Quick Notes On First Cuts

The Mets have made their first round of cuts this spring. Let’s go over them with brief commentary.

Robert Carson
Even with Tim Byrdak out for two months, this wasn’t a shocker — not with Garret Olson, Chuck James, Daniel Herrera, and now Josh Edgin in camp (and the team in serious talks with C.J. Nitkowski). Carson did nothing wrong, but he didn’t do anything eye-popping, either. In other words, he didn’t appear to be significantly ahead of the veteran options, so there wasn’t much point in advancing him just yet. Two main issues come into play: first, Carson will benefit more by extra reps in minor league camp, and second, it’s a smart long-term financial move to prevent Carson’s arbitration clock from starting. And actually, it’s in Carson’s best interest to go back down to the minors and continue trying to be a starter than in being pigeonholed as a MLB LOOGY so early in his career — he’s only 23 years old. Finally, by eliminating Carson, the Mets can get longer looks at the more experienced lefties. With Byrdak out, the Mets need to gather as much information as possible on a short-term replacement.

Matt Den Dekker
This one — along with Nieuwenhuis — was mildly surprising, considering that the Mets don’t have a true centerfielder backing up Andres Torres. I thought they would keep one or possibly both around for a few more days. I suppose they came to the conclusion that neither would be starting over Torres, and that they’d rather see these youngsters playing regularly in the minors than part-time in the bigs.

Jeurys Familia
No surprise here, as Familia is not yet ready for prime time.

Wilmer Flores
Again, not a surprise, as Flores has changed positions and is a long way from MLB. It could be argued that he’s a distance from AA, in fact.

Matt Harvey
Although Harvey was taking this spring training seriously, and he believed he could force the Mets into taking him north, there really was little chance of it happening. And though he absolutely appears to have impressive raw talent, he’s a good distance from contributing at the Major League level. I like his mechanics up to his release point, but am a little concerned about his follow-through, which is cut off quickly and puts undue stress on his arm. I’d like to see his legs and back play a bigger part in the deceleration phase of his motion — i.e., letting those larger muscles “put the brakes” on his arm / slow it down after release. Hopefully that’s something the Mets minor league pitching instructors will work on with him. As for his stuff, he has a live fastball with good sink but he clearly needs to work on gaining more consistent command. His secondary stuff is also inconsistent and he telegraphs it. However, with more time and the right guidance, I can see him developing quickly.

Reese Havens
No surprise. Daniel Murphy is the Mets’ second baseman and would be even if Havens hit .800.

Juan Lagares
No surprise. Lagares appears to be a prospect with a future but the future is not now.

Zach Lutz
This one was slightly surprising since David Wright has yet to return to the field and Lutz is one of the few other near-MLB-ready third basemen in the organization. Even though Wright should be back in action shortly, I doubt he’ll be playing more than 5 innings at a time for a while. Though, the Mets have coverage with Justin Turner and Ronny Cedeno.

Jenrry Mejia
No surprise. Mejia is still recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis
See den Dekker above. I guess the Mets want to give all the non-Torres centerfield reps to Adam Loewen and Mike Baxter. It makes sense from the standpoint that the Mets know that both Captain Kirk and den Dekker are more than capable CFers, but they don’t know for sure what Baxter or Loewen can do out there. Personally, I think Jason Bay is a better option than either, but the Mets probably want Bay to focus on getting his stroke back.

Val Pascucci
Once Ike Davis proved healthy, there was little chance of Big Val making the roster. Even if Davis couldn’t play, Val was still a long shot.

Armando Rodriguez
This was was a little surprising, since there seemed to be some buzz around Rodriguez and his live arm. But when you look at the Mets relief corps, there are a number of arms vying for few spots.

Josh Stinson
No surprise. Stinson didn’t show much in his cup of coffee last September and continued that underwhelming theme this spring. He needs to improve markedly and he’ll be better served doing that in minor league camp, with more reps and less attention.

What say you? Were you surprised at any of the cuts? Speak your mind in the comments.

