Time To Get Real About Nelson Figueroa

Now that we’ve come down from the dream story that Nelson Figueroa was last night it’s time to get real about his roster spot. I’ve read and heard so much from the media and blogs about the “Hometown boy makes good” story. SNY went on ad nauseam about the tale.

If you read this blog regulary, you saw that I wrote that Figueroa pitched a wonderful game last night. I really like his stuff and composure on the mound. He’s obviously got terrific family and friends pulling for him (as were all Mets fans). I loved what I saw from him last night.

That being said, Figueroa’s spot on the roster is going to call for some decisions in the future. Part of his value is that he’s only working on a one-year minor league contract. That gives the Mets flexibility to move him up and down from the minors. There aren’t too many players on the roster with that flexibility.

When, and if, Pedro Martinez, Duaner Sanchez, and Orlando Hernandez come back to the team there will have to be some roster moves to make room. I would guess that Carlos Muniz would be the first player to go down to the minors when Sanchez comes back as early as Tuesday.

Martinez and Hernandez may not be back for quite some time. When they do come back, Figueroa’s roster spot will become much more precarious. The Mets management will be forced to make a decision between keeping Mike Pelfrey and Figueroa on the major league roster. Take a look at the Mets active roster here. Who do you think should leave when Martinez comes back?

It would seem that Figueroa and Pelfrey will be competing for the one open roster spot when Martinez returns. I like that Pelfrey has someone with some talent that’s pushing him to focus and throw strikes. Frankly, I like Figueroa for the swing man role better than Jorge Sosa but that’s not going to happen. Sosa’s got a one-year $2 million major league contract so he’s not going anywhere barring a performance disaster on his part.

The only flexibility outside of the pitchers on the roster is with Brady Clark. He’s also working on a one-year minor league contract but will most likely be sent down when Moises Alou comes back. If Alou has a setback returning from his hernia surgery, that could give the Mets some flexibility to keep Figueroa and Pelfrey when Martinez returns. But I doubt that the Mets would keep 13 pitchers.

The conclusion is that I like what I saw last night and believe that Figueroa can give Pelfrey a serious threat of being sent back to the minors if he doesn’t consistently pitch well.  Even though Pelfrey is one of the Mets top prospects, the Mets need to win games now and Figueroa might be a better option for this season.

Audio: Baseball Links For Listening

There are plenty of baseball and Mets links for listening today. If you enjoy listening to baseball talk as much as I do, enjoy the links. Click the small play icon next to the link to listen.

MVN Radio’s “The Pitch” previews Week 2-The Pitch

Tim McCarver on WFAN’s “Mike and The Mad Dog” from April 7, 2008-Tim McCarver

Nelson Figueroa on WFAN’s “Boomer & Carton” from April 8, 2008- Nelson Figueroa

Jeff Wilpon on WFAN’s “Boomer & Carton” from April 7, 2008- Jeff Wilpon

Brady Clark on WFAN’s “Joe & Evan” from April 8, 2008- Brady Clark

Mike Pelfrey on WFAN’s “Joe & Evan” from April 8, 2008 – Mike Pelfrey

Countdown To The Final Roster

We’re nearing the deadline for the Mets to decide who will make the last few bubble spots on the team. It looks like Angel Pagan will be in the outfield and Brady Clark will be left off the major league roster.

Ben Shipgel of The New York Times gives his take on what the roster will look like. I think he’s pretty accurate. As I said in an earlier post, keeping Fernando Tatis really doesn’t make sense to me at all.  If Ramon Castro’s hamstring isn’t ready than Raul Casanova will get the backup catcher spot until Castro is ready.

I think Shipgel is right that Brady Clark won’t make the team either. Angel Pagan has just been too hot offensively to leave him off the roster.

Tomorrow’s game in Ft. Lauderdale may very well decide if Mike Pelfrey or Orlando Hernandez gets the fifth starter spot. It’s too bad that it has to come down to one game but neither pitcher has clearly established himself.