What the Roster was Supposed to Look Like

A recent quip by Jerry Manuel from Adam Rubin’s blog prompted this post:

At one point postgame, Manuel praised the organization’s front office for having such depth that R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi were available to step into the rotation.

“I think the organization did a good job in creating depth,” Manuel said. “I’ve said that a number of times.”

“Or,” Manuel continued, referring to spring training, “maybe we took the wrong people. You never know. We could have did that, too.”

Just to refresh everyone’s memory, at the end of March, Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya felt that:

– Chris Carter did not belong on the 25-man roster
– Gary Matthews, Jr. did
– GMJ should be starting ahead of Angel Pagan, or at least platooning with him
– Ryota Igarashi was the top choice for setup man / 8th inning role
– Sean Green was a key component of the bullpen
– John Maine and Oliver Perez were legitimate, mid-rotation MLB starters
– R.A. Dickey was AAA fodder
– Hisanori Takahashi was a mopup man
– Jennry Mejia was more valuable as an MLB reliever now than future starter
– Dan Murphy was the best option for first base
– Mike Jacobs was the next-best option for first base
– The aforementioned Chris Carter was not part of that conversation
– Ike Davis needed more seasoning

And if you go back a few months, to before the start of spring training:

– Kelvim Escobar was a good risk to invest in, and the top candidate for the setup role
– Omir Santos and Josh Thole would be fine as the 2010 catching tandem
– Rod Barajas was a last-minute, desperation, third choice after Bengie Molina and Yorvit Torrealba
– Jason Bay would step in and provide the homerun power the team so desperately needed
– An average-performing, innings-eating starter was not necessary

What a difference a few months makes, eh?

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 June 14, 2010 at 1:02 pm
    Looking at all of these roster gaffes and managerial miscues, it really makes you scratch your head as to how in the world the Mets are only a game and a half out of first place, 7 games over .500 on June 14th. It also makes you wonder how many more games this team could have WON if these gaffes and miscues were not made.
  2. Jeff Collins June 14, 2010 at 9:28 am
    The biggest gaffes seem to be leaving Ike in AAA and allowing Perez to pitch. As far as Perez goes, he started 7 games and the Mets were 1-6 in those games. He actually pitched reasonably in 3 of the games (5 innings or more and 2 earned runs or less) and truly awful in the the other 4. Since Ike as been up, the Mets are 32-20 (3-8 before he was brought up). If either of these gaffes had not been made, the Mets might reasonably expect to have won 2 to 4 more games.
  3. metsie June 14, 2010 at 10:31 am
    We can damn them for the bad decisions made when we broke spring training, but by the same token you have to pat them on the back for quickly admitting they were wrong and making changes accordingly.

    Ike was the key callup here as his bat is what has helped Wright and Bay get on track, but you could argue that decision was made FOR them…

    Takahashi played his way onto the rotation and we might never have known how good he was unless Perez was there to stink it up and get yanked so early in the breakthrough game takahashi impressed everyone in.

    Manuel deserves credit here as it was him who got fed up with Perez and Maine and forced the issue that put Takahashi and Dickey in the rotation.

    I do however feel in time the league will catch up to both of them (in some cases they have started to catch up already to what Takahashi does and start hitting him by being aggressive early, sometimes throwing a strike isn’t a good thing!) so getting another front line starter is imperitive. I’m just not sure of who. Oswalt isn’t frontline, The other guys mentioned who are, have been struggling where they are. Maybe a change of scenery helps, maybe it doesn’t!

    I would like to see them send Mejia back down and start grooming him as a starter. Two Months should do it for him. That should have him ready around August and take the pressure off of any deal we make at the deadline. I want a frontline starter but I do not want to give up too much.
    F-Mart will be the key trade bait and until I see Beltran come back and in form I’m not so sure we should part with Martinez. Maybe Thole as I think Barajas has earned an extention. If for no other reason than I think he is a big part of the success our pitching staff has had of late.

    • MikeTomaselli June 14, 2010 at 3:19 pm
      Couple of things. First Ike has been up long enough that Bay and Wright have struggled regardless of his presence. So he did not "helped Wright and Bay get on track." They are their own hitters, and have struggled or succeeded independent of Ike.