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. dan capwell March 16, 2012 at 6:02 am
    Has Reese Havens even taken the field in camp?
  2. Jordan March 16, 2012 at 6:39 am
    Part of what plays in, too, as I learned from Adam Ruben on Twitter, is that after a certain date, a team cannot send an injured player to the minors. And with all the injuries, it’s smarter to send the guys you aren’t 100% on taking to the bigs back to the minors than to have one get injured and then HAVE TO break camp with the big league team, taking up a roster spot. it would force them to have to send a player with options down until the DL spot is cleared, or release a player without options. Either way, makes no sense. Better to break camp with your major leaguers on the DL and call up minor leaguers than to mess with the top side of the depth chart.
  3. Tommy2cat March 16, 2012 at 8:11 am
    I like the fact that Matt Harvey seemed irritated that he did not make the ML roster. He’ll be in the rotation sooner rather than later.

    Kirk & den Dekker need more seasoning at AAA and AA. Kirk moreso to just get his timing back and den Dekker to manage the strike zone better. Both demonstrated a full capability of handling CF duties.

    I like Adam Loewen – legitimate power & good stick, but he’s NOT a centerfielder, not even close. Baxter is a little more polished and can probably handle CF in a pinch.

    Valdespin did make the cut. He appears to be a legit talent and completely unnerved by ML opposition.

    Josh Satin is the reason why Zach Lutz did not make the cut. Josh is a little ahead of Zach, whose career was stalled in the minors due to injuries. I suspect we’ll see Zach – a righty hitter – sooner rather than later, as our organization as a whole predominately swings from the left side of the plate.

    Yeah, Jose Reyes did not make the 40-man roster, either. Makes me sick to see him in a division rival’s uni without any sensible compensation. Don’t you think the Giant’s would’ve traded Gary Brown for Jose last July, apart from the Beltran trade?

    There’s a couple of minor league outfielders in other organizations that we should keep our eye on, & Brown is one of them.

  4. Tommy2cat March 16, 2012 at 8:14 am
    Oh yeah, I forgot Juan Lagares. He’s a great talent. I’m sure you saw him lay out in left field & make a diving catch in a game that was out of hand. He can hit lights out – although it’s not reflected in the stat sheet. Some of his outs were loud, and he has a nice, easy & prepared approach at the plate. I can’t wait to see him break onto the ML roster.
    • John March 17, 2012 at 11:05 am
      I saw him play in Savanna and he needed some more plate discipline. He may have improved last year but his walk rate was still low. Without actually seeing him last year I can’t say that it means anything. But is a little concern.
      Otherwise this looks like a kid who could be a real solid above average outfielder for a long time.
      Time wil tell
  5. Izzy March 16, 2012 at 10:14 am
    Reading Tommy’s posts, it seems the Mets have a great farm system. Its sad that the Wiulpons fired the guy that developed it from the total state of shambles Steve Phillips let it become.
  6. MikeT March 16, 2012 at 10:44 am
    FYI, Harvey, Pascucci, and den Dekker were non-roster invitees, and thus can still appear in Major League games if the Mets want them to. Those on the 40-man roster, i.e. most everyone else listed here, cannot without wasting an option. I bet we see Val and den Dekker a few more times.
    • HobieLandrith March 16, 2012 at 11:31 am
      Thank goodness. I haven’t yet had my annual fill of seeing Valentino Pascucci.

      Also, great to know that there will be more at-bats for Omar Quintanilla and Rob Johnson, too.

  7. Paul Festa March 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm
    Harvey said Miguel Batista was working with him, teaching him to “finish his pitches.” Miguel may have seen the same flaw you did, Joe.
    • Joe Janish March 17, 2012 at 12:15 pm
      Interesting, thanks for sharing. It’s not a huge issue, but it’s enough that if I were coaching him I’d bring it to Harvey’s attention and have him work on getting his head a little more forward and lower after release and try to get his throwing hand to follow-through below his knee. It’s a common flaw, and Harvey is nowhere near as bad as, say, the Braves’ Tommy Hanson when it comes to follow-through. MY arm hurts just watching Hanson.