Archive: March 30th, 2008

Top Hitter in a Pinch

In 2007, Ruben Gotay led the Mets with 15 pinch-hits. The next-closest compiler was Marlon Anderson with 10. Gotay also led all Mets pinch-hitters with 19 total bases.

Overall — meaning as a regular, as a pinch-hitter, etc. — Gotay was second on the team (to Anderson) in batting average with runners in scoring position, smacking the ball safely to the tune of .356.

Gotay also led all Mets last year in the “close and late” category, batting .349 in those situations (he edged out David Wright by 3 percentage points).

Strange, isn’t it, that Ruben had to fight for a job this spring?

Stranger still, that Ruben Gotay was waived and is now a member of the Atlanta Braves.

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Strange Moves

The 25-man roster has been established, and one must wonder what went into the final decisions — and whether the spring training game performances had any effect.

There were only a few open spots, and one huge question mark. The 13th position player, the 12th pitcher, and the 5th starter.

Brady Clark won the lucky 13th positional spot, barely edging out the .210-slugging Fernando Tatis and earning himsel a place on the bench right next to the water cooler. I’m 100% on board with this decision, but only because Ruben Gotay is now a Brave. Had Gotay still been Mets property, I might have some problem with Clark getting the nod, but bygones are bygones.

Miraculously, Mighty Joe Smith was handed the final bullpen spot. Notice I stated “handed” and not “earned”. Ricardo Rincon, Nelson Figueroa, and Steven Register all outpitched Smith this spring. Heck, even Nate Field and Joselo Diaz looked better. But Smith got the spot. I don’t get it — and I LOVE Joe Smith, but it seemed to me that it would make more sense to option Smith down and hold on to one of the aforementioned — particularly Register, who had to be sent back to Colorado, or Rincon, who I feel is this year’s J.C. Romero.

Finally, there is the utterly illogical handout of the #5 spot in the rotation to Mike Pelfrey. Like Smith, I love Big Mike and want to see him do well — but I’m not wearing rose-tinted glasses when I watch him. He still doesn’t have an off-speed pitch, and in fact doesn’t have much of a second pitch. El Duque needed to go to the DL and he did, and Pelf needed to go back to AAA to hone his game. The Mets could have slotted Jorge Sosa into the role, and then kept Figueroa, Rincon, or Register. Or, they could have given Figueroa a shot at the fifth spot. Again, not understanding why they wouldn’t take advantage of the opportunity to option Pelfrey.

We could say, aw, heck, what’s the big deal about the last three scrubs on the roster? But remember the Mets lost first place by one game in 2007 — so every man counts.

Hopefully, I have no idea what I’m talking about, and everything will work out just fine.

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