How can Mets justify Robert Carson on Opening Day roster?

If you’ve read this site before chances are you know my position on LOOGYs. To me they are one of the worst things about baseball in the 21st Century. Because they pitch so little, they create a drag on the rest of the bullpen. And to make matters worse, managers operate to maximize the success of their LOOGY, putting everyone else at a disadvantage in order to do so. Why on earth should you manage your pen to make the guy who pitches the least the most successful? It’s just insane.

Adding to the craziness is the Mets’ insistence on carrying *two* LOOGYs. Terry Collins has never been shy about this preference and the Mets seemingly brought in every lefty reliever available on an NRI in order to make this happen. If you do the math, you can see how having two pitchers in your bullpen who combine for fewer than 80 IP means an intolerable work level for the remaining relievers.

Let’s put aside the insanity of this idea and instead focus on at least carrying the right relievers for the role. After all, there’s no sense to compound the problem even more by carrying a guy who will stink in the role, too. Which brings us to Robert Carson.

With the news that Pedro Feliciano will begin the year in the minors in order to build up arm strength to be able to pitch in back-to-back games, it appears that Carson will join Josh Edgin as lefties in the pen on the Opening Day roster. But what has he done to deserve being in the majors? Let’s take a look at his body of work.

2013 Spring Training – 12.2 IP, 5 HR, 4.97 ERA
2012 majors – 13.1 IP, 2 HR, 4.97 ERA. Against LHB a .286/.375/.500 line
2012 minors – 51.1 IP, 3.86 ERA, 1.597 WHIP
2011 minors – 128.1 IP, 5.05 ERA, 1.629 WHIP
2010 minors – 135 IP, 5.67 ERA, 1.644 WHIP

Forgive me but it’s hard for me to see how any of this shouts out –- Make room for me in the majors! To be fair to Carson, he was pretty good in rookie ball in 2008. What that says about his chances for success in the majors in 2013, it’s difficult to see.

Those who believe in Carson see a 6’4 lefty with a big fastball and think he only needs time to put it all together and be effective. In the majors last year, he averaged 94.7 mph with his fastball. But his overall lack of success makes me think the best place for him right now is in the minors.

It should be pointed out that Carson did at least have a little success in the minors in 2012. He was terrible in Double-A Binghamton (4.79 ERA, 1.682 WHIP in 35.2 IP) but was effective in 15.2 IP in Triple-A. Why the 15.2 IP in Triple-A would trump the 13.1 IP in the majors last year and/or the 12.2 IP in Spring Training this year is beyond me. But it’s there and at the very least it’s worth something.

Still, it seems to me the Mets should send him back to Triple-A to see if he can shake off the disaster of his MLB and ST experiences. Essentially, make him earn his spot in the majors rather than giving it to him gift wrapped with a shiny bow on top like it appears the Mets are primed to do.

If Terry Collins’ extension somehow guarantees him two LOOGYs on the Opening Day roster, consider Scott Rice, instead. At least he’s pitched half decent this Spring, with a 3.18 ERA, a 1.147 WHIP and not a single HR allowed in 11.1 IP. Of course, Rice (like Feliciano) is an NRI and carrying him instead of Carson would require making another move to the 40-man roster.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Mets just took the best relievers, regardless of what hand they used to pitch? The pen could be: Parnell, Lyon, Hawkins, Atchinson, Familia, Edgin and Burke, with Edgin just used as a plain reliever instead of a LOOGY. Both Burke and Familia – the two guys most likely to be sent down to give an undeserved spot to Carson – are on the 40-man, too.

Instead, the Mets have it set up so they can carry two LOOGYs all year. Carson gets the first shot. If and when he implodes, Feliciano is ready to step up and take his place. And if somehow Feliciano cannot hack it, by then old pal Tim Byrdak should be ready. They can cut Carson to make room on the 40-man for Feliciano and if Byrdak needs to come up than Feliciano gets dropped from the 40-man.

It’s both depressing and predictable.

14 comments for “How can Mets justify Robert Carson on Opening Day roster?

