Sunday, April 11, 2010

Collateral Danage

At around this time last season, Omar Minaya's poor roster management skills led the Mets to designate Darren O'Day for assignment in order to make room for a spot start from Nelson Figueroa. (Remember him?) O'Day quickly signed with the Texas Rangers and pitched over 50 high-quality innings out of their bullpen. The Mets ... well, let's just say the Mets could've used someone pitching as well as O'Day in the bullpen last year.

This year, Omar Minaya's poor roster management skills led the Mets to give Kelvim Escobar a guaranteed $1.25 million and a spot on the 40-man roster. Unfortunately, most baseball people already knew that Escobar's arm was completely shot and that he may never pitch another inning in Major League Baseball. Some people have been quick to dismiss the Escobar fiasco as a worthwhile risk, one that has only cost the Mets some money.

That's not entirely true, of course. Escobar's roster spot has already come at the expense of a promising young reliever with an arm that actually works. Once Sean Green was placed on the disabled list yesterday, the Mets were forced to designate Clint Everts for assignment in order to make room for Raul Valdes.

Everts, you may remember, is a former first-round draft pick that was drafted by Minaya when he was mismanaging the dearly departed Montreal Expos in 2002. The high-school fireballer never worked out as a professional starter, but was dominant across three levels in the Washington minor-league system in 2009.

Still only 25, Everts has enough time to produce a few effective seasons out of a major league bullpen if given the chance to do so. That chance may not be available in Queens now. Everts will have to pass through waivers before the Mets can give him the ball again at Double-A Binghamton, where he was assigned out of Spring Training.

Will the decision to release Clint Everts turn out as poorly as the decision to release Darren O'Day? It's obviously too soon to tell. But I would rather have a 25-year-old reliever with a live arm and success in the minors last season over a 34-year-old reliever who has thrown 26 professional innings in the last two years and may never pitch again.


TW said...

Refresh my memory, how did we acquire Everts, through a trade or waivers?

Jack Flynn said...

Washington released him, which was off considering his 2009 season and their bullpen deficiencies.

TW said...

That means he came from the bottom of the scrap heap.

All for naught, he has an appearance and an inning pitched in Binghampton.

Jack Flynn said...

The mindset is the issue, not the actual players involved. Roster management means taking appropriate risks, not foolish ones.

Everts was an appropriate risk - a failed #1 pick as a miscast starter who had begun to find success as a reliever. Escobar was a foolish risk - a mid-30s starter with a history of devastating arm injuries who was going to pitch in relief only because it's clear he would never be able to start again.

Giving Escobar over $1 million and a spot on the 40-man hamstrung the Mets financially and in terms of flexibility. Almost losing Everts (and actually losing Nelson Figueroa, for that matter) was the result of it.