Mets 25-Man Roster Set

With Opening Day only four days away, the Mets’ 25-man roster is set. Few, if any, surprises dot the list, though at least one individual may have been slighted.

Here are your 2009 New York Mets:

Pitching Staff

Johan Santana
Mike Pelfrey
Oliver Perez
John Maine
* Livan Hernandez


Francisco Rodriguez
Joseph Jason Putz
Sean Green
Pedro Feliciano
Bobby Parnell
Brian Stokes
Darren O’Day


Brian Schneider
Ramon Castro


1B Carlos Delgado
2B Luis Castillo
3B David Wright
SS Jose Reyes
UTL Alex Cora


Carlos Beltran
Ryan Church
Danny Murphy
Jeremy Reed
Fernando Tatis (UTL)
Marlon Anderson (1B / 2B)
* Nick Evans (1B)

(* – Livan Hernandez will join the roster on April 11th, presumably to replace Nick Evans)


There wasn’t any competition for the starting lineup positions, and four of the five rotation spots were earmarked, so much of the above is unsurprising. Livan Hernandez took hold of the fifth starter’s spot in the first week of spring training and never let go.

So the real mystery — if there was any — came in regard to the bullpen and the bench. Darren O’Day was a Rule 5 pick, and pitched well enough to earn a spot. I think he’ll be a sleeper coming out of the ‘pen. Brian Stokes was fairly effective in the spring, and was helped by the fact that most of the ST invites brought in to compete for bullpen spots were underwhelming at best. Stokes also is out of options, and likely would have been plucked by another team if waived. Similarly, Sean Green pitched well in March and was more or less a lock, as was Pedro Feliciano and the two closers. The only surprise is Bobby Parnell, who impressed by touching 97 MPH on the radar gun and posting a 2.19 ERA. I’m a little skeptical on carrying Parnell, due to the 9 walks he gave up in only 12 innings, and the long fly balls that resulted when his fastball veered chest high over the middle of the plate. Personally, I would’ve preferred to see Nelson Figueroa on the staff as a long man, especially after his excellent performance in the WBC. Apparently, facing some of the best hitters in the world in a playoff-like competition does not weigh as heavily as pitching against AA hitters in a spring training atmosphere. Go figure.

As for the bench, we knew that Alex Cora’s $2M contract guaranteed a spot, and Ramon Castro was similarly set. Marlon Anderson was also retained for financial reasons, though also out of respect, I surmise, because he didn’t hit very well. I’m OK with that, as I’m a huge fan of Marlon and believe he is a good clubhouse presence. But if he needs to hit to stick around — this situation is eerily similar to that of Julio Franco in 2007.

Tatis was a no-brainer for the bench after Dan Murphy was named the starting leftfielder. He’s an ideal guy to have around for his versatility and occasional pop. Reed was the best of the dozen or so light-hitting, defensive-minded, Endy Chavez replacements. I like Reed quite a bit and wonder why he’s not the one starting in LF, after hitting a blistering .418 with a .500 OBP in the spring. Talk all you want about Danny Murphy, but from what I saw, Jeremy Reed was the most impressive all-around outfield candidate in camp.

The Cuts

The demotion of Figueroa — and subsequent longer looks at schlubs such as Fernando Nieve and Elmer Dessens — was deplorable. What more did Figgy have to do this spring? If it weren’t such a wide open competition, it would be somewhat understandable. In 7 2/3 high-pressure innings, Figueroa gave up zero runs, struck out 6, and posted a 0.68 WHIP. The Mets are in need of a flexible guy in the bullpen — one who can handle both long and short duties — and Figgy fits the bill. Strange.

Tony Armas, Jr. was cut after pitching one scoreless inning. I thought for sure he would be assigned to AAA Buffalo; perhaps he eventually will.

Jose Valentin was also released, which was sad. If not for the guaranteed contract given to Cora, he might have had a chance. Like Armas, he may eventually be assigned to a minor league club — my guess is that the team will discuss with him a player-coach position in Buffalo, or a straight coaching job at a lower level.

Similarly, Andy Green was demoted quickly, despite invigorating an otherwise boring spring with heightened enthusiasm and hitting like crazy. He reminded me of Joe McEwing, during Superjoe’s heyday.

Freddy Garcia wasn’t in shape, and pitched poorly, but I believe and hope he builds himself up in the minors, as I have a funny feeling he’ll be needed at some point.

What happened to Eddie Kunz? Not a peep about him all spring.

