 - ditto Matz

4) On Sept 1, recall Conforto, Robles/Verrett, Alvarez, and Tovar and activate Kirk from the DL

All games are important, but we are talking the Phillies and the Red Sox the last week of August, so we can likely be okay without Conforto and Robles/Verrett that week

Uribe and Johnson aren't going anywhere

Tom Brennan said...

I am with Lew's analysis. Muno is untouchable - just kidding, but he cracked the .300 Mark in AAA yesterday, which as James would note is with a buck fifty in the bigs.

If they call up guys from Vegas Sept 1, promote guys to Vegas from Bingo or Lucie, whichever squad misses the playoffs. An MLB pennant race is far more important.

James Preller said...

Lew has got this covered. I don't think there are any difficult decisions to make.

Just a note about September call-ups: too many is disruptive and unnecessary. This is not like in years past, when you want to give a rook a cup of coffee. I personally like guys who can do one thing really well. And, yes, a guy who has been here before. Kirkkkkk might have some value as a defensive replacement, LH pinch-hitter. Conforto comes back up. Maybe Campbell, out of respect. An extra arm in the BP, maybe a LOOGY in there. A 3rd catcher allows you to bring up Plawecki and use him, or d'Arnaud, to pinch hit or sub out if there's a need for a pinch runner.

Ideally, I'd love to have a reliable speed guy on the bench, but I don't see him in the system. Ceciliani is about the best we can get. Tovar is fast, but no ML experience would make me reluctant to throw him on the bases in a high-pressure situation.

Unknown said...

Tovar has been to the bigs before - granted not much

He is your speed guy - he has more steals this year than Ceciliani.

Reese Kaplan said...

Regarding Tovar...although he has 30 steals he's also been caught 13 times.

Reese Kaplan said...

Also, bear in mind regarding the thought to transfer Leathersich to the 60-day DL:

"Once the season ends, a player on the 60-day disabled list must be reinstated to the 40-man roster or designated for assignment"

Unknown said...

But we have numerous guys coming off - Uribe, Johnson, Colon, Clippard, Murphy and likely Cespedes

That's 6 spots

Stubby said...

Not too concerned about this just now. You want Wright back before September 1 and I have no problem demoting Conforto and DFA'ing Monell. I'd like to get Matz on the post-season roster, too, if we can. I'd use him out of the pen, I think. He can take O'Flaherty's spot (or Verrett's or Robles'). Other than that, there's not too much I want to mess with.

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