The Mets are due to make their final cuts, to determine the group that goes north for the April games. Before I list the 25 players, I will preface it by talking about three omissions:
* Noah Syndergaard: I accept that he is a Super Two guy. But unlike the cases for Harvey and Wheeler and Montero, I actually think that Noah will benefit from the time at Triple-A, where he has yet to throw a single pitch. In addition, because of the innings limit, it will be easier to manage his outings in Vegas, where the games don’t count.
* Rafael Montero: Due to the absurd CBA rules, the Mets stand to control Montero’s service time for an extra year if they delay his arrival by 3-4 weeks. I believe he is ready now, and I expect him to be up by May 1 or at the first opportunity — preferably as a starter.
* Lucas Duda: For four years now, Duda and Davis have been redundant, two LH-hitting first baseman. It has never made sense. Ike goes north, and there’s no value sitting Lucas on the bench. It’s sad and mismanaged, but those bench guys make a difference in wins and losses. In this case, I am bowing to the inevitable; it was always going to be Ike’s job unless Lucas knocked down the door in Florida. The hamstring injury made that impossible. All said, I prefer Duda over Davis, but it’s close. For the Mets, there are $3.5 million reasons why Ike gets the nod.
METS OPENING DAY ROSTER
- Bartolo Colon, rhp
- Dillon Gee, rap
- Zack Wheeler, rhp
- Jenrry Mejia, rhp
- Jonathon Niese, lhp (begins season on DL)
- Juan Lagares, cf
- Curtis Granderson, rf
- Chris Young, lf
- Ike Davis, 1b
- Daniel Murphy, 2b
- Ruben Tejada, ss
- David Wright, 3b
- Travis d’Arnaud, c
- Eric Young, of/2b
- Wilmer Flores, inf
- Josh Satin, 1b
- Anthony Recker, c
- Andrew Brown, of
- Bobby Parnell, closer
- Jose Valverde, rhp
- Vic Black, rhp
- Jeurys Familia, rhp
- Carlos Torres, rhp
- John Lannan, lhp
- Scott Rice, lhp
What do you think, Mike? A minor detail is who gets to go north for a few days before Niese is activated, a pitcher or a reserve? Would you have picked Duda over Davis?
I would have picked Duda, non-tendered Davis, and if nothing else spent that money on one more bullpen arm. But that time has passed. At $3.5 million you have to give Ike the first shot. He also has more upside. Duda still makes my roster, though, over Brown. Other than an emergency I don’t see a need for a fifth outfielder, and if it’s the 14th inning, Duda has been out there before. Lucas could be an interesting pinch hitter, capable of blasting a late game home run. As I would keep Flores and Satin, as you did, as right-handed hitters on my bench, I see no role for Brown. And it’s not like Duda has to go to Vegas for playing time, at this stage of his career that is a total waste. Duda makes my team, and if Ike goes zero for his first twelve Lucas gets a start too.
Otherwise I’m in agreement with your picks, although I have to admit I’m less aggravated by the prospect of Matsuzaka making the team than many fans. Matsuzaka is a gamble that could have a payoff. A few years ago the Yankees had Colon when he was supposedly done at a bargain rate. Last year the Indians hit with Kazmir. Now both are $10 million a year pitchers. Three or four starts to see if Dice-K can be that type of comeback pitcher isn’t crazy. Also he has a pending opt-out in his contract, and Niese could be done at any time. For all of those reasons I will not scream if he is kept on Opening Day over Meija.
I think that’s a reasonable take on Dice-K, though I believe his opt-out is May 1st. (If he is sent down to Vegas, they have to pay him an additional $100,000 as a retainer’s fee.) Personally, I go with the best man. To my eyes, that’s Mejia. We’ve talked about these issues before, that young players build value by succeeding in the MLB, not the minors. Keeping the kid down in Vegas doesn’t maximize his potential as a player or as a trading chip. But, again, I understand that it’s not an easy decision. The more cautious move would be to name Dice-K as our #5 and I can’t hyperventilate over it. We should note that April games do count in the standings.
I understand your thinking about Duda, but how long can the Mets play this out? A week, a month, another season? It puts both players in a bad position, which is why Sandy wanted to trade Ike in the first place. Oh well.
Here’s an idea: While Niese is on the DL for the first week of the season, the Mets bring up — drum roll, please — Anthony Seratelli for the first cup of coffee in his 31-year-old life. Let him know that he’ll be sent down when Niese is activated, but give him that moment. It’s not all sentiment. He can run, he can fill-in defensively, he is a useful part. Give the kid his moment, then send him back to Vegas.
The pen looks underwhelming to me, but I don’t get too fixed on April bullpens. The important thing is to not get locked into anyone, to be responsive, open to discarding and picking up. It might be that Montero fills that gap.
One reason that Seratelli might not get his day in the sun would be that he is not on the 40- man roster, and somebody would have to come off to make room for him. If Dice-K and Valverde make it the same issue applies. Of course, when players such as Ryan Reid, Juan Centeno, Zach Lutz, and Kirk Nieuwhenhuis are on our 40-man it’s not really an issue, but in the past this front office has seemed to agonize over cutting equally inept guys. One thing to keep in mind is our organizational bad penny, Omar Quintanilla, also is not currently on the 40-man. That means keeping Quintanilla over Seratelli does not assist with any roster maneuvering.
Just wanted to add that I like Taylor Teagarden, he showed he can play, but I gave the edge to Recker for his superior power. An experienced backstop like Teagarden should be helpful down in Vegas. Glad to have him.
Another note, mentioned by Adam Rubin yesterday, is that the Super 2 crap hangs over the Meija versus Dice-K decision. So for all of those Jenrry fans I would brace myself for the worst. Because he is going to Vegas. Nothing comes before manipulating service time for this organization.
Certainly not winning.