      Takahashi's problem is not that he throws too many strikes, it is that when he gets hit he nibbles, and like DiceK, hitters who are patient wait him out. He probably could stand to throw less hittable pitches first pitch, but he must get ahead to succeed so I won't fault him.

      To say Oswalt is not frontline is both ignorant and laughable. Look at his stats, put him on a good team, and he will perform. Plain and simple.

      The idea of sending Mejia down is one I share, but not so he can help this team this year. It is unreasonable to think he can go down, stretch out, learn to pitch full games, develop his secondary pitches, and come back up in less than two months. It's a joke actually. A very bad one. If he goes down you would be lucky to see him in the majors to start next season. Mid season 2011 would be his reasonable ETA. Though he certainly is capable of doing it sooner.

    • isuzudude June 14, 2010 at 3:29 pm
      1. Quickly admitting they were wrong? How long did Reyes stay in the 3-hole well after we all knew he needed to be hitting leadoff? How long was Gary Matthews left to toil on the roster when we all knew he was washed up? How long did Jerry keep force feeding Fernando Nieve into every game before he realized Nieve couldn't support such a workload? How long has Mejia been wasting away in the bullpen without any set role or consistent action? C'mon, bro, this team is so slow to react to problems sometimes you wonder if they're in charge of cleaning up the BP oil spill.

      2. Oswalt isn't a front line starter? He owns a 3.23 lifetime ERA, which is actually down to 3.16 this year. He's also won 20 games twice, pitches 180+ innings every year, and has been the ace of the Astros staff since I can't remember when. He is as "front line" as they come.

      3. I agree, though, that the Mets shouldn't kill the farm system trying to make a trade. In just a short amount of time, look how far they've come with their own prospects. The entire infield, with Castillo disabled, is all home-grown! Wright-Reyes-Tejada-Davis. Not to mention what we're seeing from Pelfrey, Niese, Mejia, and Pagan. If this is a sign of good things to come from the farm system, I'd want to hold on to as many prospects as I can, and I certainly wouldn't be trading them away for temporary fixes that may or may not make this team any better.

  4. Mic June 14, 2010 at 10:56 pm
    The Mets 2007-2009 would NOT have made changes quickly. Indeed THIS audience for as long as I have blogged has extolled the virues of a full season at AAA. If Davis slumps what then..he was rushed? (Ala Pelfrey et al?). Really Davis biggest contribution has been his glove which has helped Wright and Reyes get on track because the defensive part of the game is not in their head constantly.

    I'm with Metsie (and you…..circa last yr) that CB could be past his prime and now with Fmart, CPT Kirk, Pagan, and Carter either replacing him or barking at the oppurtunity, I think a 3-way trade could be looming in which we get a pitcher, keep prospects AND keep chemistry.

    Enter text right here!

  5. John June 17, 2010 at 1:41 pm
    I think you have to give Manual credit for forcing the changes. I think with the exception of Mejia, he was given the team out of PSL by Minaya. He benched Matthews quickly and made a point with Maine and Perez. I think he finally got his roster and has done pretty well with it.
    I still hate the way he handles the bullpen, but not sure what I would do with the guys dealt so…
    I agree Mejia needs to go down and learn to pitch. He probably needs at least to this time next year, but that would still make him only 21. And he really isn't contributing anything out of the pen right now.
  6. Joe June 17, 2010 at 12:07 pm
    Give credit to Manuel for forcing the changes???

    Minaya didn’t “give him the team” — the roster is a joint collaboration between he and Manuel.

    Manuel was the one who chose GMJ and kept sending GMJ to the batter’s box, despite GMJ showing no reason to be there. GMJ was so bad the Mets were forced to cut him.

    Manuel also did not “force” the injuries to Maine, Perez, and Niese that led to Dickey and Tak in the rotation. Nor did he step on Murphy’s leg. Nor did he blindfold Jacobs. But he did illogically pencil in Jacobs into the cleanup spot over and over and over and over.

    But I guess you believe Omar Minaya makes out the lineup cards every night too.

    Well, if this is “Jerry’s team” and it falls apart in July, do we blame the players or Jerry?