Archive: January 12th, 2012

I’ve Got 23…

Like moths to a flame, bloggers, boarders and callers are all stirred up over a tweet from Anthony DiComo who has “heard” that the Mets are done tweaking the 40-man roster. DiComo hears it, Cerrone posts and comments on it and bang, instant “story.” Maybe we should wait for a team source to confirm it? It’s unwelcome news for sure, if it is indeed true. What it does do however, is give a clearer idea of what the Opening Day roster might look like and another excuse for me to pad my article count total on Mets Today.

As of January 12, 2012 (the 44th anniversary of the Jet win in SB III) here is the projected Opening Day roster for the New York Mets:

Eight Starters: Torres-cf, Murphy-2b, Wright-3b, Davis-1b, Bay-lf, Duda-rf, Tejada-ss, Thole-c

Five in the Rotation: Santana, Dickey, Niese, Pelfrey and Gee.

Four on the Bench: Cedeno-ss, Turner-2b, Hairston-OF and Nickeas-c

Six in the Pen: Francisco-cl, Rauch-8th, Ramirez-7th, Byrdak-LOOGY, Parnell-ROOGY and Acosta

That’s 23. First off, I don’t know if we should be happy or sad that a team coming off three consecutive losing seasons while staring at a fourth has nearly its entire opening day roster set more than a month before spring training starts. Is this a new-found stability or just more evidence that the team is so badly hamstrung by their finances that they can’t do anything?

Of the players mentioned, I think that Johan Santana has the best (worst?) chance to start the season on the DL. Looking into my crystal ball, I expect about 20-25 starts from Johan this year, with him maybe joining the team in Miami in May and perhaps being passed over a few times in late July and then a September shut down. I also think Bobby Parnell is being wasted as a ROOGY and would like to see him close in Buffalo. As for that bench, well it’s just awful right now.
But I digress. With 23 Opening Day spots seemingly nailed down, there are two left to be filled. If there are no major moves being made between now and then we have to assume that spots #24 and #25 will go either to someone already connected to the organization or who will take a cheap, non-guaranteed offer. So here are a few possibilities:

A down-sized roster: Hey it’s all the rage elsewhere; maybe the Wilpons figure that fewer workers can handle the load and go with 23 players to do the work of 25. Don’t laugh; we older fans might recall the 1980’s when teams used a 24-man roster.

Future Shock: It would be a developmental disaster, IMHO, to push any of the prospects before their time, but perhaps Kirk Nieuwenhuis goes north as the 5th outfielder and someone like Robert Carson or Josh Edgin get the last bullpen spot. The Mets most likely plan to market the Harveys, Wheelers, etc. heavily in the coming months and it might be tempting to use one or more of these guys as teasers for the steady stream of good young players that they hope will soon follow. I don’t think that either Terry Collins or Sandy Alderson are in danger of losing their jobs, so they don’t have to promote any of these guys early to save their skins, a la Omar and Jerry with Jenrry Mejia. While I am intrigued by some of the Mets prospects, I really don’t want to see any of here until this September at the earliest.

Quad-A Blue Plate Specials: Sadly for us, I think this is the most likely scenario. Look to the bench for precedent. I am sure that Mike Nickeas is a wonderful person and has worked hard to get here, but there is nothing in his body of minor league work to suggest that he belongs on a major league roster. His main asset it appears is that he costs the major league minimum. So brace yourselves for the Home Opener tip of the cap from Chris Schwinden, or Jose Bautista, or Pedro Beato (still holding out hope for him), or Mike Baxter or Val Pascucci or Adam Loewen.

Will Work For Food: OK that isn’t funny, but perhaps a combination of investor money and some too-go-to pass-on players results in the late February minor league contract/spring training invite to some intriguing names. Imagine for example, Ivan Rodriquez coming to the Mets and pursuing his 3,000th hit. That might be the most interesting on-field development for the Mets in 2012. Even at .218 he out-hit Nickeas last year. Instead of Bautista, how about Brad Penny or Joel Pinero for the last pitcher’s spot? Not expecting great shakes, but I think I would rather see either of them start in place of Santana than I would Bautista. For the 5th outfielder, who about Rick Ankiel? I really like Lucas Duda but am concerned about a season-long force feed in right field. Ankiel’s arm makes him the perfect late-inning replacement. Too late now, perhaps, but I really wanted a grinder like Ryan Theriot at second. I just cringe every time I think of Murphy at second (and I am a Murphy fan).

