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Ruben Gotay To The Rescue!

By Howard Megdal ~ March 22nd, 2010. Filed under: Howard Megdal.

Okay, so maybe not to the rescue, but Derrick Goold reports that the Cardinals are set to cut Ruben Gotay. I think the Mets would be wise to pick him up.

I’d like to short-circuit the conversation that follows, or more to the point, redirect it in a more useful way. I’ve advocated for some other players that the Mets should pick up in recent weeks, with the responses usually along the lines of “He can’t get righties out!”, “He can’t field all that well!” or “He can’t stop texting ‘You dead, dawg’ to people!”

And the point isn’t that Ron Mahay, or Elijah Dukes, or Ruben Gotay are unbelievably great baseball players that will turn the Mets into a new empire. Rather, it is that each of them have skills in short supply within the organization.

That freely available talent is talented enough to replace members of the 25-man roster doesn’t say great things about the 2010 prospects for the team. The phrase “Your postseason has come” isn’t the one that jumps out at me.

Anyway, Gotay. He posted an .877 OPS last year at Triple-A. Put another way, that was a major league equivalent of a .691 OPS. And he’ll be entering his age-27 season, one reason why CHONE, Marcel and ZIPS project him at .732, .748 and .723, respectively.

Compare that to Alex Cora, who posted a .630 OPS in 2009, and is projected by those three systems to post a .656, .675 and .658 OPS.

Cora does have two major advantages. He can play shortstop poorly. And after surgery on both thumbs, he can now say, “Who has two thumbs and missed that single to center field? This guy!” free of pain.

Incidentally, that same set of projection systems have Luis Castillo at .717, .708 and .717, meaning all three believe Gotay will have the better bat. And I’d be inclined to bet on the healthy 27-year-old over the 34-year-old with knee problems, too.

Of course, if Castillo goes down, having Gotay at Triple-A is a far better bet than anyone else in the farm system, with the possible exception of Ruben Tejada. But it is also worth noting that with Reyes out, Tejada is the only one nearly ready who can play shortstop even adequately. For the record, CHONE has Tejada at a .607 OPS, ZIPS at .623- a lot of ground for Tejada to make up defensively just to pull even with Gotay.

So I know Gotay’s far from a gold glove second baseman, though his defensive stats are entirely too small a sample to conclude just how bad he is. But I also know the Mets don’t have a lot of options in the middle infield that involve the team winning, and Gotay looks to be free! Completely free!

I say the Mets should pick him up. Give the people of Buffalo a thrill. Make the organization better. That’s my case.

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 Ruben Gotay To The Rescue!

  1. GravediggerHebner

    When the Mets did to Ruben Gotay at the end of 2008 spring training what the Cardinals are about to do to him now, I seem to recall a very surprisingly large and vocal group of outraged Mets fans demanding to burn down Shea Stadium and threatening to harm the people responsible for his release. I do not exaggerate, much. In fact when Anderson Hernandez was waived the other day and claimed by Cleveland I told a friend who runs a Mets related blog “no need to batten the hatches, he’s no Ruben Gotay.”

    So if those same folks who (over)reacted with such outrage then are readers of yours, you’ll probably not receive an onslaught of hate mail on this post. If anything, you’ll receive some votes for Mets GM.

  2. Mike Silva

    According to Willie, he couldn’t turn a doubleplay

  3. Howard Megdal

    According to Willie, Guillermo Mota was a serviceable reliever. According to Willie, Scott Schoeneweis was a crossover guy.
    According to Willie, the double switch is really hard to master.
    I could go on…

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