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Why Organizational Planning Matters

By Howard Megdal ~ June 4th, 2010. Filed under: Howard Megdal.

So let me just say up front, what I am about to discuss is a piece of the Met roster puzzle that wouldn’t be likely to account for more than a win either way in 2010. We’re talking about the promotion of Omir Santos over Nick Evans or the third catcher over the 25th man, and how much does that matter?

Well, I would argue, just a little, in the same way that wasting at-bats on Mike Jacobs does, or failing to platoon Jeff Francoeur does, or even starting Gary Matthews Jr. in center field eight times when the entire rest of the league knew he really couldn’t play. They all matter just a little; add it up, and together, they matter a lot.

The reason this one bothers me, in particular, is that if the Mets had followed through on their positional plans for Nick Evans, he could have been that third catcher.

Remember way back in October of 2009? I flagged this piece from Adam Rubin (which The Daily News took down, so you’ll have to take my word for it on the quote):

Nick Evans has started only three games since an Aug. 25 promotion, but his idle time hasn’t been a complete waste. Evans has been working with coach Sandy Alomar Jr. on learning to catch as a way of increasing his versatility, although he wouldn’t appear behind the plate in anything but an emergency situation….”

For some reason, this didn’t lead to the natural progression of having Evans come to spring training to learn the new position. Why? I couldn’t begin to tell you. Obviously the Mets don’t have a plan for him, since he is posting a .915 OPS at Double-A, and can’t even sniff a spot in Buffalo, let alone in New York. Evans is just 24, and catchers who can handle the position even a little with that kind of offensive prowess are extremely valuable.

In other words, Evans would become, at minimum, a trade chip. Or more to the point, in a situation where Henry Blanco gets a bit banged up, the Mets can promote a useful bench player from within, and not keep Josh Thole from continuing to get regular at-bats in Triple-A. Considering the Met catchers are 34 and 38, this was far from an unlikely occurence.

Meanwhile, the team made the choice instead to promote Omir Santos, who is 29, has a .416 OPS (or almost exactly 500 points lower than Nick Evans), and isn’t going to be any kind of prospect or useful piece. If the Mets felt otherwise, they’d have kept Santos in the major leagues, rather than signing a pair of catchers and banishing Santos to Double-A.

This organization needs to put its players into position to succeed. That it will take intransigence from Oliver Perez to even allow for the possibility that Jenrry Mejia will be returned to his rightful place, learning how to start in the minor leagues, is astounding.

So it’s a win here, a win there. If something breaks right, a few wins. This is how you get from 85 to 95 victories. It isn’t luck. Or rather, as Branch Rickey put it so eloquently, the Mets’ luck is the residue of design.

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Howard Megdal is the Editor-in-Chief of The Perpetual Post. He covers baseball, basketball and soccer for Capital New York, MLBTradeRumors.com, New York Baseball Digest and has written for ESPN.com as well as numerous other publications. He is the Poet Laureate for SBNation New York. His book about Jewish baseball players, “The Baseball Talmud,” is available for purchase on Amazon.com and wherever books are sold. His next book, "Taking The Field", is available for pre-order on Amazon.com and will publish in May 2011.

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3 Responses to Why Organizational Planning Matters

  1. Section518

    I forgot about the Evans catching experiment. Another useful piece of organizational planning would have been to allow Shawn Riggans to experiment in the outfield (instead of cutting him). Riggans isn’t all that good, but he has some power and really, it couldn’t have hurt that much. Instead, we get to see the Omir-acle again.

  2. R U Kidding

    Last winter many posters wanted to go with a Santos/Thole platoon at catcher. How quickly we forget.

  3. Mike Silva

    Santos as a backup doesn’t bother me, but the third catcher is only necessary if Blanco is hurting (which Jerry said was the case tonight). I suspect this is only a temporary move and we will see Feliciano or Evans shortly.

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