Monday, May 12, 2008

Whither Matt Wise?

The right-handed reliever has been ready to go since last Friday night, after spending a month on the disabled list with what is being mockingly referred to as a "bruised forearm." He's apparently hovering around the organization, waiting for the Mets to make a decision about who he'll be replacing in the bullpen when he's finally activated.

Here's the problem - the Mets don't have an obvious candidate to replace him with.

Well, that's not entirely true. Jorge Sosa has been passed over on the starting pitcher depth chart by Nelson Figueroa and has been getting tattooed as a reliever this season. After last night's debacle against the Nationals, Sosa is sporting a 7.06 ERA and a 1.892 WHIP. Incredibly, Sosa has nevertheless made 20 appearances in the Mets' first 36 games, further proof that Willie Randolph still does not appreciate the wit and wisdom of Albert Einstein.

Yet as you read this today, Sosa will in all likelihood remain a member of the New York Mets. That's because Omar Minaya, in his haste to lock up every player on his roster from 2007, signed Sosa to a one-year, $2 million guaranteed contract in the off-season. It's the cardinal sin of roster construction - not leaving yourself enough flexibility to make changes when needed.

Sosa is a glorified righty specialist with enough arm strength to give you five mediocre innings as a starter or two mediocre innings as a reliever. He has pitched exceptionally poorly this year and has to be considered the worst reliever in the bullpen right now, but Minaya is simply not going to demote or release him to make room for Wise. Instead Joe Smith's head is squarely on the chopping block, for reasons that have nothing to do with performance. Smith is a righty specialist - just like Sosa - but makes $1.6 million less and can be sent to the minor leagues without being exposed to waivers.

Who do you think is going to be left standing when Wise is finally brought back into the fold?

(A quick diversion: the most inappropriate charge horn in the National League was just sounded over the Mets' PA system - with the team losing 10-4 with one out and a man on first in the bottom of the eighth inning. I've been hearing that goddamn horn since high school and I've never once heard it played for anything other than maximum embarrassment for a conscientious baseball fan.)

Get used to Jorge Sosa, because he's not going anywhere. Joe Smith is the only guy with minor-league options, so I will be stunned if he's not pitching in New Orleans next week. It's nothing more than a numbers game - and it's looking like another loss for the Mets.


tim said...

Looks like you posted too early. In a shocking move it was in fact Sosa along with Figueroa sent to the minors for Wise and Claudio Vargas.

So your boy Wise gets to show his wares again, I wasn't too impressed in his first two appearances so we'll see. And let's hope Claudio Vargas fares a little better than Jason Vargas

tim said...

Oh, and Pagan on the DL and Tatis makes an appearance.

Everybody clap your hands.........