Roster Room

If the information posted on can be trusted, then the Mets 40-man roster currently numbers 36, broken down as follows:

– 21 pitchers
– 2 catchers
– 7 infielders
– 6 outfielders

So there is room for 4 more players. In addition, it should be noted that Ambiorix Burgos has to be on the 40-man, but will miss the entire season. Once the regular season begins, I believe, he can be put on the 60-day DL, which frees up a spot on the roster (though they might be able to DL him prior to Opening Day, I’m not clear on the rules). Most likely, the Mets will exercise that option in the first week of April and then have the flexibility to either protect an additional prospect or pick up a player who was dropped from another team at the very end of spring training.

For those of us getting antsy about the Mets picking up some arms that are better known than the Stephen Registers and Andy Cavazoses of the world, it may be somewhat calming to look back a year. Back in January 2007, the Mets signed Aaron Sele, Scott Schoeneweis, and Jorge Sosa — as well as utilityman David Newhan — and invited several players to spring training. So, if there are four open spots on the roster, it’s completely plausible to assume that Omar Minaya will be filling them with usable big leaguers in the coming weeks — just as he did last year.

Most likely, those new bodies will come from the shallow (and getting shallower by the day) free agent pool, but Minaya may also pull off a seemingly minor trade or two — remember in 2006 he made January deals that brought Duaner Sanchez, Jorge Julio, and John Maine to the team.

We don’t need to expound on the free agent pitching possibilities — we’ve beaten that one to death. Jon Lieber, Bartolo Colon, Octavio Dotel, Freddy Garcia, etc., all remain on the radar. (By the way, I’m not fond of Akinori Otsuka anymore, and particular not after reading this about his elbow.) But what about trades?

Let’s forget for a moment the Johan Santana talk … it makes my head hurt. Instead, focus on players who may have worn out their welcome and/or may not have a job on their current team due to offseason acquisitions. For example, the Tigers may not have room for Brandon Inge now that they have landed Miguel Cabrera to play 3B — but it’s doubtful the Mets would have any interest in Inge, either. Unless, of course, he was still catching, but he hasn’t done that in a few years. But that’s just an example to get you thinking.

While reading up on the aforementioned Otsuka, I also learned that the Rangers may not have a place for Nelson Cruz and/or Jason Botts, a 27-year-old power-hitting outfielder. The 6’5″, 250-lb Botts has put up big homerun numbers in the minors, and is at a point now where he needs to either win an MLB job or be a AAAA player. Cruz is pretty much in the same place, and was originally signed by the Mets way back in 1998. Cruz also has homerun power — evidenced by his 15 homers in 162 AAA at-bats last season. Either or both of these sluggers could get squeezed out of Texas after the arrivals of Milton Bradley, Josh Hamilton, and David Murphy (acquired in the Eric Gagne trade).

After trading away Lastings Milledge and non-tendering Ben Johnson (who won’t be physically ready to play by spring training), the Mets could use a righthanded hitting outfielder, and either Botts or Cruz could fit in that role — assuming they want Carlos Gomez to get more at-bats in AAA this year. Botts, by the way, is a switch-hitter who can also play 1B; the negative is that he’s about as astute defensively as Adam Dunn, so he may project as a DH. One final thing about the Rangers: they also have an up-and-coming catcher named Taylor Teagarden who is now blocked by Jarrod Saltalamacchia; he’d be a nice throw-in considering the Mets’ lack of catching prospects.

Another team that might have some surplus of interest to the Mets is the Giants, who entered the Hot Stove season with an abundance of young pitching and still have it. After signing Aaron Rowand, they’re no longer looking for an outfielder, but they might have interest in a young infielder — Ruben Gotay or Anderson Hernandez, for example. I still like the idea of LHP Jonathan Sanchez coming east, but it likely will take more than Gotay/Hernandez to land him. On the lower end, middle reliever Randy Messenger might be expendable, not too costly, and possibly helpful in the Mets’ bullpen.

After trading Josh Hamilton for two pitching prospects, and signing Francisco Cordero, the Cincinnati Reds are suddenly flush with arms. Perhaps they’d be open to trading away someone like David Weathers or Todd Coffey, either of which might bolster the Mets’ relief corps.

The Diamondbacks also appear to have an abundance of arms, though I’m not sure whether the Mets have anything of interest to offer. We’d certainly be interested in someone like Brandon Lyon, Juan Cruz, or Yusmeiro Petit.

