Everyone is eager for big offseason moves from the Mets but before those are done the club needs to address the 40-man roster issue. It’s not just the Mets – every club has to do roster juggling at this time of the season. It starts at the conclusion of the World Series and goes on all winter, although it reaches its height before the start of the Rule 5 Draft.
Each club maintains a 40-man roster all year long. However, during the season those players who are seriously injured are placed on the 60-day DL and do not count against the 40-man. But once the World Series is over, those guys need to be added back to the roster within five days. The Mets currently have eight players on the 60-day DL.
Seven of the eight are pitchers – Josh Edgin, Matt Harvey, Jeremy Hefner, Jenrry Mejia, Bobby Parnell, Scott Rice and Johan Santana. The first six are likely to be added back to the roster while Santana likely will not, as he will be a free agent once the Mets buy out the remainder of his contract. The lone position player is Ike Davis. While there has been acknowledgement that the Mets could non-tender Davis, that seems a long shot to me. So, it’s likely the Mets need to create seven spots for injured guys.
The following players are free agents at the end of the year:
David Aardsma, Tim Byrdak, Pedro Feliciano, Frank Francisco, Aaron Harang, LaTroy Hawkins, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Santana. It works out rather nicely that the number of free agents leaving equals the number of players returning from the 60-day DL.
Because of the organization’s fetish with lefty relievers, all eight of these players are under at least some consideration for a return to the Mets. A normal organization would tell Byrdak and Feliciano thanks for their past service but there’s no interest in ever seeing you in our uniform again. I would have put Francisco in this same category – minus the thank you part – but after the Mets allowed him to pitch in the majors this year, one cannot rule out a 2014 return, as crazy as that sounds. However, hopefully none of these players is signed early enough to require a roster spot prior to the Rule 5 Draft.
The Mets also have 11 players who are arbitration-eligible. They are:
Scott Atchison, Mike Baxter, Davis, Lucas Duda, Dillon Gee, Daniel Murphy, Bobby Parnell, Omar Quintanilla, Ruben Tejada, Justin Turner and Eric Young. The no-brainers are Gee, Murphy and Parnell. All 11 of these could be back but it’s likely that Atchison and Quintanilla are the ones most likely to be non-tendered.
The biggest issue are minor leaguers who needed to be added to the 40-man or exposed to other teams in the Rule 5 Draft. Chris Walendin has done the heavy lifting at his site and has 68 players in the organization not currently on the 40-man who will be eligible for Rule 5. You should check his site out to see all of the players but the ones that seem most in jeopardy of being selected to me are:
Again, you should check out the list yourself. It’s very possible that one of the relievers that seems fungible to me may in fact throw 100 mph and be interesting to other clubs.
Finally, there’s always players on the 40-man who are valuable during the season but once the year is over their spots are more valuable than the production they give you. Greg Burke and Sean Henn are two prime examples of this type of player, although there are several others who also fit this bill. Who would you rather have – Burke or Matz?
So, if I was making out the 40-man, here’s who would be on it:
Pitchers (18) – Vic Black, deGrom, Edgin, Jeurys Familia, Gee, Gonzalez Germen, Gorski, Harvey, Hefner, Matz, Mejia, Jonathon Niese, Parnell, Rice, Hansel Robles, Carlos Torres, Walters and Zack Wheeler.
That’s 39 players, allowing one Rule 5 addition if someone intriguing is left exposed. There’s also some people here who could easily be left off – Nieuwenhuis being the prime example.
Of course, Sandy Alderson will have other ideas and with more knowledge of the players those will likely be better ideas. As long as he protects Gorski, that is.