  1. Name
    March 29, 2013 at 11:41 am

    I’m plenty intrigued by Carson similar to how you are intrigued by Hefner(who i’ve started to come around on. Guy was getting lots of whiffs on his stuff in Spring Training).
    But i don’t have the backing of advance metrics on Carson like you do on Hefner, because he’s a reliver and he has a small sample size.

    I think the team benefits as a whole from Carson because it will (hopefully) allow Collins to use Edgin as a non-LOOGY. I feel that if Edgin were the only lefty, then Collins would certainly pidgeon hole him into the LOOGY role, which i feel would be a disservice to the ballclub.
    So basically Carson makes the squad only because of Terry’s unhealthy fetish with LOOGY’s. If it were any other team with any other manager, Carson probably doesn’t make the squad and they go with their best relievers instead.

    • March 29, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      So, the rationale for carrying Carson is – sure, he stinks but he can be used in the crappy role and free up Edgin to be used better.

      Eliminate the crappy role and use your pitchers in the best possible manner.

      • Chris F
        March 29, 2013 at 1:22 pm

        Im right down the line in full agreement Brian.

        Ive lost trust in the coaching staff and dont understand why Sandy is approving of these moves. A contender may be able to carry a loogy, but the Mets? Ive been convinced that TC has mismanaged the bull pen and certain Warthen has mismanaged the whole pitching staff. Their presence is hurting this team now.

        • Chris F
          March 29, 2013 at 1:39 pm

          As a quick note, there have been 10 reported anterior capsule tears (obviously more through time that went undiagnosed) in the MLB. Including Johan’s in 2010, the Mets have had 4, or 40% of all occurrences. Either theres something wrong in the water in NY, or we need to accept that we hire dangerously prone pitchers, or have a coach(s) that is mismanaging the staff.

        • Name
          March 29, 2013 at 7:22 pm

          I don’t think Carson stinks …. yet. I would like to see more of him before i make a decision on that. The easiest way to rationale bringing up a young kid is basically “We don’t know what he will bring but he has potential so we want to give him a chance”

          Chris, could you elaborate more on how you think Warten is a bad pitching coach? I certainly haven’t seen anything that i haven’t liked. I know Santana/Pelfrey got injured, but i can’t find any way to attribute that to him.

  2. TJ
    March 29, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    I don’t have a lot of confidence in either Edgin or Carson. That is not to say that they don’t have good potential, but I thinnk each can use a little more seasoning. I also don’t like the idea of Familia being in the Met pen unless they use him regularly. With Santana out of the picture, and Marcum very iffy, and no closer back up to Parnell, Alderson really needs to get off his backside and upgrade at least one pitching spot on th eMLB roster, be it closer or #5 starter.

  3. March 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Mets optioned Carson to AAA and instead put Rice on the roster. Wow. Gotta say, though I wasn’t enamored with Carson, I’m pretty surprised.

    • March 29, 2013 at 5:05 pm

      Also, they are sending Quintanilla to AAA too. Uh…..what?

  4. March 29, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    It’s hard to earn your manager’s trust when you give up 5 HR in 12.2 IP like Carson did. If they absolutely had to go with a second lefty, Rice was clearly the better choice.

    I’m surprised about Quintanilla but he got the short end of the stick because he was an NRI. I’m surprised they chose to remove Gorski rather than Germen off the 40-man. I hope they don’t lose him in the process.

    • March 29, 2013 at 5:27 pm

      Also, I agree with your sentiment regarding LOOGYs. I’m glad there are two on the roster, though. If there weren’t, I shudder to think of what Terry Collins would do to poor Josh Edgin….

    • March 29, 2013 at 5:30 pm

      Ugh…this was supposed to come before the “Also,…” in my post:

      Quintanilla may have gotten the short end due to the roster crunch, but I’m not sure I’m comfortable with no actual SS backups on the roster at all.

  5. March 29, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Carson on the Opening Day roster makes zero sense. Maybe he’ll get lit up early and the Mets will realize their mistake, which will force them to make a move.

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