Some “play possum”, while in Flushing we “flay Fossum”.
Read on to decipher and debate the mysterious moves that brought Casey Fossum to New York and sent Darren O’Day and Nelson Figueroa packing.
It’s been a few days, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around the series of moves that, in the end, resulted in a “trade” of Darren O’Day and Nelson Figueroa for Casey Fossum.
O’Day was a decent, if hittable, situational reliever who might one day evolve into a reliable 7th inning “crossover” guy. He was especially valuable in the Jerry Manuel “matchup” strategy employed in the late innings (which better resembles musical chairs). Offering O’Day back to the Angels and/or waiving him down to AAA to make room for Nelson Figueroa made a lot of sense, though, for several reasons.
First, the Mets needed a spot starter on Sunday to fill in for the ailing Mike Pelfrey. When the team arrives at a logical explanation for NOT sending Big Pelf to the 15-day DL, please let me know. Second, Figgy is ideal insurance as both a starter and long man behind the question marks known as John Maine and Oliver Perez (and now Pelfrey, for that matter). Further, Figueroa performed exceptionally well in the WBC. It was slightly stunning he didn’t make the team out of spring training, but hey, better late than never.
So Nelson Figueroa goes out and pitches six solid innings against an MLB team — something Maine and Pelfrey have yet to do, and Perez and Livan Hernandez have done only once each. The next day he’s DFA’d to make room for Casey Fossum. Hmmm …
One MetsToday reader (Upson) suggested that the move made sense from the standpoint that Figgy was redundant as long as Brian Stokes is around, and that Pedro Feliciano could use a southpaw sidekick. Regarding the former, if Stokes and Figueroa are essentially the same, then why didn’t Stokes make the start on Sunday? Further, if Stokes is the “long man”, how does he have only 3 IP in 4 appearances?
Then there’s the issue of Fossum as the second “LOOGY”. Fossum did get off to a hot start in Buffalo, starting two games and allowing only 5 hits and striking out 12 in 11 innings. He also, however, was hit hard — very hard — facing A and AA hitters at the tail end of ballgames in spring training. Despite great stuff, Fossum has a career MLB ERA of 5.47 and a 1.51 WHIP. Over the last two seasons (2007-2008), lefthanded hitters have torched him for a .319 AVG and 6 HRs in 185 ABs. Despite the fact he’s been “stretched out” as a starter in Buffalo, we know his main role is to face LH hitters (yikes!) and is unlikely to ever get a start or pitch more than one full inning at a time.
I have nothing against Casey Fossum — in fact, I’m rooting hard for “The Blade”, partially because he’s a NJ native and partially because he’s an underdog. But wouldn’t it have made a lot more sense to simply put Pelfrey on the DL, have him miss two starts instead of one, and keep Figueroa — who flatly earned a spot this spring — for at least another week?
About the Author
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.