Creating a new 40-man roster for the Mets

Right now everyone is focused on who the new GM is going to be. My main hope is that it’s someone younger than me, so that we don’t have to go through this process again in just a few years. Regardless of who gets the job, one of the first things they’re going to have to do is assemble the new 40-man roster for the winter. And it’s a bit of a challenge this time, as the Mets currently have 49 guys, counting players on the 60-day disabled list. Plus ones that need to be added from the minor league system.

Let’s start with the easy cuts. There are five players who are eligible for free agency who should not be re-signed before the Rule 5 Draft, if at all. They are: Jerry Blevins, Austin Jackson, Devin Mesoraco, AJ Ramos and Jose Reyes. Add to that list the unbelievably easy – and satisfying – cut of Jose Lobaton. This brings us down to 43 players, along with any additions from the farm system.

The remaining cuts will have to come from three distinct groups, listed from largest collection of players to the smallest. They are:

Cheap guys at the end of the roster with limited upside
Non-tender candidates from arbitration-eligible players
David Wright

There are no shortages of candidates from the first group. In alphabetical order we have: Gerson Bautista, P.J. Conlon, Phillip Evans, Drew Gagnon, Tim Peterson, Jack Reinheimer, Jacob Rhame, Paul Sewald and Bobby Wahl,

From the non-tender candidates, we have Travis d’Arnaud, Wilmer Flores and Rafael Montero.

Finally, it would be nice if Wright simply retired and that was it. But there’s a huge pile of money on the table and it’s naïve to think he’s just going to walk away from that. The Mets, Wright and the insurance company will have to come to some agreement where they all give a little. Or if that doesn’t happen, they have to go through the dog-and-pony show of keeping him on the roster over the winter and then moving him to the 60-day DL at the first available opportunity.

Before listing my cuts, let’s take a look at some of the players who should be under consideration to be added to the 40-man this winter. Information on who to consider is taken from our friend Chris Walendin and his indispensable tpgMets site. Players who stood out to me are: Chris Beck, Matt Blackham, Nabil Crismatt, Harol Gonzalez, Patrick Mazeika, Levi Michael, Ali Sanchez, David Thompson, Adonis Uceta, Jhoan Urena and Juan Uriarte.

With the list of players from the minors who need to be added, it’s always a balancing act. How far away from the majors they are is at least as important as how talented they are. Uriarte might be the most talented guy from the directly above group but he’s so far away from the majors – and coming off an injury – that the chances someone would take him are pretty close to zero. So, why bother to protect him?

While there are many on that list that have MLB potential, my list will only protect two. So, add Crismatt and Sanchez and that brings us to 45. Looking at the non-tender candidates, all three of those guys would get a pink slip from me. Now we’re down to 42. And the question remains how many slots do we want to fill ahead of Rule 5? It’s nice to have an empty slot, just in case there is someone in the draft who catches your eye. So, that means three more cuts from the first grouping.

My belief is that you could cut all nine guys from that first group and not lose any sleep. Perhaps the most interesting thing is to see how much allegiance the new GM has to guys acquired by the previous administration. Will Bautista and Rhame get a free pass because the Mets traded MLB talent to get them? Or will the new GM just consider them a sunk cost?

My cut list would be Evans, Peterson and Reinheimer. But all of the other six guys should be looking for a month-to-month lease, rather than a long-term mortgage. Any free agent signing or unbalanced trade would have them right back on the chopping block. And it’s likely they’ll be at least three additions to the club this winter.

That makes my 40-man look like this:

Pitchers (23) – Bashlor, Bautista, Callahan, Conlon, Crismatt, deGrom, Flexen, Gagnon, Gsellman, Hanhold, Kilome, Lugo, Matz, Oswalt, Rhame, Sewald, Smith, Swarzak, Syndergaard, Vargas, Wahl, Wheeler, Zamora

Catchers (3) – Nido, Plawecki, Sanchez

Infielders (8) – Cecchini, Frazier, Guillorme, McNeil, Rivera, Rosario, Smith, Wright

Outfielders (5) – Bruce, Cespedes, Conforto, Lagares, Nimmo

That’s 39 guys, with the idea of leaving one spot open for Rule 5. And to make it abundantly clear, this is my list, not a prediction of what the Mets will actually do. My expectation is that they will tender Flores and Reinheimer seems to have a huge fan in the organization. He was acquired after Sandy Alderson stepped down and was immediately put on the 40-man and did not spend long in the minors – with little actual production – before he got the call to Queens. If, say, Omar Minaya was his champion, and the new GM keeps Minaya on – you’d expect Reinheimer to keep his spot on the 40.

21 comments for “Creating a new 40-man roster for the Mets

  1. Name
    October 24, 2018 at 10:52 am

    I don’t follow the Reinheimer logic. He was simply called up as a warm body for MI because Guillorme was so god damn awful.

