Posted by Ernest Dove at 10:00 AM
We are just a couple of weeks away from the start of the season. One in which the Mets and their fans will look to have all the confidence, high expectations and pressure in the world to succeed. Ruben Tejada, for better or worse, was just released. The Latest reports have Asdrubal Cabrera looking to be ready to go by opening day. Either way, the Mets have at least one open spot on the 25 man, according to my calculations, and I'm trying to figure out the best man for the job.
What do we even have with the 40 man roster guys who seem to be on track to be the last men standing in the fight for that ongoing major league contract come April?
First is the 'experienced' Soup Campbell. All 363 at bats of major league experience. Soup did not perform well in 2015, not even making it over .200 BA for the season. But one thing Campbell continues to have is versatility. He also went from 55 strikeouts and 17 walks in 2014 to 37 strikeouts against 26 walks in 2015, showing the propensity to put the bat on the ball. He also does what Neither Reynolds nor Tejada could do, which is play in the outfield in a pinch. Soup also has the experience as a bench player at the major league level with the Mets, and I know even with my cloudy memory that he has actually won a few games for the Mets with his bat in his brief career. He's also still only 28 years old and can always continue to learn and grow into this bench role, and perhaps get a few extra reps to be more serviceable overall in the outfield and at 3B for the Mets in 2016. But again, sometimes a known commodity is not a great commodity. Especially when he has, in a sense, been given his chance at the major league level, and his overall numbers can be seen as poor no matter how you slice it.
As for Matt Reynolds, he has always been my mystery guy on this team and organization. I've written about him before. He basically has had one wonderful professional season, back in 2014, at the AA level. Since then, he has appeared to have battled injuries at the upper levels. And, to make matters worse (more for him than the organization) he now finds himself possibly without an actually full time role at the minor league level. It appears that Cecchini and Herrera will almost certainly be the starting SS and 2B for the Vegas ballclub when the season starts. So now the question is this: If the Mets are actually willing to demote a major league worthy Kevin Plawecki to get regular at bats in order to continue to learn and grow, what would Reynolds be able to do learning wise at the minor league level if he can't even possibly get onto the field every day, at least at the specific position he would be needed to fill one day as a utility guy on the Mets?
In this particular situation, it's not going to come to money. Both guys are pretty much minimum wage major leaguers. But I'm still wondering where each fits in on the 2016 team.
Unless anything occurs between the time I write this and at posts on Friday morning, the Mets will still have 5 legit major league outfielders on the 25 man roster, so Campbell has no use to them even as an emergency back up out there. And if the Mets truly believe that David Wright will be able to handle to a semi regular workload, combined with the health they are hoping for with Cabrera, I assume the team will be looking more towards Wilmer Flores than Campbell to man 3B when David has days off.
However, I can now use the exact same reasons, scenarios, thoughts and opinions regarding the same players, adding Neil Walker, to explain the possible need or lack of need for a rookie emergency back up with zero experience like Matt Reynolds.
Due to good health, and the American League DH rule, Matt Reynolds never even saw the field in the world series, and there's no telling how many at bats he would get on the Mets to start the season. So, considering all the hoopla over the past few years about concerns for Wilmer Flores not getting his needed play time and at bats to develop properly, what would it benefit the Mets to keep a not so highly regarded prospect in this similar position of the waiting game on the bench?
Sometimes, as the saying goes, better the devil you know than the devil you don't. This might be what keeps Soup on the roster.
And I know there was some random talk about Reynolds playing a little outfield in the spring, but unless I'm mistaken I don't believe that ever happened, and I doubt it would start now with only 2 weeks to go in spring.
Either way, what other alternatives do the Mets even have?
And besides, there's one additional factor to be considered here. If the Mets did do the quite shake up of demoting Plawecki back to the minors, the Mets would have to open up a 40 man roster spot for his replacement, because as of right now I don't believe that anyone, including Monell, is on the 40 man and plays the position other than Plaw and TDA. And since the Mets have lost so many arms in the past year due to trades, would they be willing risk losing another to add a Monell to the roster, or will they actually then release Soup after all this?
The decision is going to be made really soon. And the status of Cabrera would only delay what's coming.
We can also throw in another monkey wrench into the equation and wonder what happens if the Mets do go ahead and trade away De Aza. Would it be for cheap veteran outfielder? Would it be for defensive minded middle infielder? Would it be for a reliever? Lot's of questions. But hey, its still spring, so why not continue to throw out more questions to get this Mets talk still rollin in the down time.
I guess if I truly had to make a decision, I would say I'd go ahead and chose the unknown Reynolds. Me and my extremely limited experience watching him LIVE has allowed me to see some really solid defensive work in the field at the SS position. I'd like to believe he can hold his own out there, especially if Wilmer is playing 3B for a game.
So what if both guys find themselves on the 25 man roster? Is that a good thing for an aspiring playoff contender trying to defend its NL crown? A guy coming off a .197 BA and a rookie who doesn't have a starting spot in the minors both earning major league paychecks for a potential 90+ win team. Is this good for the Mets?
Well anyway, I better get back to check on my daughter and make sure the damn girl actually goes to bed before midnight.....................................let me know what you guys think.