2009 Analysis: Cory Sullivan

cory-sullivan-19Back in January, the Mets made a series of blockbuster moves to sate the hunger of disgruntled fans. First they picked up lights-out LOOGY Casey Fossum, then they brought back Argenis Reyes, before capping the excitement with the signing of Cory Sullivan.

At the time, the Mets were unaware that Jeremy Reed was part of the trade with Seattle — they were so excited and busy patting each other on the back after hoodwinking the Mariners into handing over J.J. Putz that Reed was an afterthought. Further, the person who inked Sullivan had not yet received the telegram from the department of the organization that drafted Carl Loadenthal in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft (perhaps the message was sent by Pony Express, which tends to be slower in the snowy winter months).

We assume these things because Sullivan, Reed, and Loadenthal are all essentially the same player: lefthanded, singles-hitting, good-fielding outfielders with above-average speed but not enough of any one talent to play every day in MLB.

Don’t get me wrong — I like Cory Sullivan, as well as Reed and Loadenthal. They’re all solid ballplayers with good fundamentals who play hard, and play the game “right”. A championship team needs one of those. But not several, which was why the signing of Sullivan for $600K seemed so strange when Reed was already guaranteed $975K and Loadenthal was stashed in the minors. Not to mention the Mets already had Angel Pagan and Jason Cooper under wraps, and were about to ink Bobby Kielty as well.

As it was, Sullivan had a predictably hum-drum season in AAA Buffalo, splitting time in left and center fields with player such as Jesus Feliciano and the immortal Chip Ambres. But he hit a little hot streak in July, raising his average to .290 — a number that made him one of the very best hitters on a terrible hitting team — and earning him a big league promotion.

Upon arriving in Flushing, Sullivan was immediately confused with Reed, to the point where some conspiracy theorists surmised they were the same person — after all, they never appeared on the field at the same time. Hmmmm …

Seriously though, Sullivan provided similarly workmanlike performance to the “other” Irish, lefthanded, singles-hitting, slick-fielding, outfield hustler on the roster, and had impressive spurts here and there that excited Mets fans for short periods. In the end, he was exactly as advertised: a solid all-around player with good fundies, plenty of hustle, but not quite enough bat to be an everyday outfielder. Definitely worthy of a spot on someone’s MLB roster, and good enough to have a role on a championship club.

Considering that the more expensive Jeremy Reed will likely be non-tendered, Sullivan may have an opportunity with the Mets in 2010. But he might be redundant to Angel Pagan, especially if a big-time left fielder is brought in from the outside. I’d be happy to see him return, but have a feeling he’ll wind up with a big league club outside Flushing.

And that concludes our individual analyses of the 2009 Mets players. Next up, we evaluate the free agent targets — in the meantime you can vote for your favorites.

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. Harry Chiti November 30, 2009 at 9:46 am
    Wow! What a way to end the series…. Cory Sullivan…. Actually, I’d rather have a Cory Sullivan in AAA as a few week callup than some of the infielders that were needed as fill ins.
  2. isuzudude November 30, 2009 at 2:04 pm
    Kudos for remembering Carl Loadenthal. Surely 95% of Met fans have never even heard that name before this post.
  3. joejanish November 30, 2009 at 2:09 pm
    ‘dude, how could I forget a singles-hitting outfielder with slightly above-average speed and a good glove?

    I mean, Jeff Duncan-types come along only once a generation ….