Byrdak, Hu next on chopping block for Mets?

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.

11 comments for “Byrdak, Hu next on chopping block for Mets?

  1. April 25, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I never thought Hu would be much of an offensive threat, but 1 for 12? Maybe he’d get an extra hit or two if he ever saw playing time… He could probably serve as a defensive replacement at second base too if Murphy ever proves he can’t hack it.

  2. April 25, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Should’ve cut Hu and kept Emaus. Hu would have cleared waivers easily. Three dozen plate appearances was not enough to judge a guy they were so high on all winter. He’s better than Turner and Hu.

    • Brian Joura
      April 25, 2011 at 3:49 pm

      That’s a good point.

      I wonder if they determined that Emaus had no chance as a starting player. If they re-sign Reyes, Tejada is certainly more valuable as a reserve going forward because of his ability to play SS. And with guys like Havens and Valdespin in the minors, they did have what appears to be future depth at the position.

      • April 25, 2011 at 10:26 pm

        Based on the limited amount of real info coming out and what we know of Emaus, I imagine Alderson and co. just don’t think he has what it takes to be a big league starter. At least one newspaper article quoted a baseball source calling Emaus a AAAA player. You’d have to figure with him being available to every team at the Rule V draft, they weren’t letting us pick up the next Chase Utley for nothing.

        • Patrick
          April 26, 2011 at 4:24 pm

          Notable rule V draft picks in history…

          Roberto Clemente, Bobby Bonilla, Josh Hamilton, Johan Santana, Dan Uggla, Shane Victorino

          There was precedent and well considered reasoning to take a gamble with Eamus, but might not have been the best time or place for him particularly.

          Then again, look at Beato.

          • April 27, 2011 at 10:43 am

            I don’t know about you, but I’m not at all surprised Beato is doing well. He had so much potential as a starter and looked well transitioning over to a reliever. I just wonder where his ceiling is as a reliever.

  3. astromets
    April 26, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    This is a great point and something I hope happens soon. It actually brings up an even bigger point about this team, can we afford to waste roster space on such specific role players? I can understand that when players have roles, it helps them focus on what they need to do for the team – some guys are starters, some platoon, there are defensive specialists, power bats off the bench, on base guys, closer, 8th inning guy, 7th inning guy, LOOGY, lefty masher….A team like the Mets just needs the best 25 players it can put together to compete as best it can every game, we can’t waste roster spots on guys who will only have 15 or so useless PA’s and some defensive innings a month or who will only pitch 7ish (poor) innings in a month. If we can’t find an acceptable replaceable LOOGY then we just use the best relievers available; I would rather a good all around reliever to one who can only come in to face the 1 or 2 lefties, and maybe walk a righty. I don’t see the point of Hu on the roster, especially with Turner around to play SS once in a while. There is much more of a need for offense from the bench players than defense, and we have some future bench players at AAA. Overall, I feel a manager and team would be better off with reliable offense on the bench and every reliever capable of competing vs R and L than with defensive specialists and LOOGIES. Every time a LOOGY goes in, the manager must curse because he is only getting one or two outs, thus making more relievers work – benefit of no LOOGY, potentially more rested pen. A lot of times managers worry about when to use certain bats off the bench because some guys are limited offensively and often catchers don’t PH, maximize versatility and offense on the bench – specifically offense as most of our starters aren’t coming out of the game.

    • Patrick
      April 26, 2011 at 5:33 pm

      True, but often things go as the best laid plans of mice and men. My guess is coming out of spring training the team felt good about a few things that were certainly areas of question.

      Eamus, Bay and Beltran’s health, Pelfrey, Young and Capuano. Of all of those only Beltran proved to be less of question for the first few weeks. Young pitched well in two starts but landed on the DL, Capuano seems to have settled in now, Pelfrey who knows and hopefully Bay is here to stay.

      But when you have so many question marks you are hoping pan out your way it makes decisions like Byrdak and Hu seem all the more wasted space. Suddenly if Murphy puts a hold on 2B and Bay remains healthy it gives the Mets a lot of “space”. And if they can get Pelfrey on track, keep Young off the DL and consistently get 4 of 5 guys dropping 6 innings each team through, the bullpen falls in line. Its all a delicate balance.

  4. Joe W
    April 27, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Let’s be honest the only reason Hu is on the roster is because he’s Taiwanese and the Wilpon’s hope he brings in the Asian fan ban. I’m tired of the Mets being used for social engineering. Just put the 25 best players on the field regradless of ethnicity – let the team be a meritocracy for once. As putrid as Hu is no one can convince me that the Mets couldn’t come up with someone who can hit even from the waiver wire – post steroid era teams should not have the luxury of carrying someone who can’t even get the ball out of the infield – we had to put up with that from Castillo and he’s gone – what makes Hu so special.

    NOTE to Wilpon’s: Picking someone based on their ethnicity is also a form of racism. You’ve had the first two black managers in NY, the first Latin GM in NY, the Jackie Robinson Rotunda – no one thinks you’re racist – enough already – just pick the 25 best players. And stop pandering to that female asian reporter who always asks at the post game press conference why ddn’t you play Hu or why did you remove Hu – I’ll answer that because he stinks.

    • April 27, 2011 at 10:46 am

      I’m gonna side with Brian on this one. It’s not like gets a lot of playing time, plus he had such a reputation of being a great defender for the Dodgers. Maybe he gets some consistent playing time and we find out what’s he really got to offer.

  5. Brian Joura
    April 27, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Sorry, not buying this one. How many fans can a guy who gets 2 ABs a week draw?

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