Ambiorix Burgos has bigger issues in his life, but now he can add unemployment to his list of problems. The Mets non-tendered him this week, effectively cutting all ties with the beleaguered right-hander facing charges in the Dominican Republic for allegedly killing two women in a hit-and-run attack. He was already on thin ice with the organization after getting arrested in September for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend. It might be too kind to tab Burgos with the classic label of "million dollar arm, ten cent head," since it appears that the head is coming up about nine pennies too short.
The Burgos for Brian Bannister trade after the 2006 offseason has been widely criticized, but it's hard to blame Omar Minaya for swapping a soft-tosser for a flamethrower, all things being equal. Bannister had a very good season two years ago and despite his disastrous 2008 campaign, he remains a player that I like to follow for his ideas about pitching. Still, Burgos was one decent breaking ball away from being a dominant reliever before Tommy John surgery. If he is acquitted, he will surely end up in a major league camp before long.
I've been under the impression that Argenis Reyes was not arbitration-eligible, but I must have been wrong. He has a decent glove, but Reyes can't hit major league pitching and he never will. Reyes's release keeps Damion Easley's hopes for a utility job with the Mets alive, but Alex Cora is also a possibility for backup middle infield role. I can't figure out the deal with Easley - Cot's Contracts says he's a free agent, but the Mets continue to include him on the 40-man roster. When in doubt, go with Cot's.
Meanwhile, the Mets offered arbitration to John Maine, Duaner Sanchez, Pedro Feliciano, Ryan Church and Jeremy Reed, increasing the chances that they'll be playing for the Mets in 2009. Actually, everyone but Reed will have a major league job, but I wouldn't be surprised if Sanchez or Feliciano are traded before Opening Day. Maine will be in the starting rotation for the Mets and Church will have a corner outfield spot, most likely in right field.
If it's true that Easley is a free agent, the Mets only have 15 position players on the 40-man roster right now. I know Omar Minaya has insisted that he's focusing on pitching at the moment, but at what point does he turn his attention to the other eight spots on the diamond?
Jon Niese (renewable)
Darren O'Day (Rule V)
Rocky Cherry (Rule V)
Brian Stokes (renewable)
Sean Green (renewable)
Eddie Kunz (renewable)
Carlos Muniz (renewable)
Robert Parnell (renewable)
Conor Robertson (renewable)
Brandon Knight (renewable)
Billy Wagner (out for 2009 season)
Robinson Cancel (renewable)
Daniel Murphy (renewable)
Angel Pagan (renewable)
Nick Evans (renewable)
Tony Armas, Jr.
Adam Bostick (minor league contract)
Nelson Figueroa (minor league contract)
Gustavo Molina (minor league contract)
* - "I'll Be the Judge" recap completed