Surely there are other teams out there, and we’ll continue scanning rosters for possibilities. Post any ideas you have in the comments — we have four spots to fill!

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 January 2, 2008 at 3:44 pm
    Funny you should make this post today, Joe. While at work today I’ve been scanning the different 40-man rosters from around the league and came across the Brewers logjammed starting pitching position. Now, it may make perfect sense for a team to hold on to as many capable starters as possible, because one never knows just how beset by injuries your pitching depth will become. And, for Milwaukee, it makes even more sense as Ben Sheets is a free agent after this coming season. But rumors have still been heard this offseason of a potential Scott Rolen-for-Chris Capuano trade, so maybe there might be an arm or two to be had in the Brewers system. Here are the names I came up with that are in the mix:
    1. Sheets
    2. Capuano
    3. Jeff Suppan
    4. Dave Bush
    5. Yovani Gallardo
    6. Manny Parra
    7. Carlos Villanueva
    8. Claudio Vargas
    9. Zach Jackson
    Further investigation reveals the Brewers’ bullpen is also overcrowded (Gagne, Riske, Mota, Torres, Turnbow, Shouse are 6 definites right off the bat) so it seems like they’ll need to make some space before opening day. Since losing Mench and Jenkins this winter and not replacing either, I would guess Milwaukee would be seeking OF help, or 3B help – depending on whether they want to move Ryan Braun to the OF next year. Out of the names above, I find Capuano’s most intriguing. He is almost the carbon copy of Oliver Perez when Omar snatched him up from the Pirates in ’06. He was demoted to the Brewers’ bullpen last year and finished 5-12 with an ERA over 5 and a WHIP near 1.50. But he wasn’t hurt at all, and had amassed 200+ innings in each of the prior 2 years, winning 18 & 11 games with an ERA near 4 and striking out 170+ each year. With the depth in the organization, and his poor performance in 2007, there’s a chance he can be had cheaply, but I’m worried the Mets don’t have the major league ready talent at OF or 3B the Brewers are looking for. Obviously we don’t trade David Wright or F-Mart, but could this be the type of pitcher we go for in a straight up swap for Carlos Gomez? I’d certainly consider it pretty strongly, especially after seeing the progress Ollie’s made under Peterson’s tutelage. There are other names listed above that would be nice to acquire too, but none that Milwaukee would realistically give up (Gallardo, Parra) or that would particularly help the Mets (Jackson, Suppan, Vargas). Trading Gomez is a tough pill to swallow, but I think Capuano would certainly be a a good talent to acquire conversely. He’s signed through 2009.

    Joe, I like a lot of the names you bring up, but I’m not sure how much more bullpen guys we should obtain that will take up 25-man roster spots. Considering Wagner, Heilman, Wise, Feliciano, Schoeneweis, and Sosa occupy current bullpen spots, adding one more arm demolishes the idea of keeping a bullpen spot open for arms with options that enable the bullpen to stay fresh(er). Plus, where would the Mets then find the room to add Sanchez or Padilla if they do come back healthy? At this point, unless giving up a guy already in the pen for another arm, the only spot the Mets have the ability to add to is the rotation. In my opinion, anyway.

  2. joe January 2, 2008 at 5:42 pm
    Geez, I didn’t realize the Brewers were so starter-heavy. You’re right — they have to move at least a few of those guys.

    Capuano is interesting, but not for Carlos Gomez. His steep and quick dropoff is disturbing — Ollie’s similar fall from grace is a perfect comparison. I wonder if there is a health issue that he’s hiding? Or maybe he’s tipping his pitches? In any case, I’d try to trade a less-valuable chip for him because he is such a gamble.

    You’re right in that ideally we’d want to add guys who can go up and down, rather than arms locked into the 25-man. I think Messenger, Petit, and Coffey can fall into that realm, though not sure about their options. I think Sosa might be a shuffle guy as well, depending on how he performs — I’m not sold on him being a permanent part of the staff. The other names I mentioned are certainly better than, say, Scott Schoeneweis — and probably Matt Wise — so if they can be brought in, you can always dump someone. Or, what if the Mets sent The Show or Sosa to Texas for one of those OFs? This is all top of the head speculation of course.

