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Why Do the Mets Sour on Certain Players?

By Mike Silva ~ June 5th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets.

Howard discussed the Mets decision to call up Omir Santos over Nick Evans yesterday. Although I think it’s a temporary move until Henry Blanco is healthy, it does show you how far Evans has fallen on the depth chart. It was the last day of 2008 that Evans started in left field against the Marlins in a must win game number 162. Today you can see him starring for AA Binghamton in a small town near you. If you think Evans plight is unfair you are not alone. During the Omar Minaya regime there have been a few talented players that have fallen out of favor and seemingly been “punished” for reasons unknown.

Earlier this week San Diego closer Heath Bell talked about his frustrations playing for the organization. He counted 11 trips on the Norfolk shuttle in one season. We all know how trading Bell in the offseason of 2006 hurt the organization. The bullpen was probably the main culprit in their failure to make the playoffs in 2007 and 2008.

Nelson Figueroa, just DFA’d by Philadelphia never was trusted by the organization. I realize he doesn’t fall into the prospect category, but his situation was always puzzling. He pitched admirably last season, in winter ball and this spring, but was cut. Yes, Figueroa may very well be the last man on a pitching staff, as evidence by his treatment in Philadelphia, but wouldn’t he be more valuable than a Manny Acosta? Couldn’t he fill odd role of Jenrry Mejia? As a local product I always felt Figueroa deserved better.

Other individuals that fall into the Bell/Evans/Figueroa category are Mike Carp, Jeff Keppinger, Matt Lindstrom and Lastings Milledge. The case of Keppinger is particularly odd since he hit well in his brief stint in 2004 (.284) but, despite putting up gaudy numbers in Norfolk the next couple of seasons, couldn’t get a look at the big league level. He was eventually traded for Ruben Gotay who was released a year later. The public trashing of Milledge was odd, although warranted at times, because it hurt his trade value as a top prospect.

The only player mentioned so far that has come back to haunt the Mets is Heath Bell. The jury is out on the rest so maybe it’s unfair to second guess Omar Minaya. I think each of those players could have helped the team at some point during their Mets careers, even if it was a short term call up. Remember, over the hills players like Gerald Williams, Gary Matthews Jr., Michael Tucker, Chip Ambres, and Aaron Sele all were given opportunities over younger players.

Is it talent evaluation or fear of the unknown? Remember, the Mets treatment of young players goes back to the Steve Phillips era as Jason Middlebrook accused the team of not promoting prospects so this has been going on awhile. Considering the problems it has caused in the past, perhaps it’s time to change that philosophy.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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4 Responses to Why Do the Mets Sour on Certain Players?

  1. Patrick

    I think there is some fair criticism to be made, but at the same time the only player to actually do anything meaningful was/is Bell. And frankly Bell’s opinion of his shuttling not withstanding he was terrible when given the chance in New York. So who knows if his trade to San Diego did not simply light a fire under his own chin to focus.

    I’d agree that the Mets have generally been cautious but I think that when they have a player they believe is the real deal, they do not hesitate, they did that with Reyes and Wright and Pelfrey. They are moving now with Ike and Niese and now even Tejada. Not to forget Mejia, regardless of feelings on where he should be.

    What I don’t understand about Evans, is at this point, why is he not back in Buffalo. Not that I think it matters. He is not very good.

  2. Shamik

    By and large, the team has made the right moves this year. They take a glacial pace to make these moves however, which is really the problem.

  3. Shamik

    Also, perhaps Nick Evans is down in the minors still to give him more at bats and fielding experience, whereas up in the majors he would be relegated to the bench and have little future trade value.

  4. John

    Nick Evans had a real problem hitting a major league curveball. Until he overcomes that he will only be a platoon player. Which might not be a bad thing because he is a pretty good fielding first baseman.
    But what might really be going on is that they don’t want to expose him to major league curveball (even AAA) to push up his trade value.

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