Jorge Sosa, Nelson Figueroa, Matt Wise: Assessing Mets' Roster Moves and Motives

Andrew MeesAnalyst IMay 14, 2008

Eric Brenner published an article today stating the Mets' recent roster moves show their commitment to winning. 

I don't know Mr. Brenner, and I'm not trying to call him out or create enemies in my very first article here on Bleacher Report.  He's entitled to his opinion, the same as I'm entitled to mine; that's what this site's all about.  

With that in mind, I say to Mr. Brenner:  These moves are just good common baseball sense, while at the same time wreaking of desperation.

Take a closer look at the moves:  The Mets designated pitchers Jorge Sosa and Nelson Figueroa for assignment, activated Matt Wise off the 15-day disabled list, and promoted pitcher Claudio Vargas and infielder Fernando Tatis.  

On the surface, Sosa's two million dollar guaranteed salary appears to send a message that "we don't care how much you are getting paid, if you're not cutting it you'll be released".  That's all well and good, but if that were truly the case, Delgado, Beltran and Castillo would have been released, no matter how many guaranteed years and money is invested in them.  Granted it's a lot of years and lot of money invested in those players, but to say that cutting a player with a two million dollar salary shows a commitment to winning is inaccurate.

Sosa has regressed over his stint with the Mets, and his outing against the Nationals Monday night pretty much sealed his fate.  As Brenner pointed out, Joe Smith has been lights out out of the pen, so what would possess the Mets to even think about demoting him when Sosa was throwing as poorly as he has been?  

Which brings me to the next move, activating Matt Wise.  The Mets considered him a key part of the bullpen throughout spring training, and with him finally healthy, there was no way he wasn't going to be placed back in the bullpen.  With Smith throwing the ball well, and Schoeneweis throwing considerably better than last year, Sosa became the odd man out.  

Such is the case with Figueroa, who aside from a few starts in front of his family and friends at Shea, has been below average at best.  After his start against the Nationals Monday night - his second straight awful outing - Claudio Vargas became all the more enticing.  Vargas has considerably better stuff than Figueroa, and while Figgy was a nice story, Vargas should have better results, despite his shaky Triple-A numbers.

These moves are moves that every single general manager in the game would make.  If you have three relievers, one who's been outstanding, one who's been terrible, and one who you think will be outstanding and is coming off the DL, you keep the two you like.  If one of your starting pitching spots is basically interchangeable until starters come off the DL, and the guy filling the spot isn't performing, you give somebody else a shot.  These moves are common sense, and should be treated as nothing more.

The Mets have shown their commitment to winning over the past four years.  Signing Pedro/Beltran/Alou/Castillo/Wagner, trading most of the farm for/signing Santana, and trading a top prospect for two starting players (Milledge for Church and Schneider) show a commitment to winning.  

These moves, however, are moves any GM with half a brain would make.  With all the money being invested in creating a winner, the heat is on Minaya now more than ever to get this team turned around, and that is what these moves show me. 

The Mets GM and manager Willie Randolph cannot afford to keep this team going at it's current slightly above 500 pace, or they'll be looking for work next season.  The roster moves simply show a regime running out of time, with no room for role players trying to "figure it out".  

Saying the Mets have a commitment to winning is stating the obvious.  These moves are simply standard procedure, with undertones of a general manager, and manager skating on thin ice.