Reese Kaplan -- Improving the Team From Within


The stereotype of someone living in an abusive relationship is that after all the pain inflicted there’s a respite when all is peaches and cream, but then the abuser reverts to form and you find yourself suffering the same kind of depression, pain and second guessing that made you wonder why you put yourself through the wringer again and again and again?

The Mets have been doing their best baseball rendition of this phenomenon with their fans for the past 8 years.  Yes, there was one World Series appearance and one single game playoff appearance but 6 of those 8 years have been negative experiences.  When it appeared that all was completely lost, the Mets (on the back of Brandon Nimmo) reeled off a highly improbably 3-game winning streak and the rose-colored glasses folks came out of the woodwork. 

Then came Vargas.  It sounds like the name of a bad spaghetti western.  It was that abusive gut punch we all needed to remind ourselves that you can offer up your trust and faith just so many times but they will always revert to form and crush your hopes, dreams and spirit. 

Now we’ve been browbeaten by the Wilpons and Sandy Alderson for so long that we know spending is not going to happen to solve the problems.  However, a little roster management could go a long way towards at least seeing what you need to do next year to be competitive. 

It won’t happen, of course.  Last year when the wheels came off the Skipper didn’t play younger options like Gavin Cecchini, instead preferring to trot out Jose Reyes on a daily basis who led the team in ABs.  Perhaps this time they will have seen the error their ways (ha!) and actually want to see what some non-graybeards can do.

Towards that end it’s time once again to revisit the 40-man roster which has a lot of dead weight on it even before you consider July trades. 

Hansel Robles and Chris Beck are not major league caliber pitchers.  Beck’s already been DFA’d by the White Sox and no one but Sandy Alderson seemed anxious to secure his services.  Robles pitched to a 4.92 ERA in 2017 which resulted in a long stint in AAA.  He gave up about a home run every five innings.  This year it’s a slightly higher ERA at 5.03 and he’s giving up gopher balls to the tune of a ghastly 7 HRs in just 19 IP.  The failed starter has come full circle to become a failed reliever.  At age 27 after his fourth year in the league he’s not getting better – he’s getting WORSE.

Then there are the Jose brothers.  Time to say buh-bye to both.  Bautista hasn’t hit a long ball since arriving and Jose Reyes’ most power hits come from the fans bloodying their own heads against the wall when they see him in a game. 

Inexplicably the Mets decided to add Ty Kelly to the 40-man roster only to return him to AAA without even having him get into a game.  He’s 29 years old and over the course of two years with 147 ABs he’s a .211 hitter.  In his long minor league career he has hit .280, but then so did younger castoffs like Matt Reynolds.  Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Ty. 

Now the next one is interesting in that Marcos Molina was somewhat highly regarded before going under the knife.  He is currently struggling in AA to the tune of a 5.58 ERA and an unsightly WHIP.  Now at age 23 and just back in his first full year after missing all of 2016 and much of 2017, it’s possible he could adjust but it’s also highly unlikely if he was outrighted the way he is pitching that anyone would come calling.  (Sandy would if he was at least 5 years older, of course). 

Finally, word has filtered out that AJ Ramos, currently on the 10-day DL, is going in for shoulder surgery, thus ending his 2018 season and likely his Mets career.  He should be transferred to the 60-day DL and thus open up another roster spot. 

So, by my count you have six easy roster spots to gain and possible 7th if you throw in the towel on Molina.  Now, what can you do with these vacancies?

Drew Smith has a 3.00 ERA in the pitching hell of Las Vegas and 2.88 for the 2018 season overall.  Um, yeah, we could use him.

Lefty David Roseboom is doing even better.  He was flying through the Mets’ system until a foot injury and Las Vegas both conspired to bump him from the fast track.  Back in AA this year he’s only pitching to a 2.10 ERA with 11.8 Ks per 9 IP.  He’s a 3.08 ERA pitcher for his minor league career including the injury-plagued stops in Las Vegas. 

Kevin Kaczmarski may not have the sexiest baseball resume in the world, but at age 26 he’s hitting a mere .363 for Las Vegas which is not strictly the PCL at work.  He’s a career .300 hitter who has stolen as many as 20 bases in a season.  If he was right handed he might have already supplanted Jose Bautista as the Mets are somewhat left-handed heavy in their outfield between Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Dom Smith and (when he’s health) Jay Bruce.

