Manuel On Auditions: FAIL!

With the late season auditions almost over, Jerry Manuel has proclaimed failure. We don’t know who Jerry is referring to specifically when he talks about the players who have “had a good shot … but … haven’t taken advantage of it”, but we can guess. Among those who have been given opportunities (or expanded roles) due to injuries include Daniel Murphy, Omir Santos, Wilson Valdez, Anderson Hernandez, Angel Pagan, Cory Sullivan, Josh Thole, Fernando Tatis, Bobby Parnell, Tim Redding, Nelson Figueroa, Pat Misch, Ken Takahashi, Elmer Dessens, Brian Stokes, Tobi Stoner, and Sean Green. I can’t include Jeremy Reed and Nick Evans in that group because they’ve accumulated six starts between them since August 1 — not enough to constitute an “opportunity” in my book.

Some from that group have done enough to warrant further inspection next spring — namely Murphy, Santos, and Figueroa. Pagan has shown he can wield a dangerous bat, but the rest of his game is suspect. AHern’s offense has improved since his last go-around, but his defense has dropped. Valdez has great defensive tools but not enough to make up for his weak bat. Reed has been an excellent pinch-hitter and a solid defender — it would’ve been nice to see him and Evans get a fair shake.

The rest of them have performed with similarly mixed results. Redding, for example, has been particularly impressive over the last few weeks, but is it enough to erase his first ten starts — to the point where it warrants another $2M+ contract? Misch may be kept for another audition next spring due to his age (28), but we likely won’t see the aging Dessens and Takahashi return. Stokes remains an enigma — if someone would tell him to focus on two pitches he might evolve into a reliable middle reliever. But that someone may not be the Mets — if he remains, it’ll be on another split-contract, minimum-salary deal.

I love Tatis for his hustle, but his bat isn’t worth $1.7M. Will he take a pay cut? Green likely will be back, since he’s cheap and has some promise. Tobi Stoner, though, may have worn out his welcome — if there’s any truth to this story.

Personally, I’d like to see Reed return, though $925K may be too rich for the Mets budget. Cory Sullivan is similarly talented and nearly as expensive — my guess is the Mets will let them both walk away in the winter.

We’ll see soon enough which of “complimentary players” are in the plans. Who would you like to see return, and why?


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. Will Davidian October 1, 2009 at 5:23 pm
    It’s not even worth debating Reed, Sullivan and Tatis, because they’re not really worth much. Tatis is a little better than the other two, but he’s easily replaceable (see Nick Evans). It’d be smart for the Mets to acquire some AAAA guys with ML-quality skills to fill out the fringes of the depth chart.
  2. joejanish October 1, 2009 at 6:48 pm
    Maybe not, Will, but I’m not envisioning much excitement this winter in regard to personnel changes by the Mets. Most of the debates between now and next February will focus on ancillary players.

    I happen to think that Sullivan and Reed can be key bench players on a championship team — though having both is redundant. And they both fit your description of AAAA guys with ML-quality skills. The Mets need fleet, defensively strong outfielders in Citi Field — that’s not as easy to find as you think. Watching Angel Pagan stumble and wander aimlessly for the last two months is evidence you can’t put just anyone out there.

    If the Mets had a boatload of promising AA and AAA outfielders ready to make the next step, I’d be more in agreement. But they don’t (Jason Dubois and Chip Ambres are the best of a bad lot!) and therefore they’ll need either to choose from what they have now or find someone from the outside. I’m not sure who’s out there, but we’ll review the possibilities when the minor league free agents are cut loose.

  3. sincekindergarten October 1, 2009 at 7:33 pm
    I’d like to see Pat Misch stick around for ST. He strikes me as a young Tom Glavine-type. (If you had told me that the Mets first complete game shutout would be pitched by a LHSP this year, I’d have wholeheartedly agreed with you. If you told me that his name was Pat Misch, I would have told you that you were on some serious hallucinegenic drugs.) Thing is, I see the Mets coming back with a vengeance next year–they want to prove that last (’09) year was because of injuries, and nothing else. I see them sort of overachieving, or at least trying to. Yeah, the Phillthies will be back in the hunt, as well as the Braves, for a while, but last (’08) season, the Braves had a raft of injuries, and this year was our turn. Next year? My money’s on the Phillthies having 1,000+ disabled list days by their players.

