Mets prioritize The Bashlor Bunch over Sam Haggerty

A club’s 40-man roster shows you what the organization has. It also shows you what they value. Obviously, it includes all of the players on the 25-man roster and it also shows 15 additional guys who the organization wants to keep under its control. Now, players can be in the organization for a certain number of years before they need to be added to the 40-man. Rule 11 outlines the circumstances for when a minor leaguer must be added to the 40-man or risk being lost to another club. Because of that rule, a team’s 40-man does not include the 40-best players in the org.

But even taking Rule 11 into account, the makeup of the 40-man also indicates organizational preference. Let’s take a look at the current 40-man roster for the Mets. By position/grouping, it breaks down as follows:
Pitchers – 24
Catchers – 3
Infielders – 8
Outfielders – 5

The 24 pitchers stands in stark contrast to the other three groupings. We would expect there to be more pitchers than elsewhere. But 24 seems a tad high. Picking a team at random, let’s check the Pirates. They have 22 pitchers on their 40-man. Checking another random team – the Mariners – also shows 22 pitchers. The Twins have 23.

If everyone is healthy, 13 of the 24 pitchers on the 40-man will be on the Opening Day roster. Let’s look at the final 11 pitchers and determine what they bring to the table and why they’re on the 40-man now.

Top prospects – Jordan Humphreys, Franklyn Kilome, Thomas Szapucki
SP depth – Stephen Gonsalves, Walker Lockett, Corey Oswalt
RP depth – Tyler Bashlor, Jacob Rhame, Paul Sewald, Drew Smith, Daniel Zamora

Ideally, you’d have a few more top prospects on your 40-man. But what probably irks most people is the collection of guys listed under RP depth. All five of those guys have seen time in the majors already and three or four of them have left us wanting more. A whole lot more.

Is it really the best use of resources to have five players on the 40-man who fit under the header of RP depth?

With the way the game is played as we enter 2020, you can certainly see why the Mets are operating this way. Last year, the club used 30 different pitchers and 21 of them were exclusively relievers. Additionally, three more combined to make eight starts and 25 relief appearances. That’s a lot of relievers.

But how much of that churn is due to the fact that the relievers the Mets tried, how shall we put this gently, were terrible? Would they have used 21 different relievers if two or three of them had come up and performed somewhat adequately? And how many times is it okay to go to the well fishing for the same guys and to expect different results?

The most successful guy listed under RP depth is Smith. In 2018, Smith gave the club 28 IP with a 3.54 ERA and a 1.429 WHIP. Unfortunately, Smith missed all of 2019 after he underwent TJ surgery in March. It’s unsure when he’ll be able to pitch again in the majors. And our remaining four guys are nowhere near this good. Here are their MLB stats:

Bashlor – 48 Games, 54 IP, 5.33 ERA, 1.407 WHIP
Rhame – 44 Games, 47.2 IP, 6.23 ERA, 1.615 WHIP
Sewald – 120 Games, 141.1 IP, 5.16 ERA, 1.309 WHIP
Zamora – 33 Games, 17.2 IP, 4.08 ERA, 1.358 WHIP

An optimist might say that at least the 40-man doesn’t have Flexen, Gagnon, Hanhold, Hart, Mazza, Nogosek and Pounders. Someone else might ask why the four listed above and not Sam Haggerty?

The Mets acquired Haggerty as part of the Kevin Plawecki deal. He’s a switch-hitter who’s primarily a second baseman but played the outfield last year, too, including center field. And he can run. If you look at the Mets infielders on the 40-man, there’s not a ton of speed to be found. And if you look at the outfielders, there aren’t a ton of guys to play center there.

But the Mets valued the relievers who put guys on base rather than the utility man. Is it the right move? It’s impossible to say now. The transactions list at ESPN says that the Mets released Haggerty on January 9. The Mariners picked up Haggerty on January 10. If the Mets had released any of the four relievers listed above, do you think they would have been picked up the very next day?

It’s good to have a guy or two on your 40-man that you can cut without a moment’s hesitation should someone better come along. The Bashlor Bunch certainly fit that bill. Haggerty would have fit that bill, too. The issue isn’t that they lost Haggerty. It’s that they prioritized a group of pitchers with little to no success as more valuable.

And it’s not like there’s not plenty more in the system who could give you what The Bashlor Bunch would. Lockett and Oswalt have relief experience in the majors. And in the minors but not currently on the 40-man are guys like Ryley Gilliam, Adonis Uceta and Steve Villines. Who’s in the high minors who can play the infield and outfield and steal a base?

Good luck, Haggerty, may you make your way back to the majors with Seattle. And may the times we have to see one of The Bashlor Bunch in the majors this year be few and far between. May the relievers who make the Opening Day roster be healthy and above average all season long.

6 comments for “Mets prioritize The Bashlor Bunch over Sam Haggerty

  1. January 11, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    Keep in mind that Haggerty’s signing in New York happened in August and affected the team’s ability to control him off the major league roster. I agree that Rhame or another washed out reliever should have been cut instead, but I’m not losing sleep about cutting a hitter who can’t hit.

    Honestly, there are castoffs from other teams who at least crushed Double- and Triple-A deserving off a lottery ticket in NY. Maybe the Bashlor Bunch will be dismissed for them.

    • January 11, 2020 at 1:09 pm

      Sounds like you’re confusing Haggerty with Joe Panik. The Mets acquired Haggerty in January from the Indians and he played most of the year with Double-A Binghamton before a late promotion to Triple-A Syracuse and ultimately to the majors and the Mets.

      A switch-hitter stronger from the right side, Haggerty had an .853 OPS as a RHB last year.

  2. Chris F
    January 11, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    The Mets prefer imbalance over a plan that makes sense.

  3. Eraff
    January 11, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    They kept Pitchers who will likely provide at least a little depth for This Season….they expect to be in contention.

    Haggerty is a very long shot to add to the Mets…he has a scant Chance of getting to the Major Leagues. If they were building, they may have taken a chance on his development, versus limited upsides of these pitchers. Any upward surprise is more likely from that group than Haggerty…and it may become very useful.

  4. TJ
    January 11, 2020 at 8:08 pm

    With no disrespect to these guys, who are professional athletes, I would argue that the Mets have 22 pitchers on the 40 man, along with 16 position players and two “throwers”. I guess they still have hope that the throwers will become pitchers. Gun to my head I’d probably gamble on the throwers over Haggerty at this point. I do hope that they are still prepared to upgrade the 40 man before opening day.

  5. Name
    January 11, 2020 at 8:31 pm

    I would say that since it’s the winter you shouldn’t read too much into it because they could all get cut before spring starts.

    They aren’t playing games right now so if i were GM i would just cut all the fringe pieces right now as it doesn’t matter if the 40 man isn’t full.

    Rhame by the way is out of options

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