  3. Micalpalyn January 3, 2008 at 1:31 pm
    The brewers are not alone either. Just as you allude to the Arizona Dbacks also have an excess of young talent even after the Haren acquisition. Also the Marlins, who after acquiring maybin et al, are further amassing a slew of talent they cant keep on their 40man, ditto the Orioles. Indeed as you say Ollie was cut as much because he was falling behind Snell, Zach Duke and gorzelany.

    i agree on capuano. But here is my pitch; offer a young cheap OF who can leadoff, PH, steal, play ALL OF positions with GG efficiency and potentially plug the void left by Brady Clark…Endy chavez.

    Ollie: While we are looking at Santana, Ollie could be bolting. MLBrumors has him as a big FA target next yr. A 15 game winner, Ollie would be coveted. As a fan I’d like to see him locked up, possibly by the end of Spr tng.

  4. isuzudude January 3, 2008 at 2:29 pm
    Chavez for Capuano, huh? While we’re at it, how about Vargas and Register for Kazmir, and then A-Hern, Cavazos, and Concepcion for Johan! What are you waiting for, Omar?
  5. Micalpalyn January 3, 2008 at 2:37 pm
    Hey, as Joe said they will put Braun in the OF….that could end up like the Hundley experiment. Besides thats the point, Milaukee could end up losing someone (good) and Capuano has lost alot of luster in the Brewers org.

    I think you and Billy Beane must have been room mates 🙂

  6. isuzudude January 3, 2008 at 2:49 pm
    I just think it’s a far cry for the Brewers to reject Scott Rolen for Capuano and then settle for Chavez for Capuano. But maybe they are crazy enough to believe Endy would be a .300 hitter with 40 SBs and 200 hits if given 500 at-bats. Because I think that’s the only way they wind up accepting Chavez for a left-handed pitcher under the age of 30 who had been coming off two straight 200+ inning seasons with 28 combined wins and an ERA around 4.00. I also think the difference between Braun and Hundley is about 10 years and a lot of pure athleticism.

    It’s all good, though. Odds are the Mets and Brewers are done trading with each other this offseason.

  7. Micalpalyn January 3, 2008 at 3:00 pm
    All barbs aside: You created the discussion point and you are right;

    1. In Capuano the brewers have a worthwile trade piece and someone I am sure Omar is watching. OK maybe Endy is not in that class but what if you add Vargas, or a piece off the 25man roster? No way Carlos (or F-mart go for a player not named Santana. That said the offer Omar has out for Santana probably has him blocked for going to candidate #2.

    2. I disagree. I think Omar DOES go back to the brewers or minn tio trade. AND NOT to Billy Beane. The trade he pulled today was dumb. Ken williams has been fleeced YET AGAIN.

    3. Scot Rolen is broken. Yes healthy then that might be Ok. But trading a broken and expensive Scott rolen is why a would strongly resent that trade.

  8. joe January 3, 2008 at 3:02 pm
    Do we know for sure that the Brewers nixed Capuano for Rolen or was it the other way around? To me, giving up a Gold Glove 3B like Rolen in return for a guy who is one step away from falling off the face of the earth is a bum deal.

    But then, starting pitching is so hard to find, I guess there some plausibility to the idea. Still, Capuano started his dropoff in the second half of his magical 2005 — he posted a 4.46 ERA in only 97 IP — and the slide shows no sign of reversing.

    So hard to figure … especially when one 18-win season more or less sets you for life. Look at how long people thought Steve Trachsel and Shawn Estes were great starters after winning 15 games in a season.

  9. Micalpalyn January 3, 2008 at 3:41 pm
    Central to this debate is the fact if we cant get Johan, then WHERE will Omar look next?
  10. whatdatmean January 3, 2008 at 4:06 pm
    capuano is the right move for the mets. Buying low. Capuano has been crap for a year and a half. Getting him now, you get a high ceiling player that may help you, at a lesser price. But the love affair with this guy is a little scary. He is good, but has also been very, very bad. No way gomez or fmart go for this guy.
    I agree endy is the right name here. He is what they need. A solid defensive CF that can play all positions and will be able to platoon. Braun moves to the OF, and hall to 3b. Works for both.
    However, it may cost more than endy. Gotay may make the most sense, or possibly a 2nd tier type prospect.
    Interesting idea however. I would like to see some smaller moves to round out the team.
    BTW…. Scott rolen is a former great player. He is getting old, oft injured, on the outs with management, and is not the player he once was. I think STL would be fleecing MIL in that deal, especially because they already have 2 better 3b in their system. Getting Endy does a lot more for them. I know it will hurt us a lot, but we cant miss that kind of opportunity either.
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