    I’d like to see Cory Sullivan back as the fourth/fifth OF. And I’m not sure that the Mets wouldn’t be better off platooning Evans/Pagan in LF and using that money to bring Carlos Delgado back on an incentive-laden deal, and going after John Lackey. We proved this year that the rotation is pretty expletive-deleted thin after Johan Santana. Time to get two guys who can be depended to take the ball as #1s every fifth day, and let the other three/four/five guys fight it out for the other three spots. I’m not entirely convinced that the Mets are going to offer John Maine arbitration. Ollie . . . well, we’re stuck with him for the next couple of years. Misch makes either a good long man or a good #5 starter.

    Oh–did anyone catch (punny) the item about Nick Evans taking instruction from Sandy Alomar Jr. in catching, “in order to increase his versatility?” It was on MetsBlog. Could you see a Josh Thole/Nick Evans platoon at C? Me neither . . .

  4. Brian October 1, 2009 at 10:40 pm
    I like Murph, obviously, and Santos seems like a nice complement. Stokes just needs to get a good mix between rest and work, Jerry either overworked him or underworked him this summer, like everyone else. I don’t like Green, but if he can sidearm may he can be ok. It seemed as though Takahashi and Dessens were more consistent than some others, they could be good AAA insurance. I like Evans, Sullivan and Pagan, but I like Francoeur, too. Pagan and Francoeur seem like the smart keeps, but both Evans and Sullivan would work hard and be good role players. I think Pagan could land us someone decent in a trade, and if we get an all-star left fielder we should do that. Tatis has got to go.
  5. Andy October 1, 2009 at 11:55 pm
    I like Evans, and I don’t see them needing more than 1 of Sullivan, Pagan and Evans. Or if they could trade Beltran for a good starting pitcher and a decent power-hitting left-fielder, then I’d say do it and keep Pagan, at least to hold down the fort until F-Mart is ready. (Beltran says he wants to stay and has a no-trade clause, but I’m sure he’d agree to a trade if it were to a more likely contender.)
  6. Mike October 2, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Forget about Thole, Evans, Stoner, Parnell, and Martinez. They all need to start in AAA. Along with Davis, Lucas Duda, and Niese having these names playing in AAA next year is possibly the best news for the Mets organization since David Wright came up. The Mets might actually have talent in AAA they can draw from with a few AA players close to AAA. By end of next year we will see some of these guys contributing and even more players replacing them from other minor league levels. I predicted on here that 2011 would be a big year for home grown talent and I think that will hold true. If the FO can resist trading off the pieces they have the Mets will be well off in 2011 and beyond. There is talent down there, just be patient.

  7. Taylor October 2, 2009 at 5:59 pm
    I love Tatis as a bench player. He’s like Joe McEwing/Steve Woodward except that he can actually contribute offensively.

    Murphy is ok. He’s gotten better toward the end of the year. Ideally you want your 1st baseman to be more productive, not necessarily with power, but one way or another you want your 1st baseman to be a real top level run producer. I just don’t see Murphy being that guy. The position is not the demanding defensively so you have a lot of options, including aging sluggers from other positions or guys to big to play middle infield or OF, so your 1st baseman has to be a top run-producer. If Murphy could learn to catch his bat would be an asset at that position. I know catching is really hard to learn so I know its not that easy but it might be worth a try. At how many positions is a .750 OPS a real asset? I’m assuming he’ll continue to improve at the plate and get his OPS to .750 maybe as high as .770. Thats not a great OPS for an OFer or a 1st baseman. For a catcher its excellent. For a middle infielder its excellent too. I guess he was just terrible at 2nd base?

    Reed is a good late inning defensive sub. He doesn’t hit though. Sullivan could also fill that role but if he’s a starting corner outfielder for your team then you’re giving up a lot of production at that position compared to most of your opponents. I say keep one or the other to be a late inning defensive sub.

    Figgy would be a decent long man. He’s really a pretty decent pitcher. Stokes and Parnell both throw heat. Stokes has been pretty decent. Parnell is a guy you can’t give up on yet and they won’t. He needs to get command of that secondary pitch. He can’t throw 75% fastballs.

    Pagan is a valuable offensive player. His defense isn’t great and his baserunning is so bad that I have to make up a word, atrociabysmerrible, to describe it, but he’s still an asset with the bat. He’s a good 4th outfielder, not to be confused with the late-inning defensive replacement role. He should get 50 or 60 starts and 250-300 PAs. His baserunning can be improved with effort.