Assuming free will, would any other manager utilize Josh Edgin this way?

Let’s say you’re a veteran baseball man, well-respected in the industry. You’ve taken three years off from the game and have only followed it sporadically. You tune in every now and then to the ESPN or Fox Games of the Week but you catch most of the playoffs and World Series in your time away from the game.

Out of the blue, a team calls you one day, looking for you to take over on an interim basis, with the possibility of becoming a permanent manager. This is a friend of yours, so you don’t hesitate to help him out in a rough spot. Besides, you miss the game and you’re eager to come back and have one last hurrah and put a feather in your cap.

The team is essentially a .500 club but there’s no dominating team in the division and if all the breaks go your way you might possibly sneak into the playoffs. While that’s a real longshot, a strong finish could get you an extension and next year three pitchers with upside will come back from injury and recently two under-30 hitters on the team have started to come to life, giving hints of a lineup that could be productive from nearly top to bottom.

With this fresh set of eyes – what changes would you make to the 2014 Mets?

My guess is that you would pick some sort of starter/platoon for left field and get a backup shortstop on the roster. Another thing you would do would be to bring some sanity to the bullpen. You would probably sit down with each of the relievers and while your first order of business would be to tell Carlos Torres that you don’t receive a bonus if he comes down with an arm injury, here’s hoping your second discussion is with Josh Edgin.

Josh  EdginYou have no idea who Edgin is but the scouting report shows you a guy who throws 93 mph and features both a slider and a curve. The stats look great. He’s got a 1.69 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP. But one thing has you confused – he’s appeared in 26 games and only thrown 16 innings. You take a look at his splits and see that this year he has a .458 OPS versus RHB and a .475 OPS versus LHB. For his career, those numbers are .664 and .627, respectively.

In an effort to get more information, you get video of every appearance and start with Saturday night’s performance. The previous manager brought him into a mop-up situation, down five runs in the eighth inning on a night where the offense has done next to nothing. The first three batters up are two switch-hitters surrounding a LHB.

The first guy up reaches on a double and the lefty smacks a ball that looks like a potential inside-the-park homer. But your Gold Glove Award candidate in center makes a tremendous catch and the only thing that happens is the runner advances to third. Your catcher gives up a passed ball to allow the run to score, but Edgin retires the next batter with a strikeout. The opposing team sends up another switch-hitter and much to your surprise, the old manager calls for a pitching change down six runs and with no one on base.

Is your first reaction WTF or No wonder they’re looking for a new manager?

You continue to watch the video and you see in his previous outing he was brought on with a 7-1 lead and got the final out in the seventh inning and was lifted after retiring one batter in the eighth and again you wonder what made that move necessary, considering the odds of giving up a six-run homer with no one on base were not all that great.

Before you talk to Edgin, you decide to look at your new contract to double check to see if there is a performance bonus based on the number of pitching changes you execute. There isn’t one but you still decide to investigate the bullpen usage. You see the previous manager made 302 pitching changes in 97 games.

Further investigation shows that ranks 13th in the 15-team NL, ahead of just the Cubs and Rockies, the two teams with the worst records in the league. While you’ve been away for a few years you obviously remember that pitching in Coors Field is a little different so you dismiss that one but still are left wondering why the team is employing a tactic that puts them in company with the Cubs.

Then you chuckle to yourself, remembering the old Pete Rose line – What did God say to the Cubs? Don’t win the World Series until I come back.

You call Edgin into your office and have a one-on-one with him, trying to find out what makes him tick. You come away from the meeting with a smile on your face, because you have a guy who’s frustrated over his use and you know that you can easily address that and make the player happy and the team better.

Edgin casually mentions that Jon Niese feels similarly frustrated and suggests that you watch video of his last two removals from a game. You follow his advice and afterwards you think how lucky you are and wonder how good your new team could be if it would only stop shooting itself in the leg all the time with its roster construction and usage decisions.

12 comments for “Assuming free will, would any other manager utilize Josh Edgin this way?

  1. Frank
    July 20, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Great read! I’m a huge fan of Edgin. I’m not sure where he fits with the emergence of Mejia as closer (which I thought they should’ve groomed him for from the beginning) and Bobby Parnell, but it would be nice to keep him in the loop for a dominant bullpen for years to come.

