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.