Reese Kaplan -- Chicken Sh!t Into Chicken Soup


Recently Tom Brennan questioned the Mets’ collective decision making when it came to roster decisions and offered up cogent, logical and obvious recommendations to help not only right the ship but also make the heretofore unwatchable team somewhat more palatable.  Let’s go with that logic for a moment and see what a lineup might look like if fans, common sense, a desire to win and curiosity about younger ballplayers for once entered into the decision making.

Recently the Mets announced the release of Adrian Gonzalez.  That opened a huge hole at 1st base.  Naturally everyone zigged and assumed the Mets would promote monster slugger Pete Alonso from AA much like they did with Michael Conforto in 2015 when it appeared he was ready to make the leap.  Instead, they zagged and promoted Dominic Smith.  A lot of folks were readying their torches when they heard this stupidity, but as I explained yesterday, there is some rationale behind it.  You have to see if Smith can indeed prove himself and you need to see Alonso who in his career has been beset by injuries get some more minor league ABs.  Still, the consensus choice would be Alonso at 1B but there’s room at the inn for Smith as well.

Asdrubal Cabrera is hurting and should be put on the DL.  Instead the Mets are doing what they usually do – playing shorthanded, hoping that the injury is 5 days instead of 10, then inevitably wind up putting the player on the DL thus costing them 15 or more days when the injury recurs.  If they went the DL route, then they could promote Jeff McNeil to play 2B where his slugging percentage actually exceeds that of teammate Peter Alonso. 

Amed Rosario is fine at SS.  He’s showing flashes of breaking out of his early season slump with both the bat and his legs. 

Todd Frazier is the veteran presence both in the lineup and in the dugout while manning 3rd base.  He’s here, his contract is reasonable and likely he’ll be a net positive offensively by year’s end. 

Brandon Nimmo is establishing himself as a player to be watched.  It will be interesting to see what manager Mickey Callaway does if and when Yoenis Cespedes returns to a major league field. 

Michael Conforto is pressing.  There’s been some talk of him going down to AAA for awhile out of the spotlight to regroup and figure out if perhaps he’s afraid to cut loose on his swings for fear of injuring his shoulder once again.  Kevin Kaczmarski could be called up to play one of the outfield positions where he’s currently on a .396 tear.

The real problem right now for which there is no obvious solution is Jay Bruce.  He’s being paid too much money to sit (I know, I know…I’ve been beaten down by Wilpon-think), yet he’s also established enough of a track record to suggest he’s in a slump and not simply done at age 31. 

Robert Gsellman needs to be test driven in the closer role.  He’s been both unflappable and effective all year long.  Jeurys Familia and his evil twin AJ Ramos are both on the DL.  So does Mickey Callaway give Gsellman the high pressure job?  Nope…instead he hands it to veteran mediocrity Anthony Swarzak who has had a Mets career of less than 6 games.   During his nine years of undistinguished service he’s delivered a whopping 3 saves.  Everyone else seems to understand he is a setup man, not a closer.  By contrast, in his parts of three years in the majors Gsellman already has 2 saves.  He’s pitching to a 2.95 ERA.  Swarzak is at 4.21 for his career.

The next obvious question is if you have an important game on the line right now would you rather start Seth Lugo or Jason Vargas?  Wait, let me get some mega woofers so we can hear the Vargas crowd…It’s obvious to anyone but a Wilpon that the man with the 1.77 ERA who just shut out the Yankees is a better bet than the man with the 7.71 ERA whose turn is being mercifully skipped in the rotation. 

Let’s ask a different but related question…if the game is on the line and a lefty is coming to the plate would you rather have him face Jerry Blevins (of the 5.01 ERA) or Jason Vargas?  This time the crowd might be much more evenly split and therein lies the solution to two problems.  The rotation needs all the help it can get given the paucity of offense and the bullpen has been operating with a single highly ineffective lefty all year.  At age 35 John Smoltz became a full time reliever and had a very successful second half to his career.  At age 34 Dennis Eckersley went from mediocre starter shutdown reliever.  Both have plaques in Cooperstown.  I’m not saying that’s the sure path for Vargas, but if you’re going to pay him, then put him where he’s needed most. Unfortunately, until Noah Syndergaard returns you're going to need him in the rotation warts and all.

So how do you make these changes happen?  After all, Alonso and McNeil are not on the 40 man roster which currently has 39 names on it.  The long overdue farewell to Jose Reyes opens up that second spot immediately and solves this problem.  The, ahem, veteran Jose Bautista provides very little value as well.  However, Kevin Kaczmarski also needs to be put on the 40-man roster.  What to do, what to do…

Well, a quick look at this list has a few names jumping out at you.  Hansel Robles has had his shots and right now is serving mostly mop-up duty giving his penchant for delivering gopher balls.  Marcos Molina is pitching in AA where he’s getting lit up to the tune of 1-6 record with a 5.70 ERA with a WHIP of 1.91.  Love ‘em or hate ‘em, P.J. Conlon, Chris Flexen and Corey Oswalt have already eclipsed him on the depth chart.  It’s time to fish or cut bait and all Molina is doing is chumming the water. 

