It was no surprise that the Mets were going to face some decisions in regards to their roster in the very near future. A spot needed to be cleared for Zack Wheeler and also the returns of Scott Atchison and Pedro Feliciano seemed to be fast approaching. And to make matters worse, Carlos Torres, who had been pitching well in Triple-A, opted out of his contract. That forced the Mets to make a move in order to retain Torres, a 30 year old with a lifetime 5.37 ERA in the majors.
The Mets responded by designating for assignment Collin McHugh, which was fine, in order to open a spot on the 40-man roster for Torres. Then they sent down Greg Burke, which was moronic, to clear a spot on the major league roster for Torres.
Greg Burke has a 3.15 ERA this year, comfortably below the NL average for relievers of a 3.65 mark. And Burke has had terrific results since being recalled from the minors. In his last 14 games, Burke has a 0.71 ERA and a 1.263 WHIP. And the Mets and their infinite wisdom decide he’s the pitcher who is the most fungible.
People often wonder how future free agents will react if the Mets replace them while they are struggling. Well, Burke signed with the Mets as a free agent. So, how will future free agents act when they see the Mets demote a guy who was pitching as well as you could possibly hope?
Meanwhile, it’s not like there was not another over-qualified candidate for a demotion. Scott Rice has allowed runs in four of his last six appearances. In that span he has 5 BB and 0 Ks in 2.2 IP and opponents have a 1.480 OPS against him. But he’s a lefty and lefty relievers on the Mets are the equivalent of cows in India.
The Mets refuse to demote a lefty reliever unless they are recalling a lefty to take his place. We sat through an extended torture session with Robert Carson, until Josh Edgin was deemed fit for a recall. And now it seems evident that Rice will remain on the roster until Feliciano is ready. This is just another example in a long line of bonehead decisions made by the current brain trust in regards to the 2013 season.
LAGARES HEATS UP – Called up to the majors and thrust into the short side of a platoon role, Juan Lagares got off to a horrible start. His .430 OPS after 51 PA was worse than the .467 OPS that got Collin Cowgill demoted after 52 PA earlier in the season. But in his last six games, Lagares has eight hits. He has a .308/.308/.423 line during this mini hot streak. Of course it should be pointed out that he needed a .381 BABIP to post a .731 OPS. For the season, Lagares has a .534 OPS in 78 PA.
WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR RBI MAN? – Over the past two seasons, Justin Turner developed a knack for coming up with hits when there were ducks on the pond. But that particular piece of magic seems to have disappeared here lately. Of course, it’s not like it’s just RBI hits that have been hard to come by for Turner in the last month. In his last 22 games, he has just seven hits and a .453 OPS.
HARVEY IS STILL ELECTRIC – The one bright spot on the club is the pitching of Matt Harvey. While he is winless in his last five starts, most pitchers would love to have such a “rough” patch. In that span, Harvey has 3 Quality Starts and a 2.97 ERA. In 33.1 IP, he has allowed just 1 HR and 6 BB to go along with 34 Ks.
DO THE METS KNOW YET? – Terry Collins is on record as saying that the Mets want to know if Jordany Valdespin is a starting-caliber player. There’s been nothing in his numbers to indicate that he is, yet the Mets continue to play Lucas Duda out of position so they can reach a conclusion about Valdespin that should have been evident last year. In six starts since Ike Davis was sent down, Valdespin has a 182/.182/.182 line. While that symmetry is fun to look at online, it’s disgusting to watch in real life.
METS OFFENSE CONTINUES TO STRUGGLE – Since scoring seven runs in back-to-back games to open the month of May, the Mets have proceeded to score 111 runs in their last 36 games, an average of just 3.1 runs per game. The Mets have five spots in the lineup which are performing dreadfully and it’s hard to win games when over half the lineup is performing at sub-replacement level.
The team needs creativity from the manager to try to coax runs out of this particular group of players. Instead, we get the same names in the lineup over and over, with fingers crossed for different results. And when a positive does happen, like Davis being sent down and two guys who might help in Cowgill and Josh Satin being recalled, the manager decides to see what a utility player can do starting every day.
Cowgill and Satin have combined for just three plate appearances in the past six games. Even Kirk Nieuwenhuis has 14 PA – and a .220 OPS – since his recall a day earlier and we know he can’t hit major league pitching. Cowgill has a double in his only time at bat but why find playing time for a guy who has proven he can hit in the minors? What good could that possibly do? Instead, let’s see more of Turner and Valdespin and hope that Lagares can sustain a .381 BABIP. And then wonder why the team can’t supply any offense for Harvey and the rest of the pitchers.