Hero Today, Gone Tomorrow

So Chip Ambres has been designated for assignment.

If he didn’t get a dramatic, game-winning hit within the last three days, no one would have noticed. Some might have mentioned that they didn’t realize the Mets had anyone named Chip on the team.

Taking away his clutch RBI single against the Dodgers, does the demotion make sense?

The Mets sent down Ambres to make room for Damion Easley. OK. That leaves the Mets with three outfielders — Milledge, Beltran, Green — and two infielder/outfielders (Marlon Anderson, Damion Easley), four second basemen, and three catchers.

It’s very strange that the Mets would choose to demote Ambres rather than AHern or Sandy Alomar, Jr. While it’s highly unlikely anyone is going to pluck Ambres off the waiver wire, the process would have been unnecessary in the case of Hernandez — who won’t see any playing time at all, other than perhaps some late-inning defense, or a pinch-running stint.

Willie Randolph spent all of 2006 and most of 2007 with two catchers, yet he suddenly feels the urgency to carry three — at the expense of depleting the outfield. Incredibly, Randolph expended all three catchers in one game over the weekend, leaving Ramon Castro behind the plate at the end of the game. Thank goodness nothing happened to Castro — but wasn’t the whole idea of keeping Alomar around to prevent such a scenario?

Anyway, back to Ambres. I suppose what Willie is saying is this: he doesn’t trust Chip Ambres enough to start him in a game. Because if he did trust him to start and play an entire game in the outfield, he’d not have been sent down — he’d have been playing in Shawn Green’s spot against one of the two tough lefties the Mets are about to face. Why Randolph won’t trust Ambres, I’m not sure. Perhaps Willie thinks that Chip is another 23-year-old kid who doesn’t have the sage experience and wisdom of, say, Ricky Ledee. Apparently, no one informed Willie that Ambres is in fact 27 years old, and in his ninth year of professional ball. And no one let Willie know that Ambres started about 50 games in centerfield for the Royals in 2005 — batting most of those games in the leadoff spot.

Hey, I know it was Kansas City, but it was still the big leagues. It’s not like Ambres hasn’t been at this level before.

Granted, the Mets were counting on Moises Alou returning on Monday. And now it’s Thursday or Friday. At this point, does it make sense to count on Moises for anything? And, does it make sense to carry so many second baseman? Or three catchers?

I guess it’s more important to bring AHern into the game in the eighth and ninth innings for defense, than to have a true outfielder start in Shawn Green’s spot against the lefties. Now, if we see Damion Easley start at second base, and Green starts in right, I may lose my mind.

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 July 25, 2007 at 1:27 pm
    I agree 100% with your assessment. With Alou still on the shelf and Easley back to play 2B vs. LHP, it made much more sense to keep Ambres around as an extra OF option than Hernandez as the team’s 4th-string secondbaseman. Even if the Mets had kept Ambres, more than likely he would have been DFA when (or if) Alou was activated, but it’s the fact of the matter. Now, what will it tell us if the Mets chose to DFA Alomar instead of Hernandez when Alou returns? I can only assume that Alomar’s on the roster now to give Castro extra at-bats as a pinch hitter, but if he goes to make room for Alou, does that mean Minaya thinks Hernandez is a better pinch hitter than Castro? I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
  2. joe July 25, 2007 at 8:58 pm
    Ah, and now Beltran is down. Brilliant.