Junk To Jump On

What’s that saying? One man’s junk is another’s treasure?

The Mets are desperate for arms — for both the bullpen and the starting rotation. The relievers are out of gas and ineffective, and the Mets will have to plan for absences by John Maine and Pedro Martinez. I hope I’m wrong, but my gut tells me that Pedro will be back on the DL shortly, and that Maine will have problems with his shoulder for the rest of the season.

So let’s take a look at the scrap heap.

Freddy Garcia
He’s a free agent and scheduled to be auditioning on August 5th. If I’m the Mets, I don’t wait — I roll the dice, sign him today, sight unseen, send him to the minors, and hope for the best. I’d give him two years, in fact, so there’s backup depth for ’09.

Livan Hernandez
Livan was DFA’d by the Twins yesterday after posting a 5.48 ERA. You know what? He’s leaving the Twins with a 10-8 record. How many Mets have 10 wins? Um, none. Yes, he was hit hard in the AL, but he is fine as a #5 in the NL. Pick him up, put him in AAA, and have him ready when Pedro or Maine goes down. At worst, you have someone as a backup in case Jon Niese isn’t the Sandy Koufax the Mets keep telling us that he is.

Matt Clement

The Cardinals finally gave up on Clement, who decided he wasn’t progressing quickly enough. Chances are, he won’t help this year, but you never know. Sign him to a contract through 2009, send him to Port St. Lucie, and tell him to take all the time he needs. If he can’t make it back to MLB this year, you have a possibility for ’09 (see Freddy Garcia). Who knows, he might get back just enough velocity and endurance to be a middle reliever in September.

By the way, the Red Sox just signed Joe Borowski to a minor league deal. I suggested that the Mets pick up the Bayonne Bullet and put him in AAA a month ago, so send that idea to the circular file.

Oh, and don’t get me wrong — the Mets should, and will have to, give the kids a shot now. Jon Niese, Eddie Kunz, Bobby Parnell (a.k.a., “The Untouchables”), and anyone else down on the farm should be promoted, pronto. My suggestion is to promote the youth and pick up these junky veterans to take their places in the minors — this way there’s a backup plan in case the rooks aren’t quite ready. It’s always a good idea to hedge your bets. Plus, I’m of the belief that a big league bullpen, in this day and age, requires a minimum of 10 pitchers who appear in at least 10 games to get through a season (see bullpen articles ONE and TWO. The Mets have only 8 relievers who have appeared in at least 10 games to this point.

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 August 3, 2008 at 6:13 pm
    And indeed the Mets have called up Kunz. I’ve been in disagreement with Mic in the past regarding whether Kunz should be promoted to help the bullpen this year, but I agree that now is the right time to do it. Back in May/June, the bullpen wasn’t the problem (with the exception of Heilman and Wagner in San Diego), and Kunz was better off further developing himself in the minors. But now, as it seems no one but Carlos Muniz can get outs out of the pen, promoting Kunz is the right idea. And with Maine going on the DL, I think it’s only a matter of time before Duaner, Billy, and Pedro join him, paving the way for additional promotions to “untouchable” members Niese and Parnell, as well as Collazo, Figueroa, Vargas, Knight, McNab, Camacho, etc.

    Coincidingly, it looks as though we can stick a fork in our Mets any time now. I don’t mean to sound apocolypic as the worst we can be by days end is 3 games out of first, but all of us can see the writing on the wall. The bullpen is dead, the offensive stopgaps are sputtering, and the “kids” are getting big playing time in a pennant race. The infusion of Jerry Manuel definitely lit a spark under these guys for a while, but there was only so long he could make water taste like wine. Lets at least hope the Mets don’t embarass themselves on the way out.

    By the way, back in May, who would have thought Nick Evans, Dan Murphy, Ed Kunz, and Jon Niese would all be out of AA in August, while Mike Carp remains stuck in Binghamton. Funny stuff.

  2. sincekindergarten August 3, 2008 at 6:36 pm
    I would be alright with Garcia in orange-and-blue. I also would be alright with getting Clement and, maybe even Livan. Livan knows how to win. Period. He amy look like Hell doing it, but he knows how to win.

    Let Niese get his cup of coffee next week. If he does well, maybe a second one.