Offseason Outlook: Mets Face 40-Man Roster Decisions

With the Mets having a massively disappointing year, it’s time for an overhaul. We have seen that will likely begin with the team hiring a new manager to replace Terry Collins. However, that’s not the only change that needs to be made.

The organization needs to part ways with some players and bring new ones into the fold. To do that, the Mets are going to have to make some hard choices with its 40-man roster.

At the moment, there are 43 players on the 40-man. Of those 43, only Jose Reyes is an impending free agent. Both Jerry Blevins and Asdrubal Cabrera have team options which are expected to be exercised by the team. With that alone, the team still has an excess of bodies.

However, New York doesn’t need to trim just two players. There are more that need to be moved to make room for free agents to fill positional needs at second, third and possibly center. The bullpen needs to be rebuilt yet again and the Mets have already spoken about the importance of another starting pitcher. Additionally, there are players like the recently acquired Gerson Bautista that need to be added to the 40-man to protect them from the Rule V draft.

After a season like the Mets had, no one should be considered safe. To that end, here is a review of the players who are likely on the bubble from getting cut from the 40-man roster whether it be in the form of a designated for assignment or a non-tender this offseason:

PREVIOUSLY PENDING MiLB FREE AGENTS

Phillip Evans
MiLB Stats: 127 G, 510 PA, 466 AB, 58 R, 130 H, 26 2B, 3 3B, 11 HR, 56 RBI, 2 SB, 3 CS, .279/.341/.418
MLB Stats: 16 G, 32 PA, 30 AB, 3 R, 8 H, 2 2B, RBI, .267/.313/.333

Evans struggled offensively in the Pacific Coast League a year after winning the Eastern League batting title. With his impending free agency, the Mets were going to have to decide if they wanted to keep Evans. Now, they will have to decide if Evans merits staying on the 40-man roster. Evans has only complicated this decision by playing well at multiple positions while in the majors.

Tyler Pill
MiLB Stats:
5-3, 3.08 ERA, 15 G, 15 GS, 90. 2 IP, 1.290 WHIP, 5.3 K/9
MLB Stats:
0-3, 5.32 ERA, 7 G, 3 GS, 22.0 IP, 1.455 WHIP, 6.5 K/9

Pill had a strong season at Triple-A and with the opportunity presented, got a chance to pitch in the majors. If not for the success or the injuries, it’s likely Pill would have never gotten the chance to pitch in the majors. While Pill was passable, he likely did not do enough to convince the Mets he is a pitcher who should remain on the 40-man going forward.

Travis Taijeron
MiLB Stats: 125 G, 533 PA, 448 AB, 75 R, 122 H, 32 2B, 3 3B, 25 HR, 78 RBI, 2 SB, CS, .272/.383/.525
MLB Stats: 23 G, 56 PA, 49 AB, 3 R, 9 H, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI, .184/.286/.286

Taijeron has been a good hitter in the minor leagues, and his walk-off single earlier this week was a feel good story. If not for the injuries, the Mets seemed willing to let Taijeron become a minor league free agent. Despite the highlight, the outfielder has not done enough to change the Mets opinion of him, making him vulnerable to be designated for assignment.

OUT OF OPTIONS

Erik Goeddel
MiLB Stats:
2-4, 6.67 ERA, 25 G, 29.2 IP, 1.584 WHIP, 7.6 WHIP
MLB Stats: 0-1, 5.28 ERA, 33 G, 29.0 IP, 1.345 WHIP, 10.2 K/9

The Mets have long believed in Goeddel and he has largely delivered. That was until this season. After having offseason surgery to remove bone spurs, Goeddel has struggled this year. With him out of options, the Mets decision on him may very well hinge on whether they make enough moves this offseason to push him off the roster.

Rafael Montero
MiLB Stats: 0-2, 2.48 ERA, 5 G, 5 GS, 29.0 IP, 1.034 WHIP, 11.5 K/9
MLB Stats: 5-11, 5.26 ERA, 33 G, 18 GS, 116.1 IP, 1.719 WHIP, 8.6 K/9

While he has been much better of late, Montero has still gone 4-4, 5.28 ERA, with a 5.2 BB/9 in his last 12 starts and one relief appearance. Even if this is much better than he has been in his career, it is still a far cry from being a reliable Major League pitcher. While he has been Teflon all these years, this is finally the year the Mets have to make a real decision on the right-hander.

LIMITED PLAYING TIME

Kevin McGowan
MiLB Stats: 6-5, 4.15 ERA, 47 G, GS, 4 SV, 65.0 IP, 1.354 WHIP, 7.9 K/9
MLB Stats: 0-0, 7.50 ERA, 6 G, 6.0 IP, 2.167 WHIP, 7.5 K/9

McGowan is still just 25 years old, has steadily improved and has a fastball that tops out in the high 90s. Despite all of this, the Mets were first hesitant to first add him to the 40-man roster to help an ailing bullpen, and then when he was finally added, the team was hesitant to use him as he has appeared in just six games.

Matt Reynolds
MiLB Stats: 33 G, 144 PA, 128 AB, 27 R, 41 H, 9 2B, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 2 SB, 2 CS, .320/.396/.484
MiLB Stats: 67 G, 127 PA, 110 AB, 12 R, 26 H, 2B, 2 3B, HR, 5 RBI, CS, .236/.333/.309

Before rosters expanded, Sandy Alderson said the team wanted to take a long look at Reynolds over the final month of the season. That long look has amounted to just 18 games despite his hitting .273/.415/.303. If the Mets are not inclined to give him a chance to play while they are playing out the string, it does not bode well for his chances of remaining on the roster, especially when T.J. Rivera and Wilmer Flores are ahead of him on the depth chart.

