Pitching Questions and Roster Moves

A few random thoughts going through the Mets fan’s head …

1. What is more concerning, the fact that Brian Lawrence’s fastball is clocked at 82 MPH or that his change-up is clocked at 82 MPH?

2. Who is starting on Saturday against the Braves? Assuming Lawrence is finished, do we really want Mike Pelfrey, Jason Vargas, Dave Williams, or Philip Humber making that start? (By the way, Pelfrey is pitching tonight in Oklahoma … which means he’d go on four days’ rest if he’s not pulled from the start.)

3. If Pelfrey does start on Saturday, what if he loses AGAIN? Can the 23-year-old handle being 0-8 for a first-place team? That can’t be good for a kid’s confidence.

4. Speaking of confidence, I know a lot of people are excited about Humber’s progress, but do you want his first MLB start to be against the Braves in the heat of the pennant race?

5. Is Aaron Sele an option to start on Saturday? If not, why not?

6. How about this? With the rosters expanding on Saturday, bring up Pelfrey, Humber, Vargas, Williams, and Marcos Carvajal, and turn the fifth-starter into a six-headed monster that includes these five plus Sele. Everybody pitches 2-3 innings or one time through the lineup — whichever comes first. (Before you dismiss this as nuts, remember everyone thought Sparky Anderson was crazy for bringing in a lefty pitcher to face one batter.)

Please post your answers, other questions, and thoughts in the comments.

September Callups and Roster Issues

You may wonder why I have not mentioned Willie Collazo, Carlos Muniz, or some other overachieving pitcher in the Mets’ farm system to be promoted. That’s because Collazo and Muniz are not currently on the Mets’ 40-man, so if they are added, someone from the 40-man has to be dropped.

The Mets currently have 43 players on the 40-man roster; this is possible because men on the 60-day disabled list do not count toward the 40. There are currenty 4 players on the 60-day DL: Carlos Gomez, Pedro Martinez, Juan Padilla, and Duaner Sanchez — so in effect the Mets have only 39 active players on the 40-man. However, Pedro will be taking that 40th spot. In addition, Gomez is expected to return by mid-September, so before you go giving away Brian Lawrence’s spot via DFA, remember that you need to plan for Gomez.

Of course, the Mets could place Damion Easley and/or Jose Valentin on the 60-day to free up spots, but neither of those players nor Mets management are willing to effectively end their seasons just yet. Valentin, in fact, seems to think he’ll be back in a couple weeks (though insiders don’t see it happening).

Another idea is to shut down Ambiorix Burgos — who just came down with another elbow injury — for the rest of the year, and place him on the 60-day DL. But other than Burgos, Valentin, and Easley, there isn’t anyone else to slip off the roster for medical reasons.

So who else are candidates to be dropped from the 40-man? David Newhan most certainly will be promoted on September first, so he’ll stay — and in fact could be very useful as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner. Looking up and down the current roster, the only possibilities I see are outfielder Ben Johnson and lefthanded pitcher Adam Bostick. But Johnson is one of the few righthanded bats the Mets have as an option to promote, and releasing him would make the Heath Bell / Royce Ring trade a complete disaster. Certainly the Mets could do without Bostick, who had a 6.03 ERA in AAA this year, but teams normally don’t like to get rid of 24-year-old lefthanded pitchers who show a flash of promise. Maybe you can DFA Mike DiFelice when Ramon Castro returns — they DFA’d Sandy Alomar after all — but I don’t see the Mets going with only two catchers in September — especially if they want to use Castro as a RH bat off the bench.

So before you start clamoring to see Collazo, Muniz, Chad Hermansen, Jake Gautreau, Chip Ambres, Steve Schmoll, or anyone else promoted in September from the Mets’ farm system, remember that the player either has to already be on the 40-man, or a spot has to be opened up to make room for him (we won’t even get into the complications of player options here!). It’s not as easy as it looks.

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. Micalpalyn August 28, 2007 at 4:15 pm
    ‘ 1. Too bad because something seems to have just clicked for Humber in his past 2
    starts (14 scoreless IP). Hopefully they’ll reconsider

    2. Humber had his TJ surgery around June of 2005. That’s over 2 years ago. The time to baby him is long over. He’s pitching great in a difficult pitchers league. I don’t see any reason not to give him the start.

    Just a couple of comments off Metsblog:

    My suspicion is that the Mets may eval Humber as early as Sat/Sun, taking advantage of his ‘hot’ streak. I think they are babying him, but also he IS on the 40 man roster. This is a good time for a debut especially if his peers, Pelfrey, Chan Ho, Lawrence especially have not ‘won’ the slot.

    I am not clammoring for him but my overwhelming point is how much worse can he be?