So what do you think might happen between now and Spring Training?


How Fernando Martinez is Like Kindle Fire

NY Daily News

There was never anything phenomenal about Fernando Martinez. He was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2005 by explorer Omar Minaya. Minaya seemed to have some success in the past down in those waters, but Martinez was supposed to be the top prize.

After years and years of hearing he was the future, the love story has finally come to an end. Fernando Martinez is now a Houston Astro thanks to Sandy Alderson placing him on waivers. It seems like only yesterday F-Mart was the talk of the town. He was that can’t-miss prospect that all publications were drooling over. But quite frankly, he wasn’t all that good, ever.

As I look at it, Fernando Martinez is that toy you got on Christmas. You remember that toy, don’t you? For me this year, it’s the Kindle Fire. When I first got it, I couldn’t put it down. I was browsing all over the internet, syncing my emails, downloading books, etc… Fernando Martinez was that toy for a while. He was the number-one ranked prospect in the Mets organization in 2007 and 2008. I’m sure you know that by now.

He once was the 20th-best prospect in all of baseball. That was four years ago. As the weeks have gone on, I don’t play with my Kindle as much. I read three novels on it (Read “The Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach; great novel). I look at it and ask, “What else do you have to offer?” Fernando Martinez is my Kindle Fire, minus the various features and apps. He offered me so much promise, yet will remain behind my Macbook and iPhone. Fernando Martinez is that old toy.

I don’t really know what to say at this point. Martinez once ruled the baseball world like Queen Elizabeth. He looked good very young, but grew old very quick. But what was really so attractive about Martinez in the first place? His best WAR was a 1.5, which happened in 2008, which caused the Mets to believe that he was ready. He was not. His career minor league slash: .274/.333/.443. Not impressive. While scouts raved about his fielding, we all will remember him for falling flat on his face, going after a ball in Milwaukee. That’s what all of baseball remembers him as. He never developed the power that fans thought and quite frankly, I don’t think he’ll ever be a third of what he was hyped to be.

As the Fernando Martinez era has come to a close in New York, let him serve as a reminder. STOP OVERHYPING PROSPECTS BECAUSE PEOPLE LAUGH AT US! Add Martinez to the list of Alex Escobar, Alex Ochoa, Lastings Milledge. Coming soon will be Wilmer Flores because he’s showing exactly what Martinez showed: heartbreak and nothing worth playing with the next day. Sure I am bitter. I want the Mets prospects to pan out and lead us to the promise land. But why does it always happen to us? Why can’t it happen to the Yankees? Or the Phillies (crosses fingers: Dominic Brown)? Maybe Fernando will find himself in a new city. Houston, we have lift off!


Blog Roundup: Done with Mirrors

The lonely, baseball-less days of winter are nearly over (in a baseball sense, anyway).  Soon the Boys of Summer will take to the fields of Florida and Arizona in preparation for the latest season of the greatest game on Earth.  Until then, enjoy some more offseason hand-wringing, and a couple of awesome videos.

Blogs aweigh:

So, for less (waayyy less) than the price of a cup of coffee, adopt Mets Today as your home for all things Metropolitan.


Offseason Complete for Mets

After being waived by the Mets, 23-year-old Fernando Martinez is now a member of the Houston Astros. And according to Adam Rubin, diminutive Danny Herrera has cleared waivers and will return to the Mets as a minor leaguer with an invitation to spring training.

Also according to Rubin, the Mets have re-signed the ageless Miguel Batista and inked free agent pitcher Fernando Cabrera as well as shortstop Sean Kazmar.

Batista is 40, Cabrera 30, and Kazmar 27. All are expected to fill out Buffalo’s roster next spring, though Batista has an outside shot of making the big club if he performs impeccably and several pitchers go down with injury.

In other news, the signing of 31-year-old Scott Hairston was made official.

Finally, Rubin reports that the Mets are “done” making additions to the organization.

So, now that the offseason personnel adjustments are complete, what do you think? Are you satisfied with changes? What grade do you give the Mets for their offseason? Answer in the comments.