    Reinheimer and Gagnon seem like auto-cuts to me. They aren’tt Mets org soldiers so the team doesn’t owe them anything…

    Cecchini belongs on that fringe cut list too – he wasn’t called up in September so that’s telling. I’d add TJ Rivera to that list if he’s due to miss a lot of next year due to his re-injury. Most would disagree, but Plawecki belongs on the non-tender list too. Post all star break he had just a .621 OPS, with an exceptionally bad 463 ops over his final 21 games.

    • October 24, 2018 at 11:57 am

      I almost put Cecchini on the fringe list. But he wasn’t called up in September because he was hurt. I don’t recall seeing any update on his condition.

      • Name
        October 24, 2018 at 4:12 pm

        The lack of information suggests to me that it would be more likely that he could pass thru waivers unclaimed and that the Mets could outright him to Vegas.

        Of the guys you listed in your fringe group, only Wahl and Evans can elect FA if they pass thru waivers and the Mets try to outright. The rest would remain Mets property.

        • October 24, 2018 at 6:02 pm

          It was a foot injury for Cecchini. Here’s a twitter post of his from late August, the last one he made.

          Gavin Cecchini
          ‏Verified account @GavinCecchini2
          Aug 25

          4 months of rehab and hard work to get myself back healthy and back on the field. It’s been a grind physically and mentally. But it’s only made me stronger. Can’t wait to get back out

  2. Chris F
    October 24, 2018 at 10:53 am

    At face value, Im not sure how many readers will appreciate how critical this is. I would rank this topic and launching article as the most important thing to keep our eye on. Thanks for shining light light on the 40-man situation Brian…total winner. In my eyes, there is not a single conversation about the organization that should start or end with how it impacts the 40-man roster.

    Of your first 9, I have a soft spot for Evans, perhaps like I did with Lagares. Justitifed? No. I’d keep Wahl in the mix for now too, but the rest got to go. I would also non-tender TdA, Flores, and Montero. I dont think there would be much interest in any of them, and come April, May, or June any could be signed for pittance if desperation warranted it.

    I cant help but feel this otherwise awesome article is missing a final paragraph, no doubt intentionally, but it still needs discussing: Where are the spots on your projected roster for 3-5 new folks coming into Queens next year?

    Astute readers and fans of Alonso will also note his name absent from this article anywhere. I think that because he is not required to be on the 40-man roster means one thing: dont expect him in Queens next season unless a lot of change happens.

    I hope you revive this article a couple more times this off season Brian. It’s absolutely a critical thing we need to keep our eyes on.

    • October 24, 2018 at 12:02 pm

      Thanks Chris!

      I think you could make a case for keeping Evans because he can at least fake it for a few games in the OF. But I’m working under the assumption that another OFer will be added through free agency or trade.

      I expect Alonso will be in the majors in 2019 but it won’t be the first three weeks of the season and may not be until after the All-Star break.

  3. IDRAFT
    October 24, 2018 at 11:43 am

    The concern seems backwards to me. The main reason we have tanked the last two years is we have so little ready major league talent in out system that every injury was devastating.

    The new GM should be scouring better organizations, that should be the priority. Maybe we can find a reliever that a better organization can’t protect that can get someone out in the Rule 5.

  4. Steve S.
    October 24, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    Gagnon has shown nothing and will be 29 next year. Adios! Ditto for the 26 year old Reinheimer.

    I would keep the 27 year old Flores (if his medical report is OK). I think he’s worth the $5 million or so as a bench guy and PH on a contending team (which I hope the Mets will be with the right moves).

  5. Joe F
    October 24, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Conlon and Crismatt are likely no better than 4A pitchers, but the Mets have seen some pitchers like them taken in Rule 5 who made it to Bigs, but nothing big. I keep Bautista over them for upside, but he only has one more year to figure it out

  6. steve
    October 24, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    I am of the firm belief that David Wright wanted to go out the way he did and will never play the field again, and the Wilpons respect him and have no problems paying out the contract with the insurance money. Not sure if we would know all the answers here but ….
    If the Mets were to cut David, wouldn’t this free up a spot on the 40 man roster? The Mets would still be responsible for paying out the contract, but how would this effect the insurance moneys. David can still go through all the rehab as if he were to play again.

  7. October 24, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Great article Brian. That pitching staff is really top heavy: deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz, Wheeler, Gsellman, and Lugo would make just about any staff (and in the case of deGrom headline it) in the majors. There’s an arugment to be made about adding Zamora to that list. Everyone else on that roster is sketchy.

    There are The Apparent Flops (Oswalt, Rhame, Sewald, Flexen, and Wahl); The Free Agent Mistakes ( Swarzak and Vargas); The Non-Prospects ( Gagnon,Callahan, and Conlon), and The Unfinished Products ( Bashlor, Smith, Bautista, Crismatt, Hanhold, and Kilome).

