"...But just wait till you see who we call up when Johan Santana gets injured!"

Mets Roster Mismanagement: A 30 Chapter Novel

Today Mets fans received some not so great news. Carlos Beltran, after going public with his injury on Sunday, will be heading to the 15 day DL. The Mets also DFA’d power bat Wilson Valdez, optioned Ken Takahashi to Triple A Buffalo, and recalled Elmer Dessens and Pat Misch from the minors. These items are all noteworthy, but what really stands out to me here is “General Manager” Omar Minaya’s decision to replace Carlos Beltran’s roster spot with Fernando Martinez. Minaya may be fine and dandy when it comes to the big trade, but besides that once a year event he’s generally horrendous at assembling a Major League Baseball team. These three roster moves do nothing but further damage the team and continue to expose what extraordinarily little depth the Mets have in their farm system.

My primary reason in hating the F-Mart promotion lies in the fact that the Mets now have one viable center fielder on the roster: Jeremy Reed. Nothing against Reed; he’s a very good defender with a decent bat. However, it cannot be denied that he’s simply not an every day player. Reed won’t draw walks, hit for power, and has received an astounding amount of luck thusfar with a .385 BABIP. Not to mention the fact that the Mets now have no above average defensive replacements on the bench. Had the Mets called up Cory Sullivan from the Triple A roster (who’s essentially Jeremy Reed with a different name), they’d be able to have a late inning defensive allignment of Cory Sullivan in left field, Jeremy Reed in center, and Ryan Church in right field. Let’s face it: the Mets offense is going to take a huge hit from the loss of Carlos Beltran. In replacing his spot on the team, you may as well seek to provide solid defense or a power bat. The promotion of F-Mart does neither.

About F-Mart; did Omar Minaya watch him play throughout the course of his first taste of the big leagues? Statistics back up this statement: (Martinez now has a career .560 OPS in the majors with a .274 SLG percentage), Martinez looked lost at the plate. I mean LOST. Showing little to no plate discipline, F-Mart seemed to be befuddled by any and all breaking pitches while showing an inability to draw walks (Martinez drew five walks in 62 of the suckiest at-bats imaginable). At this stage in a prospect’s career, one would think the best course of action would be playing everyday in a low pressure environment. So what does your friend and mine Omar Minaya opt to do? Call up the 20 year old Martinez shortly after failing miserably in big league action during a time of the season when the Mets are being heavily publicized for their mediocre play. Well at least he’ll get to play, right? Wrong. With Nick Evans, Fernando Tatis, and Gary Sheffield all vying for time in the outfield, why start the kid who continuously proved to be overmatched in his previous big league stint? Martinez will hardly get to play in his second go around with the Mets, and will have a minimal effect on the giant wound Carlos Beltran left on this team when he hit the DL.

As far as the other roster moves go, there’s not a whole lot to say. Sure it’s nice that Wilson Valdez and his .603 OPS no longer have a spot on this team, and perhaps Elmer Dessens can be a nice surprise for this team out of the pen. The Mets bench, however, is now a man shorter than it was yesterday and needs a power bat, as has been the case for the past three years. Will Pat Misch effectively retire left handed batter? Who knows, but I doubt that he would start this trend now after showing a clear inability to all throughout his professional career (lefties have a career .268 BA against Misch). This is a beleaguered and vastly overused Mets bullpen, and I think it’s safe to say that it’ll require more than a mediocre left hander and a right handed journeyman to have a significant impact.

Where do the Mets go from here? It’s tough to say. With absences now in center field, shortstop, and first base Omar Minaya will have to do something he should have done before spring training; acquire role players. Contrary to Minaya’s belief, that doesn’t just entail signing Alex Cora and hoping the bench produces. If Fernando Martinez is our top offensive option in the minor leagues, Omar needs to look outside of the organization for a decent organizational outfielder who knows the value of getting on base (I suggest Ryan Langerhans of the Nationals’ Triple A affiliate or Matt Murton of Colorado Sky Sox fame). The Mets need a GM who doesn’t just make one or two big off-season moves and call it a day. They need a GM who builds organizational depth in the off-season so that when one of the team’s nine starters comes down with an injury, we don’t have to endure Wilson Valdez on a daily basis. The team needs a GM who shows the basic ability to manage a roster, and in my estimation Minaya isn’t that GM.

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Tags: Carlos Beltran Elmer Dessens Fernando Martinez Fernando Tatis Gary Sheffield Jeremy Reed Ken Takahashi Matt Murton Nick Evans Omar Minaya Pat Misch Ryan Langerhans Wilson Valdez

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