Mike - Roster Construction Possibilities - Part Three


I am going to present my thoughts on this topic over the course of several articles, since each section requires some explanation and things would become a bit lengthy if it was presented as one piece.

The idea for this series of articles came about while listening to fellow Mets fans discuss what the Mets "need to do" in the off season in order to return to relevance.  Some would argue that a complete roster overhaul is necessary, while others feel that only a healthy season from our pitching staff will be the key to success.  Like most topics, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

So, in order to figure out what our favorite team needs to do, it makes sense to take stock of what is on hand first.  Sort of like grocery shopping......you take a look in the pantry before you make a list to take to the store.   Additionally, you also need to have a general framework with which to work.  Using our grocery store analogy, you likely have a series of meals planned out ahead of time and you craft your list based upon what you are trying to accomplish.

The alternative is to go shopping on a whim without any consideration for what you are trying to accomplish.  A cart full of random, expensive ingredients that don't accomplish your goal may look nice at the checkout counter, but it won't work out when the time comes to execute your plan.

Most teams employ a similar framework for roster construction, like so;

Starters - C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, LF, CF, RF

Bench - C2, MI, CI, OF4, OF5

Rotation - SP1, SP2, SP3, SP4, SP5

Bullpen - LR-R, LR-L, S-R, S-L, SET-R, SET-L, CL1

***I will explain the roster designations further as we move along, in case the letters don't make sense.

***I also understand that we may be moving towards an eight man bullpen, so you would swap one of the bench pieces for the extra arm.  For now, I am going to proceed as though we are constructing a more traditional roster.

Now that we know what positions need to be filled, we can take a closer look at what the current team has "in the pantry", so to speak.

You can break the current roster down into three subsections;

1.  Foundation Pieces

2.  Support Pieces

3.  Replacement Pieces and/or Voids

For Part Three, we will close this roster analysis by taking a look at who are Replacement Pieces and/or where there are voids in the current roster.   A player in this category is someone that is on the roster, but for whatever reason is NOT contributing to the overall performance of the team.  This will sound harsh, but from purely a performance based perspective, management should actively be trying to upgrade the positions that the player occupies on the current roster.

Most of the teams in the league have one or more players that fit this description.  Usually, the player will be making more money then the production that they provide, or they may have ongoing injury issues that contribute to a similar result.  Perhaps they simply didn't age very well and they are now on the periphery of the teams' plans.  Ugly terms like "salary dump" usually accompany any personnel moves that involve these players.

Some teams have more of this type of player then others, but I would be wiling to bet that successful teams usually have fewer players of this ilk occupying slots on their rosters. This section will also include any voids in the roster, meaning an opening that currently does not have a player assigned to play the position in the coming season.

So, after reviewing the current state of the Mets' roster, I count the following Replacement  Pieces and/or Voids:


3B - David Wright**


LR-R - Seth Lugo**




By my count, that is 28% of our entire roster, which would seem to be an above average amount, although I have not evaluated any other team's rosters with regards to this breakdown.  Still, the fact that over one fourth of the roster is "to be determined" at this point in the off season is a bit disconcerting. 

You may be wondering why I put asterisks next to certain names.   I think those players COULD make the jump to either Support Pieces or even Foundation Pieces with more experience/improvement or simply a return to health.  In David Wright's case, he was on pace for a possible post-career trip to Cooperstown before the dreaded issues with his back.  In true Mets' fashion, it occurred just AFTER inking him to a huge contract to be our Derek Jeter, aka the "face of the franchise".    

It also wouldn't be a shock to see Seth Lugo (and his nasty curve ball) overtake Zack Wheeler and join the starting rotation.  Especially with Mickey Callaway's infatuation with breaking pitches.  In that scenario, Wheeler would potentially move to the bullpen and assist with one of the open slots there (Long Reliever, Specialty Reliever or even Set Up Reliever).

Looking at the list above, it should be viewed as a great opportunity for Sandy to upgrade the roster as opposed to a sign of all the problems the organization has had in the past year or so (but I try to be a glass half full sort of fan).

In the next section, we will take a stab at how the Mets may want to address the open positions on the roster, now that we have a better idea of what our shopping list looks like (2B, 3B, OF5, LR-L, S-R and SET-L).


Reese Kaplan said...

So where does that put people like Rafael Montero, Robert Gsellman, Paul Sewald, Chasen Bradford, Matt Reynolds, Gavin Cecchini, etc.?

Mike Freire said...

They are in the conversation for any of the VOIDS, I suppose. If Sandy cannot fill them externally, then someone has to be on the team.

I view the slots listed on this section as an opportunity to get better, not more of the same. For example, the signing yesterday (Swarzak) will fill the void for a reliable "situational righty" (S-R) for the bullpen, so we don't HAVE to rely on someone who wasn't as effective (Montero, Robles).

I don't expect Sandy to fill all of the slots from the outside, so you may see some of the names listed above on the opening day roster.

***I also explain things a bit further in the fourth and final installment, which Mack may post in the next few days.

Tom Brennan said...

"The team has entered a void, Captain Sandy. I don't know if we can make it."

Yanks filled a void with Giancarlo Stanton.

Unknown said...

You left out 1st base,Cabrera was groom for third and did fine so I don't out a void there plus Flores can backup in pinch.The biggest void is the staff where we must decide to stick with injury prone guys or move them like I herd a great trade Matz for Hernandez. Matz is a injury prone player and so is Harvey we where right to test the waters.I think we need two starters as our big void.I would make the trade for Hernandez and sign a starter with the rest of the cash and wing it in the outfield with what we have .

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