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Playoff Roster Revisited

Mike SteffanosFriday, September 22, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

We took a preliminary glimpse at what the 25-man roster for the Division Series might look like a week and a half ago. Things are starting to come into clearer focus since then, and I'm going to take another shot at making my picks. I will lean towards who I believe will be on the roster than who I believe should be.

I'm still going to work under the assumption that the Mets will carry 11 pitchers and 14 position players on the roster. I think they will go for flexibility on the bench rather than carry another pitcher who probably won't be used. I'm also going to operate under the assumption that Steve Trachsel will be the fourth starter. Although I believe John Maine has outpitched Trachsel, I think any team is inclined to go with the veteran, and Steve's strong game in the clincher was a huge boost to his chances. He'll probably have 2 more starts the remainder of the season, so I still believe he needs to be solid.

Since I wrote my piece ten days ago, Guillermo Mota has clearly solidified an important role, joining Aaron Heilman as the bridge to Billy Wagner. With Trachsel as fourth starter and Mota as a playoff roster lock, the first 9 of 11 spots look like this:

  1. SP - Pedro Martinez
  2. SP - Tom Glavine
  3. SP - Orlando Hernandez
  4. SP - Steve Trachsel
  5. RP - Billy Wagner
  6. RP - Aaron Heilman
  7. RP - Guillermo Mota
  8. RP - Chad Bradford
  9. RP - Pedro Feliciano
  10. RP - ?
  11. RP - ?

That leaves John Maine, Darren Oliver and Roberto Hernandez slugging it out for two spots. Since Wagner is the closer, and the other four relievers are clearly ahead of Bert for late innings use, I see him as very vulnerable here. I believe the Mets will elect to have both Oliver and Maine on the roster as insurance for starting pitchers exiting early. I believe Bert is the odd man out, unless the Mets elect to bring 12 pitchers.

  1. RP - Darren Oliver
  2. RP - John Maine

As for position players, the starting eight are given, as is a backup catcher, key reserves Endy Chavez and Chris Woodward, and pinch hitter Julio Franco:

  1. Jose Reyes
  2. Paul Lo Duca
  3. Carlos Beltran
  4. Carlos Delgado
  5. David Wright
  6. Cliff Floyd
  7. Shawn Green
  8. Jose Valentin
  9. Backup Catcher (Castro, Stinnett or DeFelice)
  10. Endy Chavez
  11. Chris Woodward
  12. Julio Franco
  13. ?
  14. ?

I won't guess who the backup catcher will be until I see Castro next week. Endy is the Mets top bench player and reserve outfielder. Despite the fact that Woodward hasn't hit all year, he's still the primary backup infielder. Ditto Julio Franco, who has not performed well as a hitter in the second half, but is still a team leader and top right-handed pinch hitter. With 2 spots left open Michael Tucker, Lastings Milledge, Anderson Hernandez and Ricky Ledee are the options. With Woodward as the backup infielder and Franco as an emergency backup, I see Hernandez' weak bat keeping him in street clothes. I think both Milledge and Tucker offer more right now than Ledee, who has not hit at all. If the Mets go with 12 pitchers, I think Milledge's right-handed bat puts him ahead of Tucker.

  1. Lastings Milledge
  2. Michael Tucker

What will be interesting in the coming days will be how the Mets reshuffle their starting pitching. If they just kept doing what they've been doing, this would be their starters the rest of the way:

 22 - WAS
23 - WAS
24 - WAS
25 - WAS
26 - @ATL
27 - @ATL
28 - @ATL
29 - @WAS
30 - @WAS
1 - @WAS

I'd say it's a fairly safe bet they'll switch things around. They'll want to align their starters in playoff order, and Glavine certainly won't pitch the last game of the season, since he'll be starting the first or second playoff game. It would appear that of the four likely playoff starters right now, only Orlando Hernandez and Steve Trachsel will get 2 more starts. It will be interesting to see if Maine gets that start on Saturday or goes to the bullpen.

So what do you guys think?

This post is being discussed in the MetsMerized Mets Talk Forum.

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Comments (13)

I think you've got it about as right as we can get it to this point.

Maine probably will be in the pen as a long man, and as an option against the very real possibility of a starter going down to injury. Pedro....love his pitching smarts, but if he can't push off sufficient to approach 90 mph with the fastball, somebody'll be filling in some innings right there; and probably in a losing game, sigh.

I would also consider the slight possibility that Perez could cause a revisal of thinking with a strong outing -- but I doubt it.

I'll agree with your picks over all, but:
1. Darren Oliver is a LOCK. Period.
2. I'd also have to say John Maine is a lock (or at least 95%) - it's just his role that's up in the air.

