Gotay Could Be Gone

As has been pointed out by several MetsToday readers, Ruben Gotay is “out of options“, meaning that if he does not make the 25-man roster coming out of spring training, the Mets would have to place him on waivers — thus making him available to all other MLB teams — before sending him to the minor leagues.

Considering that Luis Castillo is the Mets second baseman for at least the next four years, that there is only one positional roster spot up for grabs, and that spot would most effectively be used by a strong righthanded hitter, there is a very good chance that Ruben Gotay will be in an organization other than the Mets come April.

This could turn out to be a good thing for Gotay. Because the Mets would prefer to get something in return for him, rather than lose him through waivers, he should be getting every opportunity to make the big league squad and/or display his wares to other teams’ scouts. A strong showing by Gotay could net the Mets a couple decent minor leaguers in a March trade. So don’t be surprised if you see less of Luis Castillo — under the guise of “taking it slow after offseason knee surgery” — and more of Gotay at the keystone. My guess is that Gotay will also be given plenty of time at shortstop, third base, and anywhere else he might be used (RF? 1B? C?). The way I see it, the only way Gotay makes the 25-man roster is by 1) hitting well from the right side; and/or 2) proving to be extremely versatile.

While there is the argument that the Mets wouldn’t have a legit backup shortstop if Gotay’s not around, that’s a moot issue. Jose Reyes is expected to play 150-155 games, and should something happen to him, Damion Easley can play the position in a pinch. Heaven forbid Reyes would be out for more than a day, the Mets can easily reach down to AAA and bring up Anderson Hernandez.

There is, however, a possibility that Gotay doesn’t make the team, and the Mets are able to keep him. Looking around MLB, there aren’t a whole lot of teams desperate for a second baseman with Gotay’s skills and experience. Off the top of my head, the San Francisco Giants appear to be a team that could benefit by getting younger in the middle infield. Depending on whether the A’s plan to trade Mark Ellis and/or Bobby Crosby, Oakland could be a destination for Gotay; same goes for Baltimore and what they do with Brian Roberts. The Cubs might be interested, but it appears they’re after Roberts. Anyone else out there I’m thinking about?

Other than Gotay, I don’t *think* there is anyone else the Mets have to worry about as far as options go. But please correct me on that if I’m wrong … the rules are complicated and after years of studying them, I still don’t completely understand them.

Next post: combing over the players out of options from other teams.

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. isuzudude February 25, 2008 at 11:51 am
    I think you’re right to assume Gotay’s time as a Met is close to coming to an end. Where he winds up is anybody’s guess, and how much value the Mets can net for him in a trade might rest on how he performs in ST. But for a guy who doesn’t hit well from the RH side, who has a limited amount of defensive versatility, who has never been a full-time major league starter, and who has never excelled with much consistency in the minors, I don’t suspect our haul to be that great. And I’d be bummed to see the majority of Met fans lambaste Omar for trading Gotay for “nothing” when Gotay won’t have very much trade value, considering his track record and out-of-options dilemma. I wouldn’t be a fan of trading Gotay just to squeeze Olemdo Saenz’s sub-.200 bat on the bench, but if there is a guy who makes for a better fit on the roster, then I hope we all come to terms that the move is a necessity.
  2. Micalpalyn February 25, 2008 at 1:22 pm
    Isuzu: I think you covered it but here are some of my inclusions;

    a- Last yr Gotay gave hints he could hit from both sides if given a full time job. I think he also needs more time to develop consistency in his defensive game. I would compare him (somewhat) to Scutaro.

    b. Another issues is Ahern: Ahern is still on the 40man, and he did hit .313 last yr. I thought he would be part of the Santana trade if only because they need infield defense (Nick Punto?). Ahern has been a slower grower but I do think HE could do what Gotay does but bring better defense (albeit less of a hitter, no power).

    c. BUT: I think Omar may try to get him thru the waiver process and then assign him to AAA. Let us remember Castillo has gimpy knees, we do need insurance.