Archive: February 25th, 2008

Out of Options

As mentioned earlier, Ruben Gotay is “out of options”. If we are to trust the list on MLBTradeRumors, there are a number of players who could be available at the end of spring training, and might fit into the Mets’ plans.

Although the Mets’ roster — other than the 25th man — appears to be set before an exhibition game is played, anything can happen over the course of the spring. For example, an injury could open up a spot. A trade is not out of the question. Someone might be caught with PEDs. Or, it could be that no one player clearly grabs the 25th roster spot.

We’re assuming that one of Ruben Gotay, Olmedo Saenz, Angel Pagan, or Brady Clark win the spot. We can’t completely count out Ben Johnson, Jose Valentin, Michel Abreu, Fernando Tatis, and Anderson Hernandez, either. But, it’s possible none of those players overwhelms the Mets’ coaching staff. There’s also a slight possibility that the Mets figure out a way to bring one less pitcher north, since they won’t need a fifth starter for most of April, and therefore another roster spot opens up — albeit temporarily. With those ideas in mind, plus the fact that it’s fun to contemplate other teams’ players, let’s take a look at a list of players out of options who may become available and could be of interest the Mets.

Rangers – Jason Botts and Nelson Cruz

I’ve mentioned this pair several times this winter. They’re both righthanded hitting outfielders, who hit with power, and still young. One or both could be available in April.

Indians – Andy Marte
The Mets have no use for the young third baseman, but he was the top prospect in baseball a year ago. Maybe he could be transitioned to 1B or the outfield.

Athletics – Dan Johnson
I have some kind of weird man-crush on this guy, because he takes his walks and in the past looked like he’d be a great hitter. The Mets will need a first baseman in 2009.

Red Sox – David Aardsma

We’ve mentioned him before — he was a big-time NCAA closer who has been bouncing from one team to another since being drafted in the first round by the Giants in 2003. He’s only 26 and still has time to emerge as a setup man in the mold of Dan Wheeler.

Royals – Justin Huber
Wouldn’t it be interesting to see Huber return to the organization? The big Aussie still hasn’t earned an MLB spot, but he’s hit well in the minors. There’s no guarantee he makes the KC roster, where Ross Gload, Billy Butler, and Ryan Shealy are ahead of him at his primary position of first base. He’s a righthanded hitter, he plays first base, the outfield, and can catch in a pinch. Hmm … sounds like exactly the kind of utilityman the Mets need.

Dodgers – Delwyn Young

A switch-hitter who has proven he can hit in the minors, but hasn’t proven he can play anywhere defensively. He’d be a decent outfield option off the bench — but is he any better than Angel Pagan?

White Sox – Gavin Floyd

Once the jewel of the Phillies’ organization, Floyd has been a bust in Chicago and may not make their big club after a 5.27 ERA last season. If no one takes the long relief role, it might behoove the Mets to consider this 25-year-old as a reclamation project for Rick Peterson.

Rays – Edwin Jackson
As Floyd was to the Phillies, Jackson was to the Dodgers only a few years ago. Like Floyd, he’s been a bust since being part of a major trade. He went 5-15 last year, but is only 24 years old. The Rays might keep him around despite his struggles.

Braves – Chris Resop and Royce Ring

I always liked Royce Ring, though it’s doubtful Omar Minaya would bring back a “Duquette guy”. Resop has been mentioned here before — he’s a converted outfielder still learning to pitch who throws in the mid-90s.

Anyone else out there worth thinking about? Post your comments below.


Gotay Could Be Gone

As has been pointed out by several MetsToday readers, Ruben Gotay is “out of options“, meaning that if he does not make the 25-man roster coming out of spring training, the Mets would have to place him on waivers — thus making him available to all other MLB teams — before sending him to the minor leagues.

Considering that Luis Castillo is the Mets second baseman for at least the next four years, that there is only one positional roster spot up for grabs, and that spot would most effectively be used by a strong righthanded hitter, there is a very good chance that Ruben Gotay will be in an organization other than the Mets come April.

This could turn out to be a good thing for Gotay. Because the Mets would prefer to get something in return for him, rather than lose him through waivers, he should be getting every opportunity to make the big league squad and/or display his wares to other teams’ scouts. A strong showing by Gotay could net the Mets a couple decent minor leaguers in a March trade. So don’t be surprised if you see less of Luis Castillo — under the guise of “taking it slow after offseason knee surgery” — and more of Gotay at the keystone. My guess is that Gotay will also be given plenty of time at shortstop, third base, and anywhere else he might be used (RF? 1B? C?). The way I see it, the only way Gotay makes the 25-man roster is by 1) hitting well from the right side; and/or 2) proving to be extremely versatile.

While there is the argument that the Mets wouldn’t have a legit backup shortstop if Gotay’s not around, that’s a moot issue. Jose Reyes is expected to play 150-155 games, and should something happen to him, Damion Easley can play the position in a pinch. Heaven forbid Reyes would be out for more than a day, the Mets can easily reach down to AAA and bring up Anderson Hernandez.

There is, however, a possibility that Gotay doesn’t make the team, and the Mets are able to keep him. Looking around MLB, there aren’t a whole lot of teams desperate for a second baseman with Gotay’s skills and experience. Off the top of my head, the San Francisco Giants appear to be a team that could benefit by getting younger in the middle infield. Depending on whether the A’s plan to trade Mark Ellis and/or Bobby Crosby, Oakland could be a destination for Gotay; same goes for Baltimore and what they do with Brian Roberts. The Cubs might be interested, but it appears they’re after Roberts. Anyone else out there I’m thinking about?

Other than Gotay, I don’t *think* there is anyone else the Mets have to worry about as far as options go. But please correct me on that if I’m wrong … the rules are complicated and after years of studying them, I still don’t completely understand them.

Next post: combing over the players out of options from other teams.