Free Willie (From The Roster)

Nick Evans

Nick Evans: Soon To Be My Favorite Brave

Word has come through on Jon Heyman’s Twitter (@SI_JonHeyman) that the expected reserves have been chosen for the Mets. It looks like, with Brad Emaus as the starting 2B, the Mets bench will consist of: Mike Nickeas, Chin-lung Hu, Daniel Murphy, Scott Hairston, and Willie Harris.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am none-too-thrilled with Harris on the 25-man and 40-man rosters. I see Harris on the roster for two reasons:

  1. Positional flexibility
  2. Left-handedness

Presumably, Willie will be the second left-handed pinch-hitting bat off the bench, the third-string outfielder in every slot, and the third-string infielder in every slot (except for 1st base and 2nd base, where he’d be the fourth option). No offense, but this sounds terrible. Any player on the 25-man (hell, the 40-man) roster should bring something to the table. And Willie Harris doesn’t. He’s got no bat, no glove, and no skills that another player couldn’t offer in his stead.

Now, I do understand the idea of not giving his spot to two options I suggested: Fernando Martinez and Lucas Duda. Both of these players need lots of ABs, especially Martinez, to continue to develop. I still think that it’s a mistake not to carry Duda, while giving him three starts every six games in the outfield (two for Beltran, one for Bay), and making him the first bat off the bench, but I at least see the reasoning behind this decision.

But then I see Nick Evans, and I’m just baffled. Nick Evans has to be placed on waivers, where a team like the Braves or the Royals or the Brewers or the Angels will snap him up in a hurry. The Mets really don’t have a great right-handed bat off the bench (sorry, Scott Hairston) plus using Hairston as a pinch-hitter means having to give up any hope of being able to substitute in a decent defensive center fielder. And I do mean decent.

I understand that Willie Harris gives the Mets positional flexibility, but right now, this team doesn’t need it.

I understand that Willie Harris gives the Mets a left-handed bat off the bench, but when his bat is so bad, why use it?

I understand that Lucas Duda needs lots of ABs, but can’t he get a good number of them at the ML level?

I understand that Nick Evans may never pan out, but should the team just give up on him now?

What I don’t really understand, is why with the Mets outside the realm of really contending for a playoff spot this year, the team would give a roster spot to a veteran presence like Harris, who won’t help the team in the short- or the long-term.


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