The recently promoted bash brothers from the Rumble Ponies, Jeff McNeil and Peter Alonso, are both now in Las Vegas.  I could MAYBE see why they would keep Alonso there as they are not yet contractually required to put him on the 40-man roster and he’s “only” 23.   Having dispatched Adrian Gonzalez, it’s possible that they want to let Wilmer Flores get a lot of time at 1B with Dom Smith getting acclimated to the outfield in light of Jay Bruce’s hips, back, butt, foot and ineptitude.  

McNeil continuing to toil in the minors is a travesty of the highest order.  Anyone who’s read a single word from Tom Brennan well knows he’s broken up with Tim Tebow in favor of the new kid in town who, at age 26, should be on the major league roster.  Unfortunately for McNeil, he too is left handed.  He’s played 2nd, 3rd and SS.  In addition to dispensing with Jose Reyes I’d send Luis Guillorme back to AAA to play every day and make room for McNeil as the emergency SS.  You do still have other options like Wilmer Flores and witness protection refugee, Gavin Cecchini, too. 

I’d also throw in the name of Eric Hanhold for consideration as well, but he just went on the DL as well on Monday.  Even without him you have five new faces to join the big club and room for 1-2 more. 

So before Sandy adds another 6 hard throwing relievers by peddling Jeurys Familia, Todd Frazier, Asdrubal Cabrera and others, there are a great many things that can be done that don’t require much effort.  They do require a commitment to winning and that’s not something we’ve seen since the days of Frank Cashen (and his less meddlesome owners). 


Mike Freire said...

Agreed.....the first phase of any rebuild is to see what you have on hand and what you no longer need.

Phase #2 would be making a list of what is still needed and then aggressively filling those needs.

Should be interesting what ends up taking place.

Reese Kaplan said...

Well, if past history is worth studying, it means Melky Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez wind up on the Mets while those pesky 26 year old kids like Jeff McNeil aren't even put on the 40-man roster.

Thomas Brennan said...

Tim Tebow returns to Brennan article land tomorrow, so take heart. In order to be on the Mets' 40 man, you have to be 40, man.

Thomas Brennan said...

Kevin Kernan headline today: Sandy Alderson’s Mets are way behind in MLB talent race.

He also had a few digs at Cespedes.

Anonymous said...

Last Night's Game

Lately, it has been as if these NY Mets have to come from behind every game, after horrible pitching has taken its toll. Last night was no exception. What about Matz SNY "Loud Mouths"? Jalen Beeks might be nice.

"Crash Davis" Frazier (The Toms River Hellcat) got some hits last night, one a homerun even, and looked sharp doing it. Holy Cow! Geritol kickin' in?

Jay Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes both down with a hip injury. No comment.

Dominic Smith is still hitting the ball and getting base hits (one a double last night) with that beautiful smooth swing I wish the Mets could patent. Dominic will master left field, just needs a little more time. You'll see. Great addition to this team and good to see Conforto and Nimmo working with him. Two class players.

2B Jose Reyes one for three last night and looking solid as predicted.

Vegas' 2B Jeff McNeil and 1B Peter Alonso still doing great and getting their share of big hits there. The new core is truly forming now Mets fans.

Nice to see Chris Flexen in relief last night, looked very impressive. Break him in slowly Mickey, work with him to iron out whatever needs to be ironed out, and the NY Mets may very well have their fifth starter in Chris.


I found catcher extraordinaire Anthony Recker (aka "The Wrecking Ball). He is on the Reno Aces (Arizona AAA) and is batting (get this Terry) .322 BA/7 doubles/10 HR's/ .410 OBP! Holy Macaroni man! Geritol again?

Matt Harvey with a big win starting last night. Had very good stats this game too for the Cincinatti Reds. After winning, Matt tore off his clothes on the mound to reveal a Dark Night costume he had been wearing underneath his uniform since his last win eleven months ago. Said in the post game interview that he promises to wash it now after this win. The interviewer thanked him.

The Cincinatti Reds may get three outstanding kid players back when Cincy trades Harvey at the trade deadline next month! Oh well.

Mack's Mets © 2012