IN-SEASON MAJOR LEAGUE ACQUISITIONS

Norichika Aoki
MLB Stats: 107 G, 359 PA, 324 AB, 45 R, 90 H, 20 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 35 RBI, 10 SB, 2 CS, .278/.332/.371

Aoki has played well in his brief tenure as a Met hitting .289/.366/.389 in 24 games with the team. The issue with the veteran is he probably hasn’t done enough to show he should be a starting outfielder on this team in 2018. Another issue is Aoki is likely due a raise in arbitration over his $5.5 million salary this season. Like everything with the Mets, money will ultimately dictate their decision.

Tommy Milone
MLB Stats: 1-3, 7.63 ERA, 17 G, 8 GS, 1 SV, 48.1 IP, 1.634 WHIP, 7.1 K/9

Really, the only reason Milone became a Met was because the team needed a starting pitcher due to the Matt Harvey personal issues as well as all the injuries to the starting rotation. Given the fact Milone has an 8.56 ERA with the Mets, it seems fair to say he will not be back with this team unless it is on a minor league deal.

DISAPPOINTING SEASONS

Gavin Cecchini
MiLB Stats: 110 G, 497 PA, 453 AB, 68 R, 121 H, 27 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR, 39 RBI, 5 SB, 4 CS, .267/.329/.380
MLB Stats: 30 G, 77 PA, 73 AB, 4 R, 15 H, 2 2B, HR, 7 RBI, CS, .205/.247/.274

Last season, Cecchini seemed on a major league trajectory from an offensive standpoint slashing .325/.390/.448. Still, he struggled defensively necessitating a move from shortstop to second base; a move which was going to happen anyway with Amed Rosario being a highly regarded prospect. While Cecchini has been much better defensively, he’s not hitting now. With the massive hole at second, the Mets haven’t given him a real shot and if rumors are true, he’s not getting a shot next year. It’s likely he remains on the 40-man with options remaining, but as we learned last year with Gabriel Ynoa, no one is safe when the organization does not believe you to be a major league contributor.

Hansel Robles
MiLB Stats: 0-1, 5.79 ERA, 18 G, 4 SV, 23.1 IP, 1.757 WHIP, 8.5 K/9
MLB Stats: 7-5, 4.77 ERA, 45 G, 54.2 IP, 1.335 WHIP, 9.9 K/9

Seriously, what to make of Robles. We’ve seen flashes of brilliance followed by complete ineptitude. The Mets know there’s talent here meaning this decision may ultimately be decided by how much he is owed in arbitration.

Josh Smoker
MiLB Stats:
0-1, 1.93 ERA, 7 G, 3 GS, 14.0 IP, 1.000 WHIP, 8.4 K/9
MLB Stats: 1-2, 5.17 ERA, 53 G, 55.2 IP, 1.725 WHIP, 10.8 K/9

Smoker was supposed to be one of the relievers who could have a breakout season in the bullpen this year. Instead, he was used in a myriad of roles that he was ill-suited for. He’s not a long man in the ‘pen, nor is he really a lefty specialist. No matter what, Smoker hasn’t performed well in a Mets uniform. Still, he has great strikeout ability and he’s finishing the season strong, showing some hope he could return next year.

SAFE UNLESS SOMEONE BETTER COMES ALONG

Chasen Bradford
MiLB Stats: 1-1, 4.04 ERA, 33 G, 11 SV, 35.2 IP, 1.514 WHIP, 7.4 K/9
MLB Stats:
2-0, 3.86 ERA, 27 G, 32.2 IP, 1.316 WHIP, 7.4 K/9

After three years in Triple-A, Bradford was finally given an opportunity to pitch in the majors. By and large, he has acquitted himself quite well even if he’s walking more batters than he had in the minors. While he has pitched well, his stuff is far from outstanding with a low 90s fastball. Ulitmately, his stuff and not his results are what put him on the bubble.

Paul Sewald
MiLB Stats: 1-0, 2.08 ERA, 8 G, 4 SV, 8.2 IP, 1.038 WHIP, 12.5 K/9
MLB Stats: 0-6, 4.31 ERA, 56 G, 64.2 IP, 1.175 WHIP, 9/3 K/9

Sewald was finally given an opportunity after being dominant in Triple-A. He got off to a hot start holding a 2.21 ERA through the end of May. Since that point, Sewald has a 5.28 ERA despite holding batters to a .254 BABIP. While Sewald has seemingly done enough to merit getting a chance to earn a spot in the Opening Day bullpen next year, his recent struggles make him vulnerable when roster decisions are being made.

SUMMATION

Last year, the Mets made roster moves to remove Jon Niese, Justin Ruggiano, Logan Verrett, Ty Kelly and Gabriel Ynoa to make room for players on the 40-man roster. This offseason, the Mets may need to cut even more players because this is a team that needs to address even more needs in free agency. In the end, it is difficult to make any predictions until we truly know how dedicated the Mets are to improving this offseason.

About John Sheridan 439 Articles

John was raised to be a Mets fan by birth, and now he is raising a Mets fan of his own. He also uses Sabermetrics to either confirm the proverbial eye test or to see if we’re seeing things with Mets colored glasses. He looks forward to bringing this perspective to MMO. His work, including the tales of raising his son a Mets fan, can also be seen at MetsDaddy.com.