Final Thoughts

No huge surprises, as the Mets’ roster was fairly set due to financial commitments. There is a concern that Pedro Feliciano is the only lefty coming out of the bullpen, but the LOOGYs brought in ranged from awful to ordinary, and it doesn’t make sense to carry a lefty for the sake of carrying a lefty.

On paper, the roster looks fairly solid up and down. Let the games begin.

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. wohjr April 1, 2009 at 3:45 pm
    Sorry if this comes off weird and callous, but I remain unconvinced that Omar’s off-season bullpen revamp is going to be anywhere near enough to put us in the playoffs, let alone over the top, for this season. For this reason I am hoping for a somewhat serious injury to Johan before the trade deadline. Nothing serious, obviously, and maybe something that would only have him out for a month or two, but I think it would be this kind of blow that would get Omar serious about making some of the major moves that could put us over the top. I’d feel a lot better about the stretch run if we had johan back from injury and a newly-traded-for Peavy or Aaron Harang or somesuch. Is this crazy?
  2. mikes_mets April 1, 2009 at 4:42 pm
    I have to disagree with you on Figueroa, Joe. He had a long look here last year and walked 26 in 45 innings. As soon as he started getting hit he got a bad case of the nibbles. Nothing against him, I loved his personal story last year. I got chills when he got the standing O at Shea in front of his whole family. But he’s a Quad-A pitcher who looked very good in very limited innings this spring. He’s Steve Trachsel, but not as good. I’d rather go with the upside in Parnell.

    Agree with you on Garcia, by the way.

  3. joe April 1, 2009 at 5:39 pm
    wohjr: I also have my doubts about whether the Mets’ issues were fully addressed during the offseason. There was much more wrong with the ’08 team than the bullpen, with much of it obscured by Carlos Delgado’s hot second half.

    mike: Your evaluation of Figueroa based on last year’s performance is fair. My view of the situation this spring, however, was that spots on the staff were available to be won by whomever pitched the best during March. If that wasn’t the case, then what was the point of bringing in the likes of Casey Fossum, Jon Switzer, Connor Robertson, Fernando Nieve, Darren O’Day, Rocky Cherry, etc., etc. ?

    If Rocky Cherry had held opponents to a 0.68 ERA through 7 innings this spring, do you think the Mets would have offered him back to Baltimore? If Parnell struck out only 3 instead of 9, and had an ERA that was more unsightly, would he have still made the team?

    I do get where you’re coming from re: Parnell’s upside, but I don’t know that I saw anything that proved he’s ready for MLB, and I’m not sure where he fits in. Will he be the guy who rescues Oliver Perez and pitches 3 innings of relief when Ollie can’t get out of the fourth inning? Or is he a guy who will come into the 7th inning to shut the door when the opposing team has tough RH hitters coming up in a close game?

    To me, he and Stokes are redundant (and similar), except that Parnell is supposed to be someone who can evolve into an MLB starter (according to the Mets). If Parnell is tested in some later inning situations, the way Aaron Heilman and Grant Roberts made their mark in past years, then OK, I get it, though from my eyes he appears to be susceptible to the gopher ball. If he’s used for mopup, then I’d think he’s better off in AAA to work on his inconsistent secondary pitches.

    I guess we’ll find out !

  4. isuzudude April 1, 2009 at 5:58 pm
    Joe, I think your Parnell comparison to Heilman and Roberts is spot on, and I would not be surprised to see Parnell’s story proceed the same way as his predecessors – in that he impresses everyone initially out of the bullpen so much that future plans of starting get scrapped. If he’s strictly a two-pitch pitcher and performs admirably getting key outs late in ballgames, the Mets will be inclined to keep him in the pen regardless of how badly he’s going to want out.

    I also agree somewhat with wohjr. Although I’d never want to see Johan suffer any type of injury, I think he’s right in that something drastic needs to happen to get Omar to open his eyes and make the one additional move that will put this team over the top. But as has been said many times on the blog, it may not be the Wilpons’ and Omar’s desire to necesarily put this team over the top, but instead to spend just enough and work just hard enough to have the majority of the fanbase believing in World Series aspirations, and thus getting the flow of money from our wallets to their bottom line. Baseball is a business to them, not a sport. If they produce a winning team, and make the postseason, and bring home the championship hardware, hey that’s gravy on top of the potatoes. But as long as they’re turning a profit, the team is a success in their eyes. The construction of the roster and the composition of the new ballpark is all the evidence you need to test that theory.

