Apparently, as Mets fans we need to get used to the new front office making quick decisions. I’m surprised that the Mets pulled the plug on Brad Emaus so quickly. From all reports, the Mets were high on him coming out of spring training. High enough to make him their opening day second baseman and not playing in a platoon with Daniel Murphy.
Emaus looked overmatched at the plate and in the field in his short 14 game Mets career. You can see his offensive stats below:
With six singles in 42 plate appearances there just isn’t much to talk about. As a Rule 5 draft pick, the Mets need to put him through waivers and offer him back to the Blue Jays for $25,000 if he clears waivers, which he certainly will.
Justin Turner was called up and is starting at second base tonight. He’ll play a straight platoon with Murphy.
That Sandy Alderson has a quick trigger finger. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing yet. But we may not have to wait for the non-waiver trading deadline for the Mets to start making moves this year.
The Mets announced a minor trade today with the Dodgers to acquire infielder Chin-lung Hu for Michael Antonini. We saw a bit of Hu in 2008 when the Mets were in L.A. playing the Dodgers. At the time, Hu was playing shortstop for an injured Rafael Furcal. He got into 65 games that season and looked like your typical backup middle infielder. Good glove and can’t hit. He’s a career .191 hitter in 96 big league games. That’s been a major disappointment as Hu is a .299 career hitter in the minors over parts of seven seasons.
Hu’s presence on the roster will allow the Mets greater flexibility with Ruben Tejada. Sandy Alderson has talked about wanting Tejada to get more minor league at-bat’s this season. Hu will compete for playing time at second base with Brad Emaus, Luis Castillo, Luis Hernandez, and Justin Turner.
The contract situation for Hu is favorable as well. He only has 0.153 MLB service time and won’t be arbitration eligible until 2012. He isn’t eligible for free agency until 2016.
Michael Antonini rose to Triple-A Buffalo last season but his 4.49 ERA was disappointing. He was taken in the 18th round of the 2007 draft the first two seasons were impressive for the lefty starter. But his 5.74 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A in 2009 and his aforementioned 2010 ERA were cause for concern. He certainly wasn’t looking to be a factor at the Major League level in 2011.
The new Mets front office has taken the time to explain that “Moneyball” is not a game they will be playing in Queens. Paul Depodesta and J.P. Ricciardi have even criticized Michael Lewis for his characterization of their personas. I’m sure I wouldn’t appreciate being called a nerd either. Sandy Alderson, in a recent quote, told the press he would not have come to Queens if he had to instill the tactics used in Oakland.
Although I do believe the Ivy League squad running the Mets, one of the few moves made this winter seems like a chapter directly from the book. Kevin Youkilis, a key figure in the “Moneyball”, was a prime example because of his ability to walk and not strikeout. He was unappealing to most scouts because of his lack of “tools”. Billy Beane perceived “tools” a less tangible marker for a successful big leaguer. He was called fat and a bad fielder and was unnoticed through most of baseball. Nevertheless, Youk was a star in Paul Depodesta’s computer. He was a break from what a time honored scout would particularly look for.
This brings me to the Rule 5 draft. The resemblance to the the Moneyball school of thought was undeniable. J.P. Ricciardi’s familiarity with a prospect in Toronto led Sandy to scoop up Brad Emaus. Emaus has nothing flashy or exciting in his bag of tricks. He is not the “toolsy” raw talent that scouts drool over. He was brought aboard, not surprisingly, because of his ability to draw walks and not strike out. Pitch selection and on base percentage have brought him to the Mets roster.
I don’t believe the trio will be pinching pennies in years when the funds are more available. Emaus however, is an early indicator that the new regime has an idea about picking out under appreciated talent. Emaus will be the first in a list of benchmarks to judge if they can still scoop these under the radar contributors. At the very least it makes for interesting debate.