Mike Carp was the only minor-leaguer added to the Mets' 40-man roster last week, which will leave the club plenty of flexibility throughout the off-season for free agents or multi-player trades. I don't think Carp has the talent to be a major league player - and neither do the Mets, apparently, who left him in Double-A Binghamton while promoting Daniel Murphy and Nick Evans from there last season. Still, he hit pretty well in the lower levels of the minors before fashioning a very good 2008 campaign at the plate for the B-Mets, so he still qualifies as a prospect.
There are now six open spots on the 40-man roster, which also leaves room for a Rule V pick next month. For most teams, this can be a under-utilized way of completing a roster. If you're not one of the huge-market teams like the Mets, it makes perfect sense to take a flyer on a seventh reliever or a defensive backup for one season to see if he can develop into a legitimate player down the road.
Too many teams - even those with no hope of winning in 2009 - still insist on giving bloated one-year deals to "proven veterans" to round out the major-league club. It's a poor use of financial resources, at the expense of taking a risk that may lead to a handsome reward. Josh Hamilton, Dan Uggla, Joakim Soria and Johan Santana are just a few of the Rule V players who have made it good in the last 10 years - why wouldn't a small-market team look at that and try to catch lightning in a bottle?
That said, this is one of the rare seasons where I think the Mets may legitimately be in a position to not even bother making a Rule V pick. After last year's bullpen woes, they cannot publicly afford to give a bullpen role to an untested minor leager unless he is absolutely dominant in Spring Training. Endy Chavez serves as the good-field, no-hit outfield backup and Argenis Reyes probably did enough last summer to have an inside track on the infield version of that role. I guess if an older live arm is sitting there when the team's selection comes around, it may be worth making a pick, but I seriously doubt he'll make the team. When was the last time the Mets featured a Rule V player on the roster for a full season anyway?
I checked with the Mets' official website and made a few other additions to the 40-man roster that I had apparently forgotten about. Since Ambiorix Burgos, Brandon Knight and Jason Vargas have actually appeared in a Mets uniform, it stands to reason that they are on the 40-man until officially released. I imagine Burgos's legal troubles could get him dumped sooner rather then later.
John Maine (arbitration eligible)
Jon Niese (renewable)
Aaron Heilman (arbitration eligible)
Pedro Feliciano (arbitration eligible)
Duaner Sanchez (arbitration eligible)
Ambiorix Burgos (arbitration eligible)
Brian Stokes (renewable)
Joe Smith (renewable)
Eddie Kunz (renewable)
Carlos Muniz (renewable)
Robert Parnell (renewable)
Brandon Knight (renewable)
Jason Vargas (renewable)
Billy Wagner (out for 2009 season)
Robinson Cancel (renewable)
Daniel Murphy (renewable)
Argenis Reyes (renewable)
Mike Carp (renewable)
Ryan Church (arbitration eligible)
Angel Pagan (renewable)
Nick Evans (renewable)
Tony Armas, Jr.
Adam Bostick (minor league free agent)
Nelson Figueroa (minor league free agent)
Gustavo Molina (minor league free agent)
* - "I'll Be the Judge" recap completed