Fielding the Best Team, No matter the Cost

Eric BrennerAnalyst IMay 14, 2008

The Mets made a number of roster moves yesterday which may have seemed like no-brainers, but also clearly showed their fans their commitment to fielding the best possible team. Pitchers Jorge Sosa and Nelson Figueroa were designated for assignment while Matt Wise was added to the roster.

While Jorge Sosa is due to make $2 Million this year, they still decided to DFA both him and Nelson Figueroa. The fact that the Front Office realized that Jorge Sosa is not worthy of a spot on the roster is very encouraging. They clearly decided to eat the remainder of his contract (while also risking losing him to the waiver wire) and have him pitch in AAA.

Figueroa, on the other hand, while not making the same money as Sosa, said he is willing to remain with the Mets, provided he also clears waivers.

To any Mets fans who may be unhappy about Figgy being demoted, his numbers past his first two starts are quite unimpressive. He could not get past 5.1 innings and his ERA continued to climb over 5. More importantly, for a guy who considers himself a control pitcher, he had more walks than strikeouts in 3 of his last five appearances.

Claudio Vargas has not been stellar in AAA New Orleans, but considering what Figueroa has brought to the table recently, its worth giving him a shot.

These moves were also most impressive for an even more important reason. Joe Smith, who has seemingly found his ability to get batters out efficiently once again, was not demoted in favor of promoting Matt Wise. Wise has not pitched much this year, but is still considered a valuable part of the bullpen at this point.

While its fair to be able to give him his chance to perform and help the team, it was wrong from the very beginning to think of removing Joe Smith from the bullpen to insert Wise in his spot. To prove the point, its easy to compare Joe Smith's numbers to someone every baseball fan in NY is familiar with:

16.0 IP12H 5ER0 HR5BB

16K  2.81 ERA  1.06 WHIP 

Joba Chamberlain (2008):

16 IP  11H  5ER  1HR  6BB  17K  2.76 ERA  1.04 WHIP

Clearly the Yankees, or any other team for that matter, would be crazy to demote someone with these numbers in favor of creating a roster spot for someone with an unknown track record so far this year.

The fact that the Mets are a better team theoretically after yesterday's moves despite losing money shows their commitment to winning. And I think that has been something Mets fans have been doubting since last season, even with the signing of Johan Santana this off-season.