You nailed the bench down. (See what I did there, ha!)

As far as aligning the starters, I'd say skip Glav on Tuesday, move everyone up and the start him Friday or Saturday (whatever would give him the necessary rest for Game 2). Let any combo of Perez, Pelfrey & Humber go that last Sunday.

dd - I wish they picked up Perez earlier in the year. He might be ready to pitch a big game right now.
Joe - You're right, I should have included Oliver as a lock, he's earned that this year. Your reasoning on the rotation also seems sound to me.


Your 25 looks spot on to me. If I were Willie (which, thank goodness for Mets fans everywhere, I'm not), I'd just make sure both Pedro and Glavine get a start that lines up 5 days ahead of their projected playoff start. I'd also make Glavine my number one guy right now. So I'd jigger the starters thusly:

22 - WAS Hernandez
23 - WAS Maine
24 - WAS Oliver (heck, why not?)
25 - WAS Bannister (again, why not?)
26 - @ATL Trachsel
27 - @ATL Perez
28 - @ATL Glavine (Game 1, 10/3 or 10/4)
29 - @WAS Martinez (Game 2, 10/5)
30 - @WAS Hernandez (Game 3, 10/7)
1 - @WAS Grab Bag

I like Joe Vigi's idea. In fact, let's let nine different guys pitch an inning each in that last game. Humber, Pelfrey, Oliver, Bannister...kind of a "Mets Showcase of the Future" game.

One little bonus with this schedule is that it gives Glavine one last start against his ex-team, in what might be the game that eliminates the Braves from the Wild Card. I know, it's not important, but wouldn't it be cool?

perez on the 25th, rookie gets the 26th, pedro on the 27th, glavine on the 28th, duque on the 29th, trachsel on the 30th, and either maine or another rookie on the 1st to finish out the season, preferably maine to get in one last day of work before his shift to the pen, or start the rook and let maine finish with 2 or 3 innings. hopefully roberto hernandez will NOT be in any playoff plans, and i think anderson hernandez should be on there instead of michael tucker because if you need a pinch runner or if you need a defensive infield replacement, because to me, franco just doesnt cut it...ahern's bat may be weak but thats a chance i'm willing to take. a bat for a glove and some speed.


NostraDennis - I like that idea for the last game. It could be interesting. I'll buy the pitching rotation, although it would lead to Trachsel going a while between starts.
George - Leaving Tucker off gives you only Endy Chavez as a left-handed bat on the bench. Ahern is a switch hitter, but really only effective at all as a RH.

I agree with you except.... I say now Maine will be left off the first round. It will be Oliver and Hernandez... I like Maine but have a feeling about this. Remember Willie is Torre jr.... they like veterans...

Bean - It's certainly possible, but with all the questions about the starters, having a second long man seems valuable to me.

ok mike, but if we dont take milledge, wheres our righthanded outfielder? plus, tucker isnt even that much of an upgrade over hernandez...he's only batting .220 or something close to that...hernandez can play pretty much anywhere in the infield, and to me, a speedy switch-hitting utility infielder is more valuable than a slow 5th outfielder.

George, I'm not going to argue with you, but Hernandez is batting like .130, and just looks overmatched at the plate. I understand your point of view, but prefer a pinch-hitter that has a chance of getting you a hit. As far as Milledge, he is on my roster, and ahead of Tucker, so I'm not sure what you were asking there.

Are we still talking about this here?

Just to while away a few moments I played with some numbers to determine how various Mets starters did in terms of quality start per outing. I didn't do everybody; Perez has had only one I believe, and Bannister's success was a long time ago, nor is Pelfrey really in the discussion at this point. Anyhoo:

Glavine: 66% of his starts were quality starts;
El Duque: 63% of his Mets starts; another was 5.1 innings, one run allowed;
Maine: 61.5%
Williams: 60%
Pedro: 59%

Hernandez has delivered 8 quality starts in his last 10 outings, another being that aformentioned 5 1/3 outing with only one run allowed.
No big windup here, but clearly Hernandez has been as good as anybody gfor the Mets lately. Which we already knew.

dd - Just got my belated recap of last nights game up:


Orlando is pitching to a 1.95 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP over his last 5 starts. I think that's called heading into the playoffs with some momentum.

1. darren oliver is on. He can relieve for3-4 innings and mop up. Bert is the casualty as his slot is now owned by Mota.

2. I think Lastings must go. The team has little committment to Ledee or Tucker, and Milledge right now has to be considered a r/L platoon with Green. Endy will also see much time in LF. Woody is the last man. I say Humber debuts in the last game.

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