Mets Lose Andrew Brown and Juan Centeno
This shouldn’t be shocking news, as neither player seemed to have a role on the 25-man roster going into 2015.
Interestingly, Brown was claimed by Billy Beane‘s Oakland Athletics. Why is that interesting? because it seems like Beane has a penchant for finding gems in the junk pile, particularly when it comes to sluggers. Maybe Beane thinks he just reacquired Jeremy Brown?
Andrew Brown showed brief flashes in 2013, hitting 7 homeruns in limited duty, but appeared in only 19 games in 2014, posting a dismal .586 OPS with 2 homers in 49 plate appearances. However, he did blast 21 HR in 446 PAs for Wally Backman‘s Las Vegas 51s this past season, with a .372 OBP — maybe Beane is gambling that Brown’s production wasn’t due to the thin air and short fences of the homer-happy PCL.
Will the Mets miss Brown, who turned 30 in September and appears to be the classic “AAAA” player? Most likely not, but clearly he was not in the plans for 2015, despite the team’s need for a righthanded-hitting left fielder / first baseman type. My guess is the Mets don’t see Brown as ever breaking out the way Lucas Duda did, and feel they can find better options this winter.
As for Juan Centeno, again, the Mets don’t seem to have room for the diminutive defensive specialist — not with Travis d’Arnaud, Anthony Recker, and Kevin Plawecki all ahead of him. If d’Arnaud or Plawecki move to a corner outfield position in 2015, though, Centeno might be missed. It could be argued that finding a veteran, defensive-minded backstop is easy enough — see Taylor Teagarden — but if Plawecki finds his way onto the 25-man roster in 2015, there won’t be much depth behind the plate in AAA. The next catchers on the totem pole now that Centeno is gone are 27-year-old German Kai Gronauer and 25-year-old Xorge Carrillo — both underwhelming options. Without Centeno, the Mets will have to find another Teagarden / Landon Powell type of guy to stash in AAA, just in case.
I was a little surprised to see Centeno claimed, as he’s never played more than 79 games in any minor league season and never been considered a top prospect. However, the Brewers are thin at the catching position, and, clearly, are impressed with Centeno’s skill set. He IS a top-notch defender with a strong arm — he was the first catcher in MLB to throw out Billy Hamilton, and he turns consistent, legitimate, in-game pop times of 1.7 to 1.8, which is outstanding (not to be confused with the pop times recorded at amateur showcases, which are complete horse manure). Though Centeno never showed power in the minor leagues, and his 5’9″, under-200-pound frame suggests he never will develop into a slugger, Centeno has hit surprisingly well, with a .283 average in 107 AA games and .298 in 120 AAA games. I don’t think he’ll ever develop into a MLB starter, but then again, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Centeno eventually turn into an almost-regular, in the mold of Jose Molina. Did I mention that he hits from the left side — the opposite of d’Arnaud, Plawecki, and Recker? Just sayin’ …
In other moves, the Mets outrighted infielder Josh Satin, lefty relievers Dana Eveland and Scott Rice, and righty reliever Buddy Carlyle to Triple-A Las Vegas to trim the 40-man roster to 34. No surprises here, and it’s likely all four of these men find other employment in 2015. Eveland and Carlyle pitched surprisingly well, but I’m not seeing either repeating their performances — my guess is they’ll both regress with exposure. Rice pitched terribly before being demoted to AAA, and then, it was discovered he had a bone spur in his elbow. He had surgery to remove the spur, and with a healthy elbow, could very well return to his 2013 form, so if the Mets don’t work out something with him, another club could roll the dice on Rice as a low-risk/high-reward free agent. However, the bone spur is concerning, considering that he had Tommy John surgery in 2010 — clearly, there’s something about his mechanics that puts significant strain on his elbow. Maybe he can pitch another season without the joint blowing up again — but, maybe not.
As for Satin, he needs a change of scenery. I can definitely see him as a utility man / pinch-hitter for someone at the big-league level, but he seems to have worn out his welcome with the Mets. If he showed more homerun potential, the front office would probably value him, but if he can’t hit homeruns by the age of 29, and playing in the PCL, he’ll never hit them. Watch him move on to another club and turn into a Gates Brown type of pinch-hitter.
Thoughts on the recent moves? Sound off in the comments.