The Mets should save themselves the aggravation and DL Frank Francisco when the season starts and have the roster spot filled by somebody else.
That would enable Bobby Parnell to have the closer job unencumbered. Having him train for the role in Spring Training only to have it pulled from him at the last minute would be bad for clubhouse karma.
Reportedly, Francisco will be shut down for two weeks. What comes next is a period of long toss, followed by throwing on flat ground, then off the mound. Then there’s batting practice and perhaps a split-squad or minor league game before getting into a spring training game. That could be another two weeks, leaving Francisco just two weeks of games to get sharp, which is only asking for trouble.
There’s always the chance of a setback, so it makes sense to avoid rushing him and bring him along cautiously so he could be healthy to trade at the
July 31 deadline. If the Mets have a bad first half, teams will inquire about Francisco. They won’t call if his elbow is ailing.
As they rebuild, the Mets must keep thinking of pieces they can deal to stockpile prospects and draft choices.
Several other Mets fit that description:
John Buck: If Travis d’Arnaud is playing on the major league roster, then Buck could be attractive to a contender with a catching void.
Johan Santana: This is a long shot, but something the club would love to do, even if means picking up much of his remaining contract. If Santana is healthy and pitching well, somebody will be interested and the Mets will listen.
Jenrry Mejia: Sooner or later he needs to prove he can pitch. The Mets have to be thinking it might not be with them. If that’s their eventual conclusion it is better to make a trade too early rather than too late.
Most anybody in their outfield and bullpen: They don’t want to dangle Parnell and Lucas Duda, but if they could get something, what’s the harm?
There’s no telling how the season will play out, but expectations are low so looking to divest players not in their 2014 plans must be considered.