  5. joe April 1, 2009 at 6:13 pm
    Yeah that’s exactly what I see for Parnell’s future … except with Parnell, in contrast to Roberts and Heilman, doesn’t have a second pitch (in truth, Roberts and Heilman both had 3 “plus” pitches). We’ve heard that throws a slider, but it’s not a plus pitch yet and it’s inconsistent. He’s probably more like Mike Pelfrey was, in Pelf’s rookie year, in that he throws a sinker that sinks most of the time, a fastball that’s usually too high and too straight, and his only secondary pitch is a so-so slider that may fool hitters once in a while, but may also increase pitch counts and/or get blasted out of the park.

    Also we’ll want to monitor his velocity. Pitching 2-3 times a week in a relief role may either help him keep that speed up around 97, or it may cause it to fall down to 92-93 — we won’t know until he gets regular work (if he gets regular work), as everyone responds differently. If he’s down around 92-93, I don’t think that will be enough to be effective, not without a solid second pitch.

  6. upson April 1, 2009 at 8:34 pm
    Well, there’s at least one reason to go with Parnell over Figueroa: It gives the Mets flexibility. If things go bad with Parnell, the Mets can always option him to Buffalo and call up Figgy. Starting the season with Figgy does not give this option. One can argue that if Figgy starts the season in the bullpen and fails, the Mets should not be worried about losing him through waivers. True, but let’s not forget about Redding. I have not heard about him for some time, but I assume that he is expected to be back by the end of April…At the same time, I can easily imagine a situation when the bullpen as whole works very well during April. Going with Figueroa in this case would mean a sure loss of one of the valuable arms. Having Parnell in the bullpen gives the flexibility of optioning him to Buffalo while retaining all others. Finally, I believe that Mets want to have Figueroa ready as an insurance starter. (Especially with Armas gone, Niese not convincing and Garcia and Redding injured.) Hence, it makes sense to have him stretched in AAA first.

    I for one am optimistic about the bullpen. We’ll test it during April and wait how the Redding situation is resolved. If a need for longman arises and Stokes is ineffective, there’s Figgy and Dessens. For shorter spans, Muniz and Robertson will be main call up candidates as they have options remaining. The personnel seems OK to me, I just hope it will be used judicously.

  7. joe April 1, 2009 at 9:45 pm
    Upson, I like your theory, it makes sense from many angles.

    So basically Parnell becomes Heath Bell, and by August we may term players going up and down as “riding the Parnell Shuttle from Buffalo”.

    Though, at the same time wouldn’t the Mets want to stretch out Parnell for starting instead of Figgy?

    Unless they’ve come to the realization that Parnell’s future is in the bullpen ?

  8. murph April 2, 2009 at 2:46 am
    Here is my annual rant about the collapse(s):
    (No, I am not letting them off the hook just yet., but I am not bitter)

    Number of players on the 2009 roster that were part of the 2008 collapse: 19
    Number of players on the 2009 roster that were part of TWO collapses: 10
    Number of players on the 2009 roster that also lost to St. Louis in ’06: 8

    2 Collapses:
    Oliver Perez
    John Maine
    Pedro Feliciano
    Ramon Castro
    Carlos Delgado
    Luis Castillo
    David Wright
    Jose Reyes
    Carlos Beltran
    Marlon Anderson

    “just” 1 collapse:
    Bobby Parnell *
    Brian Stokes
    Johan Santana
    Mike Pelfrey
    Brian Schneider
    Ryan Church
    Danny Murphy
    Fernando Tatis
    Nick Evans
    * OK, Parnell only pitched in 6 games last year, but they were ALL in September and ALL losses.

    I still love the Mets, but I have NOT forgotten the b.s. they have pulled the past two seasons.
    I hope they learn how to stop a skid this time, unlike last year, when we saw the “uh-oh, here we go again” look on their faces.
    Until they prove otherwise, this team is a bunch of chokers.
    Prove me (and Cole Hamels) wrong, Mets.

  9. Maggie April 2, 2009 at 8:42 am
    I can’t get on board with your estimation of Reed. He’s had an amazing spring, absolutely, but he’s never excelled in a starting role. Murphy may be a newbie, but he hit incredibly well in 131 high-pressure at bats last year and carried that consistency through fall ball and into spring training. His defense has improved considerably and is still getting better (which isn’t as big of a concern in CitiField as the other outfield spots anyway). He’s demonstrated his ability to play hard and well every day. Reed is a great player, don’t get me wrong, but he’s a bench player, not a starter. Bringing him into left for defense late in games to replace Murphy is going to be an intimidating one-two punch.