I do something like this every year, and at some point it became less about trying to predict what players would fill certain spots on the Mets and more about certain hangups I have about odds.
(I present the odds here in the frequently used format — [Chance of an event not happening]:[Chance of an event happening]. In other words, the chance of rolling a three on a six-sided die is here noted 5:1. There are five outcomes on the die that are not three, and one three.)
For the purposes of this discussion, I am assuming that Francisco Rodriguez, Bobby Parnell and D.J. Carrasco are locks for the Mets’ bullpen. I know there has been talk that the Mets would give Carrasco a shot to start, but with Chris Young and Chris Capuano healthy, I figure Carrasco’s bound for a relief role. For that matter, I did not include Capuano as a candidate for the bullpen.
Figuring the Mets will carry seven relievers, that leaves four open spots. By my count, there are 12 guys still in camp in competition: Manny Acosta, Pedro Beato, Taylor Buchholz, Pat Misch, Oliver Perez, Boof Bonser, Blaine Boyer, Tim Byrdak, Ryota Igarashi, Jason Isringhausen, Mike O’Connor and Taylor Tankersley.
Check this out: If Terry Collins went full chaos-theory and decided to fill the remaining bullpen slots by picking four names out of a hat, each guy would have a 1 in 3 shot of making it, or 2:1 odds.
And yet somewhere this offseason, someone will inevitably take a similar approach to roster speculation but give 2:1 odds to only the most likely candidate. Find that man and place a bet with him. Bet lots of money on that most likely candidate making the team, and ask the blogger or reporter to make good on his odds by doubling your money when that guy does make the team.
Actually, don’t do that. It’s a jerky thing to do. My point is only that if the odds look a little strange here, it’s because there are so many open spots and the Mets will inevitably fill them.
OK, back to that: Other factors in the Mets’ decision include that Manny Acosta and Pat Misch are out of options, Pedro Beato is a Rule 5 pick and Boof Bonser has an opt-out clause in his contract that lets him walk if he doesn’t make the Major League roster, though he’s no lock to leave.
So without further ado, here we go:
Taylor Buchholz (1:5): Buchholz, now 21 months removed from Tommy John surgery, appears healthy and has been effective in his Grapefruit League outings so far. Since he got a Major League contract, I considered placing him among the “locks” that wouldn’t be listed here, but having 12 guys for four slots made the math on that hat point way easier.
Tim Byrdak (1:2): Thus far, good news for Mets bullpen candidates with my initials. The Mets will definitely need a lefty and Byrdak is one. The veteran has been an effective if unspectacular lefty specialist for four seasons. He’s 37, but he’ll probably only be asked to face one batter at a time.
Jason Isringhausen (5:7): OMG LOL! Next the Mets are going to sign Craig Swan, Sidd Finch and Jay Hook amirite? After inspiring a full day’s worth of tired Twitter humor, Isringhausen has drawn nothing but oohs and ahhs in camp. He is 38 and has a variety of injuries in his history that could act up at any time, but it sure sounds like he’s going to be on the team if he’s healthy on Opening Day.
Pedro Beato (1:1): A Queens native with an impressive fastball, Beato likely has a leg up on his competitors because cutting him would mean sending him back to the Orioles and, at 24, he can boast more upside than Pat Misch or Manny Acosta.
Manny Acosta (7:5): You know, I’m not sure I realized how good Acosta was in his 39 2/3-inning stint with the Mets last year. He walked too many guys, but he struck out more than a batter an inning and posted a 134 ERA+. He was also pretty decent in Triple-A. You have to figure someone will scoop him up if he is put on waivers.
Pat Misch (2:1): Misch could wind up victim of a numbers crunch, unfortunate since he’s been nothing but decent in every role the Mets have asked him to fill in the past two seasons. The lefty control artist isn’t going to blow the ball by anybody, but his versatility and relative health could help him crack the roster if Collins decides he needs a spot-starter type. Might not be a bad idea if Young and Capuano are in the back of the rotation.
Mike O’Connor (5:1): I’m really rooting for O’Connor to make the team, though he seems like something of a longshot. He’s the only player in camp who looks like he should be playing stickball with me and my friends instead of Major League Baseball with Jose Reyes. He has a cool delivery and it seems like it can get lefties out.
Blaine Boyer (7:1): The red-headed Boyer throws pretty hard and Collins has raved about his fastball. But Collins raves about lots of stuff, and Boyer allows too many baserunners. He has been decent in 4 1/3 Grapefruit League innings and hasn’t been downright terrible across his career, but he’s probably not a Plan A guy. Figure he goes to Buffalo and gets the call when one of the Major Leaguers gets lit up or shut down.
Taylor Tankersley (7:1): I may be reading this one all wrong, but the way I see it, Tankersley has only thrown 29 2/3 Major League innings since 2007 and few of them have been great. He’s still pretty young and pitched decently in Triple-A last year, plus by all accounts he’s a great guy who wants to start a band with our promos department, it just seems like it’ll be hard for him to beat out fellow lefties Byrdak and Misch and, to a lesser extent, O’Connor for a roster spot.
Boof Bonser (11:1): I’m not even certain Bonser belongs on this list because he has mostly been a starter in his career. His name is Boof Bonser, which is awesome, and he was the third guy traded with Francisco Liriano and Joe Nathan for A.J. Pierzynski. Maybe he makes the Mets as a long guy or if a starter gets hurt, but my bet is he declines his opt-out clause and joins the Mets’ Triple-A rotation. The Buffalo Bisons’ Boof Bonser? It’s too good to pass up. Boofalo!
Ryota Igarashi (11:1): Near the end of my stay in Port St. Lucie, Terry Collins said he hasn’t seen the same splitter from Igarashi in the United States that he did in Japan and wondered if it had something to do with the slightly larger ball. That seemed worth following up on, but I didn’t see Igarashi and his interpreter before I left. Still throws gas, so there’s some chance he figures something out and helps the Mets before his contract is up.
Oliver Perez (23:1).
The field (23:1): This is for all the guys on loan from Tabasco of the Mexican League and the Les Walronds and Dale Thayers of the world. Sometimes some guy shows up, turns heads, and gets a locker at Citi Field.