  2. July 20, 2014 at 9:49 am

    So how can Alderson give Terry Collins an extension when TC never makes a mistake? He simply blames it on youthful inexperience or players being over matched. I can’t remember the last time he made a mea culpa. Guess what Brian? TC will be back next season and so will SA for season 5 of the Grand Plan To Rebuild The Mets. I don’t watch post game interviews but don’t the beat writers ask TC the same questions?

  3. July 20, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Brian, “Assuming free will” is an important aspect of this.

    I’m also a fan of Edgin. I think he can be something special going forward.

    If this is Terry C being Terry C, he’s got to go.

    • July 20, 2014 at 11:51 am

      Personally, I believe the main reason we have a LOOGY culture is Collins. I believe Alderson approves but if a new manager were to come in — my guess is things would improve to a great extent.

      However, that’s just an opinion and a lot of people who are big fans feel the exact opposite way, which is why I threw that into the headline.

  4. Metsense
    July 20, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Your article once again gives strong evidence that Edgin is not a LOOGY.
    As a general rule of thumb: Mejia closes, Familia in the 8th, and Black or Edgin in the 7th depending on the matchups for that inning. They pitch any time that the Mets are tied or in a save situation. Torres, Matsuzakis and Eveland pitch multiple innings any time the Mets are behind.Don’t use a LOOGY, assign roles and no burnt out bullpen.
    Last night, with the bases loaded, was a perfect time to PH Campbell for Tejada and then give him a few innings at SS. If TC played Turner there then why doesn’t he play Campbell there? I am not suggesting either are backup shortstops, that role should belong to the current starter.(and this article isn’t about the GM)
    Just looking at the LF situation, it begs for a Kirk/Campbell platoon . Many want CY cut but really, shouldn’t it be Abreu? He failed as a PH, which is his primary role. Quintanilla could put up the same PH numbers as Abreu while allowing you to PH (and I don’t mean Omar) for Tejada when necessary.

  5. Name
    July 20, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Really you could add Familia and Black into this discussion.

    Since starting the year in TC’s doghouse, Familia has pitched in 38 games over the last 70 games. That’s a pace of 87 games over a full season , and doesn’t include all the times that he gets him up the bullpen and doesn’t use him.

    Vic Black since his callup has also pitched 24 in 46 games. That’s a pace of 83 games over a full season. He’s also turning him into a ROOGY, with 1/3 of his appearances of 9 pitches or less.

    I swear this guy must have an incentive in his contract that pays him for every pitching change, because the overmanaging when the team is up by 5-6 runs is just plain ridiculous.

  6. Sean Flattery
    July 20, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    I think TC just wanted to get Black some work due to All-Star Break and long layoff. In a 6-0 game, at any other point in season, Edgin probably would’ve pitched to final batter..I think

  7. July 20, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Brian, overall I am no fan of LOOGYs. But this post is confusing to me, as it implies that Edgin has not been effective in that role, when the opposite is true. His first eleven appearances to one batter, Edgin retired the batter. As of the time of this post I believe the success rate was eleven out of twelve. Also, you left out the context that Edgin was being developed at the major league level, ten of the twelve one batter outings came in Josh’s first fifteen appearances. With success comes confidence, important for a young player, and with success a greater role becomes warranted.

    If it’s September and he is still pitching like this and only getting one batter to face per appearance I will be displeased, but I’ve got no beef with the team regarding Edgin at this time.

    • July 20, 2014 at 10:25 pm

      I apologize for the confusion.

      You should never place people in sub-optimal roles. Randy Johnson could have been the greatest LOOGY of all time but why would you do that? Edgin is no Johnson but he’s also better than a guy like Rice, who should never be allowed to face a RHB in a key situation.

      There was zero – and I mean zero – reason to take Edgin out of the game Saturday night. And there was no reason to take him out of the game before, too.

      It’s the insistence on making a lefty pitcher a LOOGY that is so maddening. Edgin has not displayed any need to be typecast into such a narrow role. So, why do it?

  8. Eraff
    July 20, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Yes!!!!!!…the Pitching change up 7-1 Really Iced the win!!!!! As for your other points: yes, yes, yes, yes, etc, etc.

  9. Patrick Albanesius
    July 20, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    I think TC makes these moves because he wants to seem hands on and get guys into every game. You know what gets guys in the bullpen jazzed? It’s not one batter appearances, it’s winning.

  10. Frank
    July 21, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Judging by last night’s results, my superstitious nature tells me this article jinxed our guy Edgin. Then again, I could be wrong.

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