Mets Lose Andrew Brown and Juan Centeno

If you haven’t heard, both Andrew Brown and Juan Centeno have been claimed by other teams after being waived by the Mets.

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.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Victor Chu November 3, 2014 at 4:28 pm
    Joe — I actually liked Brown and Centeno, but do you agree that the Mets protected the right set of players? Looking at the 40-man roster on the Mets website, I’m not sure why Bobby Abreu is still listed … perhaps it’s just not yet updated, but Eveland and Carlyle are already off that list. Also, assuming that Parnell is healthy, there is no room in the bullpen for either, given that the Mets would already have Meija, Familia, Black, Edgin, Torres and BP coming back along with an opening for a likely journeyman pick-up in ST, unless Germen or Alvarez (a lefty) fills out the bullpen.
  2. Bat November 4, 2014 at 11:53 am
    Seems like Joe is arguing that Centeno should have been protected, but if you protect him who doesn’t get protected?

    As Alderson has correctly pointed out, the Mets are going to lose some guys because the system has gotten stronger and you can’t protect everyone.

    • Joe Janish November 4, 2014 at 6:21 pm
      Yes, Joe is arguing that Centeno should have been protected. According to Mets.com, there are 34 players on the current 40-man roster, so there wouldn’t be anyone not protected who isn’t already.

      Further, Jeff Walters is on the 40-man — why? He was only a fringe prospect prior to blowing out his UCL in June, and won’t be back from TJ surgery until late 2015 or 2016, when he’ll be 27 or 28 years old — is there really a concern that he’ll be plucked? His best season was in 2013 when as a 25-year-old dominated AA. If there had to be a choice, I’d take Centeno over him. I’m also not clear on the organization’s fascination with Erik Goeddel, who also is on the 40-man roster. I guess he could project as a middle reliever next year, but strong defensive, lefthanded-hitting catchers are much harder to find than middling relievers in their mid-20s.

      Other roster spots may open up if Eric Young, Jr., Ruben Tejada, and/or Cesar Puello are non-tendered by November 20, so, it’s possible the roster gets shaved to 31 before they add Syndergaard, Leathersich, and maybe Matt Reynolds. I don’t know who else they need to protect who isn’t already protected.

      I disagree with your comment “As Alderson has correctly pointed out …” — whether the Mets’ minor league system is any “stronger” over the past few years is completely subjective. From my perspective and opinion, the organization is not significantly stronger than it was in 2010. Who’s right? Who knows? We won’t know for 5 years at least. Further, the Mets lost players to Rule 5 immediately upon his arrival (Elvin Ramirez) and before he arrived (are we finally over the Jesus Flores debacle?) — so that’s really not an indication of anything, either.

      • Victor Chu November 5, 2014 at 3:29 pm
        Joe — I think Walters was added strictly b/c of his performance in 2013 when he was the “lights out” closer at Binghamton. I haven’t seen his stuff, but I think that’s the primary reason for protecting him — not that I completely agree. I’m also with you on Goeddel … from what limited appearances I’ve seen, I’m not impressed.

        I think the defense of Centeno alone justifies protecting him, at least as insurance, should, God forbid, both d’Arnaud, Recker and Plawecki get hurt.

        But, to your point, who else needs to be protected by the other six spots (assuming EY, Jr., Tejada, Puello and Parnell are tendered)? You named three others, but who else? I doubt it will be 3 free agents … unless they are of the “invite to ST camp” variety!!!

        • Joe Janish November 5, 2014 at 5:59 pm
          I have no idea who else needs to be protected. Some people seem to think it will be necessary to add Gabriel Ynoa, Akeel Morris, Logan Verrett, and Cory Mazzoni, among others. Honestly I don’t know enough about any of those pitchers. Hansel Robles and Domingo Tapia, both highly rated in the past, are eligible for the Rule 5 draft but both have been so ineffective that I doubt they’ll be added to the roster. Who knows, though — a shrewd club might see Tapia’s potential as a reliever who can reach the upper 90s with the right guidance and snap him up.