Another name destined to be removed from the 40-man roster is the returning journeyman Ty Kelly who inexplicably got the call when Jose Lobaton was put out to pasture for the 2nd time this year.  Kelly isn’t going to hurt you but isn’t going to help you either.  So there’s another 40 man roster casualty waiting to happen. 

With those three bold moves you could then add Kaczmarski, Drew Smith (a combined 3-1 with a 2.67 between AA and AAA), and still have your choice of Eric Hanhold, David Roseboom, Joshua Torres or Ian Krol.  I'd like to demote Paul Sewald to let him get himself back to effective once again, but I'm out of roster spots to promote another non-roster player.  Of course, if the news about Noah Syndergaard contains the word surgery, then a 60-day DL spot creates another opportunity..

When all the dust settles you would have:   

1B Peter Alonso
2B Jeff McNeill
SS Amed Rosario
3B Todd Frazier
C Devin Mesoraco
LF Kevin Kaczmarski
CF Brandon Nimmo
RF Jay Bruce
IF Luis Guillorme
IF Ty Kelly (until Wilmer Flores returns)
OF Jose Bautista (until Michael Conforto returns from AAA)
1B/OF Dom Smith
C Kevin Plawecki

SP Jacob deGrom
SP Jason Vargas
SP Steven Matz
SP Zack Wheeler
SP Seth Lugo
RP Robert Gsellman
RP Anthony Swarzak
RP Tim Peterson
RP Jacob Rhame
RP Drew Smith
RP Paul Sewald
RP Jerry Blevins

Would this team at least be more interesting to watch?


Mack Ade said...

Reese -


I love your 'new team'.

My thoughts of a few things I would do in June:

1, I would play Dom Smith at first until September when the rosters expand.

2. I would immediately promote Peter Alonso to AAA-Las Vegas

3. I would DL Cabrera until he was fully healed. Then, I would market him for a mid-season trade for a chip.

4. I too would promote Jeff McNeil to play 2B

5. I would send Luis Guillorme back to AAA-Vegas where he can play every day.

6. I would play Conforto every day to work out the funk

7. I would play Nimmo every day as a lead off hitter.

8. And, I would sit down Rosario and let him know he will be my starting shortstop through all this mess.

Thomas Brennan said...

Chicks are cute. Chicken coops smell awful. We're cooped up right now.

Reese and Mack, you are my co-GMs.

What's not to like there in your suggestions?

Mike Freire said...

I like your proposal and it is crucial to figure out who we have going forward, instead of utilizing players that will not be a part of the solution down the road.

This team lacks long term vision, hence the patch work roster of overpriced veterans.

Adam Smith said...

One recurring problem - which Alderson inadvertently alluded to in his presser this week - is that the Wilpons believe that playing the vets signals to the fans that they’re trying to win, and thus perhaps they’ll keep buying tickets. I would be much more likely to buy a ticket to see the kids right now than this hot mess.

I agree with almost all of the above, though i’m Not sold that Kaczmarski is a big leaguer (but hey, what the hell). One of the big problems here is Bruce, who I think is also playing hurt - and he was no great investment and a curious sign even if healthy. He clogs the roster - woulda been nice for the FO to have had an accurate read on Nimmo, huh? A guy they’ve been watching for YEARS. A real indictment of their talent evaluation. Bruce can’t even slide to 1B, since two of your top prospects at 1B only guys. Sheesh. Bruce needs to go, but of course, you’d have to pay nearly his entire contract just to trade him for next to nothing, so, won’t happen.

Cabrera needs a DL stint like two weeks ago, and the McNeil situation - with Reyes still on the roster - is simply infuriating. Sheesh.

Reese Kaplan said...

Kaczmarski is temporary while Cobforto finds himself in Last Vegas

Pablo Grullon said...

Adam Smith agree with you 100%. The Bruce re-signing was a terrible idea from jump. Another limited 1 dimemsional slugger who provides the double whammy of blocking Nimmo's path to full time play and land locks Conforto in centerfield for 3 years cuz Cespedes has LF to himself (when healthy). And as you mentioned, he's untradeable, unless we pay somebody to take him off our hands and that's not the Wilpon way.
Which leads me to another of my many complaints against the Wilpons. They flat out refuse to get rid of sylunk costs at the cost of the team on the field. The Red Sox had 2 terrible contracts in Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. They wisely got rid of both while eating the $ and allowing their more talented younger players to shine and they're still in first place fending off a juggernaut Yankee squad.
There's a reason the Red Sox make the playoffs regularly and our team gets there about once a decade on average. Screw the Wilpons

Mack's Mets © 2012