Friday, November 20th was the deadline for Major League teams to finalize their rosters for the upcoming Rule Five which will take place on December 10, the final day of the baseball Winter Meetings. The Mets added no players immediately before the deadline, but added 3B Shawn Bowman in early November to prevent him from becoming a six-year minor league free agent. At present, it looks like the Mets might have the first crack in the Rule 5. The Mets own the 7th pick, but all six teams ahead of them, (Washington, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Kansas City, Cleveland and Arizona) have full 40-man rosters which would preclude them from adding players. The Mets 40-man roster currently stands at 36 players. Only Milwaukee (35), St. Louis (34), the Dodgers (33) and Boston (32) have more open spots than the Mets. Remember, any free agents signed to major league deals must immediately be added to the 40-man roster, so in a winter where the Mets are hoping to add a bat, an arm and maybe a catcher, the team should have room on the 40-man roster at this point.
The Mets did not have to add their top prospects to the 40-man roster because those players who would need to be protected are already on the roster having made their Big League debuts. This includes the college draftees from 2006 Daniel Murphy and Tobi Stoner and those who were 18 or younger when they signed in 2005 like Jon Niese, Fernando Martinez and Josh Thole. Moreover, the Mets traded their first two picks from that ’06 draft: Kevin Mulvey (Santana package) and Joe Smith (JJ Putz package).
As long as we’re here, lets examine one role on the team, the second LOOGY to help out Pedro Feliciano in the bullpen. The left-handed relievers on the Mets 40-man roster are Feliciano, Arturo Lopez and Pat Misch.
The Free Agent
Adam Bostick is now a six-year minor league free agent after three years in the Mets organization. Bostick, who lowered his arm angle, and moved to the bullpen this year, was very effective for AAA Buffalo, particularly against lefties who hit just .211/.286/.263 against him in 38 AB. Overall, Bostick had 43 strikeouts against 18 walks in 38.2 IP with a 3.26 ERA in Buffalo. Four of his 14 inherited runners scored. To be fair, the Bostick has been hit hard in winter ball in Venezuela where he’s given up 11 hits, seven walk and ten runs in eight IP.
The Waiver Claim
What exactly does Lopez, who was claimed on waivers from the Padres in April offer other than his lefty-ness? In 30.1 innings in Buffalo, Lopez put together a 3.86 ERA with 19 strikeouts and 13 walks in 30.1 innings, less impressive numbers than Bostick. Lefties hit .242/.324/.364 against him in 33 AB for a .688 OPS, one hundred and twenty-nine points worse than the .549 OPS lefties managed in a similar sample against Bostick in AAA in 2009.
There’s an argument to be made here that parsing L/R splits into 35 AB samples at AAA is too small a sample size. However, Lopez’s pure stuff isn’t any better than Bostick’s.
So why is Lopez a Met and Bostick looking for employment?