          There’s an unofficial list of Rule 5 candidates here: http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/mets/post/_/id/95003/which-prospects-will-mets-shield-in-rule-5

    • Victor Chu November 4, 2014 at 6:29 pm
      All fair and good points, BAT … I just couldn’t tell who they protected yesterday since the roster was not yet updated on their website … today, the roster shows 34 players, including 16 position players — on that list are Tejada and EY, Jr., who may be non-tendered; if so, that leaves the Mets with only 14 position players on that roster … is that a sign of meaningful change to come? We shall see!
  3. Bat November 7, 2014 at 10:23 am
    Joe, you are saying that it is subjective that the team is stronger than it was in 2010.

    Yes, subjective, but not so much as you imply: we should not think of this as my opinion vs. yours but rather look at what the experts like Baseball America, John Sickels, Keith Law, and others are saying.

    And they ARE saying that the organization (minor league as well as young major league talent) is stronger.

    Joe, you are a glass half-empty type of guy; I am certain that even if Alderson is fired and replaced with someone (anyone) else you would be no happier with the state of the Mets, organizational decision-making, or anything else.

    As I’ve said in many posts, I think Alderson has done a good job (not great, but not nearly as poorly as you always claim) with a limited budget. That is, I can’t think of many other GMs that I’m sure would be better other than Billy Beane or Andrew Friedman. I think this statement from this article is telling:

    And if you listen closely around the Citi Field offices, you will hear officials grumbling that Sandy Alderson has had less money to work with than he ever expected, when he agreed to take the job in 2010. http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/baseballinsider/cynicism-justified-ny-mets-prove-increase-payroll-blog-entry-1.1942223

    Even Alderson thought he was going to have a higher payroll!

    All things considered the Mets are on the right track and the future is bright.

    • Joe Janish November 10, 2014 at 1:42 pm
      Hi, Bat, welcome to MetsToday! My name is Joe, and here we present the “fair and balanced” perspective of the New York Mets.

      I’m not sure what you mean by me being a “glass half-empty type of guy” — that means I’m a pessimist. Why is it pessimistic to believe that the Mets’ system was just as good in 2010 as it is today? If I’m right, you should be THRILLED to learn that another Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Dillon Gee, RA Dickey, Juan Lagares, etc., will be developed from the system within the next 2-3 years. Maybe YOU are the one who is “glass half-empty.”

      As for subjective … I work in the wine business, where sales live and die based on the opinion of a handful of wine reviewers. If five different wine reviewers all publish negative reviews of a wine, that doesn’t mean I won’t like the taste of it. In fact, it usually means I’ll like it. Similarly, just because three or four “experts” of minor league players are high or not high on an organization, does it mean they’re right. In fact, they’re often wrong, when you go back and look at their track records. For example, I recently mentioned Andy Marte — he was universally considered one of the top prospects in baseball, by all the “experts.” Didn’t quite work out that way. And NO ONE predicted deGrom’s success.

      As for the “grumblings” about money, don’t be fooled. Anything “leaked” to the media by the Mets was done on purpose, at Alderson’s direction. It’s good cop/bad cop. Alderson is less a GM and more a spin doctor.

      Yeah, future is bright. When will the future be “now”?

      • Dan42 November 10, 2014 at 3:45 pm
        2019, when the Wilpons are gone.
      • DaveSchneck November 10, 2014 at 7:04 pm
        Joe,
        Actually, Howard Johnson of all people gave a glowing review of deGrom two years ago when he was the hitting coach for Tacoma in the PCL. Liked him more than Wheeler.
        • argonbunnies November 11, 2014 at 5:46 am
          I remember that well. Said his hitters were happy to face Wheeler; not so for deGrom. Now THAT is some useful intel, way moreso than Law guessing at how much Wheeler’s breaking ball might eventually improve.

          Hey Joe, can you give us some new threads to talk about awards and Cuddyer?