Last year’s Mets roster had a bunch of questionable additions on Opening Day that it took until mid-May or later to correct. This year’s roster had fewer head-scratching selections and the new management team has been quicker to address problems.
Blaine Boyer, clearly the biggest Opening Day mistake, lasted all of 10 days. Lucas Duda was sent to the minors at the same time, a necessary move to give him much-needed ABs. Nine days after that, Brad Emaus and his .424 OPS was designated for assignment. D.J. Carrasco and his 5.91 ERA are now in the minors. Slow starters Bobby Parnell and Angel Pagan are both on the DL rather than be encouraged to play through their injuries.
As a fan, I enjoy the decisiveness of these moves. Some may think this is not giving enough time to the players to produce but I prefer the message of accountability. Right now two players should be very nervous because of their poor starts: Tim Byrdak and Chin-lung Hu.
Byrdak was the other questionable Opening Day assignment. Sure he was great in Spring Training, but his history showed a LOOGY who was about average versus LHB and not very good at all against RHB. An argument certainly could have been made that the Mets did not need a lefty specialist who would only pitch around 40 innings and be rotten every time he faced a RHB.
To make matters worse, not only is Byrdak doing as bad as expected versus righties, he is not even getting lefties out here in the early going. His splits show a 1.000 OPS allowed versus RHB and an .800 OPS allowed versus lefties.
Of course, all players have a small sample at the end of April and with Byrdak we are talking all of 6 IP. But given how management has acted quickly with other players, it feels as if Byrdak is one bad appearance from a ticket out of town.
Hu had an easy path to the Opening Day roster, as the Mets announced they wanted Ruben Tejada playing everyday in Triple-A and there was hardly anyone else in camp qualified to be a backup shortstop.
The bar is set pretty low for Hu. All anyone expects is that he is ready for a once-a-month start in place of Jose Reyes and to deliver a hit every now and then when he is used as a pinch-hitter. But Hu has failed to even clear these low expectations. He has just 1 hit in 12 PA and has a .091/.091/.091 slash line.
At the risk of jinxing him, Reyes has been off to a great start and seems to be over the injuries that plagued him the past two years. If the club barely needs someone to play SS, wouldn’t Hu’s role better served by someone who could actually be a threat as a pinch-hitter? Justin Turner seems capable of playing a few innings at SS if the need arose.
The Mets’ recent four-game winning streak has helped a lot of fans retreat from the ledges upon which they had climbed. Winning cures everything and may possibly buy everyone on the team some goodwill from not only the fans, but management as well. But both Byrdak and Hu would be advised to come through the next time they get into a game.