Strange Moves

The 25-man roster has been established, and one must wonder what went into the final decisions — and whether the spring training game performances had any effect.

There were only a few open spots, and one huge question mark. The 13th position player, the 12th pitcher, and the 5th starter.

Brady Clark won the lucky 13th positional spot, barely edging out the .210-slugging Fernando Tatis and earning himsel a place on the bench right next to the water cooler. I’m 100% on board with this decision, but only because Ruben Gotay is now a Brave. Had Gotay still been Mets property, I might have some problem with Clark getting the nod, but bygones are bygones.

Miraculously, Mighty Joe Smith was handed the final bullpen spot. Notice I stated “handed” and not “earned”. Ricardo Rincon, Nelson Figueroa, and Steven Register all outpitched Smith this spring. Heck, even Nate Field and Joselo Diaz looked better. But Smith got the spot. I don’t get it — and I LOVE Joe Smith, but it seemed to me that it would make more sense to option Smith down and hold on to one of the aforementioned — particularly Register, who had to be sent back to Colorado, or Rincon, who I feel is this year’s J.C. Romero.

Finally, there is the utterly illogical handout of the #5 spot in the rotation to Mike Pelfrey. Like Smith, I love Big Mike and want to see him do well — but I’m not wearing rose-tinted glasses when I watch him. He still doesn’t have an off-speed pitch, and in fact doesn’t have much of a second pitch. El Duque needed to go to the DL and he did, and Pelf needed to go back to AAA to hone his game. The Mets could have slotted Jorge Sosa into the role, and then kept Figueroa, Rincon, or Register. Or, they could have given Figueroa a shot at the fifth spot. Again, not understanding why they wouldn’t take advantage of the opportunity to option Pelfrey.

We could say, aw, heck, what’s the big deal about the last three scrubs on the roster? But remember the Mets lost first place by one game in 2007 — so every man counts.

Hopefully, I have no idea what I’m talking about, and everything will work out just fine.

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 March 31, 2008 at 11:03 am
    The Clark move was expected. I wouldn’t be surprised if Willie does a straight platoon of Pagan vs RHP/Clark vs LHP in LF until Alou returns, unless one or the other completely stinks up the joint over the first 2 weeks of the year. Although I know Pagan is batting 6th tonight vs LHP Hendrickson. 6th? That can’t bode well for the bottom of the lineup…particularly Delgado. Pagan does not provide him with very much protection.
    Agree Smith should be spending at least a month in AAA, and that Register or Rincon would have been better off for the last bullpen spot – at least initially. Also agree Pelfrey belongs in the minors. How quick are the Mets going to regret the decision when he can barely get out of the 4th inning in Atlanta while walking 5 and throwing nothing but fastballs. Figueroa or El Duque would have been the better options, IMO.
  2. sincekindergarten March 31, 2008 at 12:03 pm
    As soon as Duaner is ready, Smith goes to the Bourbon Street locale.

    I think Pelf just might surprise a few people–in a good way, and not those who are aligned with other teams.