    For a team that expects to contend in 2019, that means an infusion of talent is necessary, with as many as four spots in the bullpen and one in the rotation needing an upgrade. However, the two most recent regimes have conditioned me to expect they will instead hope for a surge from The Unfinished Products.

  8. Mike Walczak
    October 24, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    I dm smelling Melvin as the GM.

  9. TJ
    October 24, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    Nice summary Brian. Overall, we can debate a spot here or there, but I think the Mets have some nice flexibility even in spite of the David Wright situation. And, not bringing Alonso up to the bigs was the adult move to make, preserving both a 40 man spot for the rule 5 draft and keeping his value high if the decide to deal him for a big asset.

    I also see Flores, TDA, and Montero as non-tenders. They could still be re-signed at more affordable prices, and I’d try to get TDA on a better deal if his injury will keep him out for a large chunk of time. As we saw this year, catching is like pitching in that you ban never have enough.

  10. October 24, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    A non tender to Flores would be a mistake in my opinion. The rest can go, but he is still useful. If he is healthy then he could fill the role that Reyes was in last year with some actual production. A new catcher and some good bullpen additions would be way more productive that cutting him. Stopping signing old recycled names (like Reyes and Bruce) and overall pitching health is a huge issue. Vargas to stabilize a rotation was a terrible issue because the knock on him was always health. One year does not fix a career. Get Ramos and Roberson and lets see what happens.

  11. TexasGusCC
    October 25, 2018 at 12:53 am

    I could disagree with this list on many names, but since we all have opinions, I will just say:

    TJ Rivera will be out for at least half the season, is turning 30 and hasn’t played in two years. He’s a cut.

    Cecchini even for his revamped swing didn’t show anything impressive in 119 PAs before he got hurt and has no power or speed, but banked on his defense. If defense is the key, Guillorme is much better with similar offensive numbers.

    Sanchez is hitting .260 with a .294 OBP and no pop in A+ ball and is lauded for his offensive jump? Sorry.

  12. MattyMets
    October 25, 2018 at 11:46 am

    Great post Brian and a really interesting take on Reinheimer. He did seem to come out of nowhere.

    • Flerp
      October 26, 2018 at 1:45 pm

      Reinheimer is a grinder. You all clearly know nothing of his history. Do you know he was injured for a large portion of this season? That he’s been an All Star 3 out of 4 seasons? That he’s improved season upon season? He’s low-risk, high-reward and can fill any infield position as well as the outfield. His defense is stellar. I doubt he has a “friend” in the organization, but he works harder than most and always busts it down the line — unlike some. Maybe you should quit hatin’ and do some real research. Are you guys ever right? hahaha

      • October 26, 2018 at 2:17 pm

        If we’re never right – why do you read us?

  13. Name
    November 2, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    Reinheimer claimed – surprised someone wanted him.
    Montero and Evans elected FA – not surprised.
    Callahan became a minor league FA, not sure what the exact procedural move to make that happen was.
    Conlon removed from 40 man roster.

    I have no idea why Gagnon survived this first round of cuts, but i’d be shocked if he survived the next round. Also keeping their spots for now are Cecchini and Rivera but i could see the Mets cutting one of them.

    • November 3, 2018 at 9:04 am

      And not just any team but the Cubs.

      From Chris Walendin:

      There are 4 different ways a player can qualify for minor league free agency. The first, and most straightforward is if he is released by the club. When a player is released, he becomes a free agent immediately. The second is if the player was signed to a minor league contract that does not extend beyond the current season. This is common when players are acquired as minor league free agents, particularly in the upper minors. The third, via Rule 55, is if a player has spent 7 whole or partial minor league seasons with the club that originally signed him. The fourth and final, via Article XX, Section D of the CBA, is if a player is outrighted and has 3 or more, but less than 5 years of Major League service and/or has been outrighted previously in his career. The player can elect to immediately become a free agent instead of accepting the outright assignment, or he can defer his free agency to the end of the season (provided he’s not back on the 40-man roster.

      The last two don’t seem to apply and the second one seems unlikely, as he was on the 40-man.

      The move that surprised me was reinstating d’Arnaud. I guess they can still non-tender him but if that’s the plan, why keep him now? Do they think he might have trade value?

      • Name
        November 3, 2018 at 3:39 pm

        So most likely Callahan straight released. Not a big deal but i wasn’t expecting it. Guess they figured his injury problems weren’t worth the trouble.

        The Rule 5 protect date is Nov 20th and the non-tender date is Nov 30th. The Mets still have room on the 40man so it costs them nothing to keep d’Arnaud on for now. Keeping him also maintains the Mets as the only team he can talk to – maybe there’s a possibility that the Mets and d’Arnaud will agree to come back for a lot less than his projected arbitration.

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