  2. joe August 28, 2007 at 4:36 pm
    Hey what did I miss? did the Mets already decide to start someone other than Humber on Saturday? Last I heard Willie said Lawrence would start, but that it’s “subject to change”.

    I don’t know that the Mets are babying him due to worries about his arm — I think it’s more about his head. His “deer in the headlights” response to spring training cast a red flag in the minds of the Mets management, and it may have affected their thinking on how to handle him.

    Personally, I would LOVE to see Humber start on Saturday. Like you mentioned, he’s on a hot streak. Let’s see what he can do!

  3. Micalpalyn August 28, 2007 at 4:37 pm
    Speaking of confidence, I know a lot of people are excited about Humber’s progress, but do you want his first MLB start to be against the Braves in the heat of the pennant race?


    One spot start, no expectations, in form, MLB experience (2 innings). It could be very good. timing. I mean when is there an optimal moment?

  4. Micalpalyn August 28, 2007 at 4:38 pm
    BTW: Mets have DFA’d Lawrence:

    Its on Metsblog………………….

  5. joe August 28, 2007 at 4:53 pm
    I see it on MetsBlog, but not anywhere else … not that I doubt it, but would like to know where the official word came from.

    Well if Pelfrey goes through with his start tonight, then we may very well get our wish and see Humber on Saturday !

  6. Micalpalyn August 28, 2007 at 5:49 pm
    Miscelaneous questions:

    1. There are several articles which communicate how the DL allows the Mets to add and remove players. As such I CAN see Jakle gautreau, or ryan Cullen added to the roster.

    2. I think Burgos IS a 60 day Dl likelihood.

    3. My curiosity surrounds Valentin; He has no place. his contract goals were not reached, his $$$ amount on the option was not menial. Luis Castillo represents an upgrade in many ways. Currently both are FA at the end of the season with Gotay and Gautreau as options. Ahern has by the numbers needed almost 2 yrs at every level. I do not buy the ‘bum’ comparisons. He is still a viable leadoff hitting, (light) good fielding SS. But not for the Mets.

    4. Carvajal IS on the 40 man, so he is another more than viable Burgos like possibility(?), If it can be done I’d like to see Schmoll added also. Obviously (hopefully thankfully) vargas, can provide some spot relief.

  7. isuzudude August 28, 2007 at 6:11 pm
    According to rotoworld.com, Lawrence has been optioned to triple-A to make way for Endy. As I understand it he can’t be called up again without replacing an injured player on the roster for 10 days? So it’s pretty much boiled down to Pelfrey, Vargas, Williams, or Humber to start Saturday. My vote goes to Pelfrey, but as you said Joe he needs to have his start skipped tonight in order for that to happen. He’s more than likely going to be with the big club once rosters expand anyway, so bring him up now to start and then put him in the bullpen when Pedro is ready.

    On top of the Burgos injury, Joe Smith hasn’t pitched since Aug 20. If both are unavailable to the Mets in September, the bullpen is really going to have a tough time finding that additional shot in the arm we were hoping for.

  8. sincekindergarten August 28, 2007 at 7:56 pm
    MetsBlog is saying that Burgos had TJ surgery this morning.

    I noticed on the Mets’ site, “Pedro may make another minor league start,” or words like that. The operative word is may. While I agree that The Jacket probably wants to see Pedro pitch about 100 pitches or so, there’s still that element of doubt . . .

  9. joe August 28, 2007 at 11:21 pm
    1. In regard to the rosters: yes there are all kinds of moves that can be made. BUT the bottom line is that you can’t have more than 40 active players on the roster. So if Gautreau, Schmoll, etc. are added, a player currently on the roster must be removed.

    2. Carvajal: yes he’s a less advanced version of Burgos, and in my mind is worth taking a look at. Who knows, he might pull a K-Rod. However he was used as a starter all year in AA and did not do well, so expectations are low.

    3. As SK mentioned, Burgos is finished. On the bright side, that opens up a spot on the roster for someone else, as he’ll go on the 60-day. Smith has tendinitis in his elbow, so who knows if he’ll be able to recover in time to make an impact.

    4. Pelfrey started and was removed after 2 2/3 innings, I haven’t found out why. Let’s hope it’s not an injury.

    5. My vote is for Humber on Saturday.

    6. It’s true Valentin has no place but we know how the Mets take care of their veterans. See: Franco, Julio.

    7. Pedro will pitch around Sept. 7th.

    8. The Mets bullpen is in deep sh—t. Carvajal, Humber, Pelfrey — someone needs to emerge as a viable option. Isn’t it funny that Willie can’t figure out why his bullpen is completely burned out? How he just doesn’t see that it was all his doing, by overusing them all year?