Not Stoked

We don’t know for certain whether Steven Register was put on waivers, though there have been enough “inside sources” reporting it for us to believe it’s true (or not). We do know that Brian Stokes was stretched out for 65-pitches and four innings in a minor-league contest — presumably to test his mettle as a long reliever.

Excuse me for not understanding the fascination with Stokes, who had a 7.07 ERA last year, an ERA approaching double digits this spring, and doesn’t have particularly electric stuff. Believe me, I’m all for the underdog, but there were several more deserving underdogs in camp this year — i.e., Register, Nelson Figueroa, and Ricardo Rincon.

From what we’ve seen of El Duque thus far, it’s clear he won’t be starting the season with the big club. Likewise with Mike Pelfrey. That said, Jorge Sosa is the most logical candidate to temporarily fill the #5 spot in the rotation — which in turn opens up the long relief role for someone such as Figueroa. Figueroa, after all, has put up good numbers and looked good as far as command and changing speeds goes.

Similarly, Steven Register has outpitched Joe Smith and Stokes yet appears to be the odd man out. Another illogical move, if the waiver rumors are true — and I’m a huge fan of Smith. Why did the Mets bother to take him in the Rule 5 draft if they weren’t going to give him a legitimate shot at a bullpen spot? What did he have to do to win a job? Strike out two batters per inning? Throw 105 MPH? If he hasn’t been waived, or if he has, and clears, and the Mets work out a deal with the Rockies to keep him, then I’ll get off the Mets’ back on this issue.

Finally, there is Ricardo Rincon, whose numbers aren’t as sparkling as those of Scott Schoeneweis, but who has shown better stuff. I’m hoping against hope that the Mets are able to keep Rincon stashed in AAA for that moment they realize The Show’s straight-as-arrow, 85 MPH, chest-high fastball is not going to fool MLB hitters forever. Rincon’s ability to change speeds, hit spots all over the strike zone, and make his fastball sink are far superior to The Show’s limited arsenal. Yes, over eight or nine innings in March, Show has the numerical edge, but over the course of a 50-70-inning season, Rincon’s stuff projects to be better. A last-minute trade seems unlikely, so, again, hopefully the Mets can somehow retain Rincon.

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. michaeltcarr March 27, 2008 at 8:55 am
    My feeling exactly with Register and Smith. I love smith, but Register had the best spring out of any of the guys available for the 7th spot in the bullpen. I think it was a big mistake to put him on waivers.
  2. sincekindergarten March 27, 2008 at 2:39 pm
    He cleared waivers, and now must be offered back to the Rox for $25 grand.
  3. Micalpalyn March 27, 2008 at 4:15 pm
    Wooo Woo:

    Again my feeling is that Omar may yet retain Register and he makes the club BUT if he flames out he can ride the Heath Bell shuttle. remember the Rox may not take him back for 25K. Then again Omar may throw them a bag of balls as compensation.

    again as far as waivers. Omar HAS to have roster flexibility. And Smith is not indicating he is ready for ML action.

  4. sincekindergarten March 27, 2008 at 5:04 pm
    Mic, he might not be taken back. That would be a good thing, IMO. Smith needs to be with Pelfrey near Bourbon Street.
  5. sincekindergarten March 28, 2008 at 3:50 pm
    He was taken back. Bummer.