The Mets have a lot of decisions to make this offseason when it comes to the composition of their 40-man roster. Who should stay and who should go?
Today is September 1, and that means MLB active rosters expand from 25 to a maximum of 40 players through the rest of the regular season. After their victory over the Phillies on Sunday, the Mets immediately announced that they were set to promote four players today. Those players include current 40-man roster members Josh Satin, Juan Centeno, and Erik Goeddel and non-roster lefty reliever Dario Alvarez, who began this season pitching in Savannah. With that in mind, let's take a peek at the Mets' 40-man roster and try to figure out who is likely to stay and who could otherwise go elsewhere this winter. Here is the current 40-man roster.
Note: Some of these players could be dealt in trades this winter, but for this exercise, we'll assume that the Mets will keep all of them since we can't predict the future. Don't forget that while the Mets will have to add prospects to their 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft, they'll also need to reserve space for free agent signings and any other acquisitions they make this offseason. Finally, players on the 60-day disabled list have to be added back to the 40-man roster in the offseason, even if they're still injured. The Mets currently have 39 players on their 40-man roster plus two on their 60-day DL.
Obvious keepers (21)
Vic Black, Bartolo Colon, Travis d'Arnaud, Jacob deGrom, Matt den Dekker, Lucas Duda, Josh Edgin, Jeurys Familia, Dillon Gee, Curtis Granderson, Matt Harvey, Dilson Herrera, Juan Lagares, Steven Matz, Jenrry Mejia, Rafael Montero, Daniel Murphy, Jon Niese, Carlos Torres, Zack Wheeler, David Wright
There shouldn't be any big surprises here, as these are essentially the most valuable players currently on the Mets' 40-man roster and are all incredibly unlikely to be removed from it by DFA or release. A few of these players could end up being used as trade bait this winter, but otherwise, most will be on the 2015 Opening Day roster or somewhere in the farm system.
Free agents (1)
After having already dumped Chris Young and Bobby Abreu, the Mets only have one actual free agent in Matsuzaka. There was talk about the possibility of Abreu coming back to the big leagues in September after Las Vegas' playoff run ends, but even if he does, he'll certainly be off the roster as a free agent after the season ends.
Out of options (3)
A few other players are out of options, but here we'll specifically focus on the young out-of-options players on the roster. These three players are 24 years old or younger and seem likely to be snapped up on waivers by another organization should the Mets try to sneak them down to Triple-A next year.
If the Mets are able to land a starting shortstop this offseason, it looks like they may have to choose between Flores and Tejada for a bench role on the big league team. Both have struggled at the plate in the majors this season, but Tejada has shown a decent hit tool in the past and features a stronger glove at shortstop and second base. Meanwhile Flores has hit at every level in the minor leagues and has experience at all four infield positions, even if he doesn't play them exceptionally well. There's another scenario that sees Daniel Murphy get traded and one of Tejada or Flores takes over at second base, though that job could also go to Dilson Herrera if he appears ready.
Puello is tougher to get a read on, as the enigmatic outfielder has struggled at Triple-A Las Vegas while seeing sporadic playing time for the 51s. Should he reach his potential, he profiles be an everyday right fielder for a contender, but a .240/.348/.373 line in the Pacific Coast League certainly isn't going to help win him a big league outfield job. They could use him as a platoon bat off the big league bench, but given that line, it could certainly be a waste of a roster spot next season.
On the bubble (15)
Dario Alvarez, Andrew Brown, Eric Campbell, Buddy Carlyle, Juan Centeno, Dana Eveland, Gonzalez Germen, Erik Goeddel, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Anthony Recker, Scott Rice, Josh Satin, Wilfredo Tovar, Jeff Walters, Eric Young
These players are on the bubble because they're bench type depth players or relief options who haven't fully established themselves as long term pieces for the team going forward. Some of these players will stick around as depth, others will be removed from the roster via non-tender or DFA at some point.
Of this group, Campbell seems like the most likely to stay thanks to his strong performance off the bench this season and his versatility in the field. Even if he doesn't make the team, he has three options left. Eveland has performed capably as the team's second lefty in the bullpen throwing to a 2.73 ERA and a 3.28 FIP. He's been around for years but is still arbitration-eligible, and he appears to be succeeding due to a change in repertoire. Increased slider usage has resulted in more swings and misses and newfound success against left-handed batters.
Brown, Carlyle, Nieuwenhuis, and Young are out of options, so they either must make the team out of spring training or be exposed to waivers. Young and Carlyle seem like non-tender candidates. Even with his speed, the Mets probably shouldn't be paying Young nearly $2 million with how limited a player he is. Carlyle has pitched well but seems like the type of pitcher they could bring back on a minor league contract if they'd like. Brown and Nieuwenhuis could compete for bench spots next spring, though it wouldn't be shocking to see Brown waived given his age and how little MLB time he's seen this year.
Walters looks like a non-tender candidate given that he'll miss most of 2015 to Tommy John surgery, and they could try to re-sign him to a minor league contract, like they did with Jeremy Hefner last winter. One of Recker or Centeno could be cut loose if they decide to find an upgrade to serve as Travis d'Arnaud's understudy. Alvarez, Germen, Goeddel, Rice, Satin, and Tovar all have options left and could serve as depth but they also appear marginal enough that the team could drop many of them from the roster. Of this group, Rice and Satin seem particularly at risk given that their jobs have been taken by other players. Goeddel and Tovar, while young, could be looked at as redundant to others already on the roster and in the organization.
Potential additions before the Rule 5 draft
With Dilson Herrera having already been added to the roster on Friday, the four names listed above seem to be the most obvious players to protect from the Rule 5 Draft, though there always seems to be a surprise or two every year. For the full listing of players who are Rule 5 eligible, check out the always excellent tpgMets site.
Considering all of these factors, who do you think the Mets should keep, who should they let go, and are there any other players you'd like to see them protect this offseason? Don't forget, players such as Matt Reynolds, Kevin Plawecki, and Brandon Nimmo could all potentially see big league time in 2015, but they don't have to be protected this winter.
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