Mike Silva's New York Baseball Digest » Blog Archive » Cleaning Up the Mets Bench

Cleaning Up the Mets Bench

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

Yesterday I mentioned what a nice job Omar Minaya has done creating a bullpen with some under the radar value this offseason. On the flip side, the Mets bench has never been a strength during Minaya’s regime. The weakest link of the 2006 team, in my opinion, was the bench as an over the hill Michael Tucker was the team’s pinch hitter during the playoffs. This year’s edition is turning out to be no different as the Mets subs are hitting .171 with an OPS of .445. There is reason for hope, as there are live bats in Buffalo, but guaranteed contracts and the delay of Carlos Beltran’s return may make an upgrade difficult.

Right now Jason Pridie, Chris Carter, Russ Adams, and Ruben Tejada would be better options than the Mets current bench of Tatis, Cora, Matthews Jr., and Catalanotto.  Both Cora and Matthews Jr. are owed in the seven figure range so it’s unlikely they will be disposed of quickly. Tatis has benchmark of success against left handers and will probably be kept around to spell Ike Davis at first. That leaves Catalanotto’s spot as the one opportunity to upgrade.

Since Tatis can play multiple positions, the versatility of Catalanotto is unnecessary. At this point his bat (3 for 22) makes it hard to justify a big league spot. Ideally Daniel Murphy will take his place when returning from the disabled list. However, the need for Murphy to prepare for his future role as a utility player means we probably won’t see him for a few weeks. This is where Chris Carter comes into play.

Carter profiles as a DH and is probably on the wrong team. He is tearing up the International League (again) putting up an OPS of .993. With that said, he can be the Mets power bat (think Matt Stairs) off the bench late in the game. He also could spot either Bay, Francoeur, or Davis when they need a day off. I realize once you bring him up he is out of options, but the Mets right now have automatic outs coming up late in ballgames. If Tatis is your right handed pinch hitter then make Carter your left.

I believe the reason for the delay in calling up Carter is Carlos Beltran. Right now they only have one spot to play with (Catalanotto) since Matthews Jr. is the only other centerfielder on the roster. Yes, they could bring up Carter for Catalanotto, but what happens when Beltran returns? You risk losing Carter because you have to designate him for assignment. Perhaps the Mets swallow the million they owe Matthews Jr. and go with Pagan/Carter on the bench. That would be ideal, but would leave Murphy out of the mix in Buffalo.

The best bench, post Beltran, is Pagan, Cora, Tatis, and Carter. The big question is will the Mets swallow money owed to Matthews Jr. in order to beef up their reserves? Regardless it looks like it may be a few weeks before we see any kind of attempt at an improvement.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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3 Responses to Cleaning Up the Mets Bench

  1. R U Kidding

    How about Jacobs? He’s hitting over 300 in Buffalo and batting third.

  2. Steve

    A good bench is key to a championship team. Look at the Mets bench in 86, 88 or even 99/00. As long as we have the guys mentioned by Mike above, count on watching other teams in the postseason - guaranteed.

    Look at the 86 bench - Howard Johnson, Kevin Mitchell, Mookie Wilson (platoon), Tim Teufel (platoon), Danny Heep, Lee Mazzilli. No further comment…

  3. CASHonly

    Catalanotto (.136 with 1 XBH) is finished in the big leagues. Even in his prime, he mostly was a platoon player.

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