All signs, reports, and divinations are pointing to Carlos Beltran hobbling his way onto the Opening Day roster, leaving Nick Evans as the odd man out. Evans is out of options, meaning the Mets would have to expose him to waivers before sending him back to Buffalo. If that happens, he may or may not be snatched up by another team.
A couple of short thoughts on this:
1. There was some debate about carrying Evans or Willie Harris in the fifth bench spot. I have to go with Harris here. The Mets already have a righty masher (Daniel Murphy) and a lefty masher (Scott Hairston), a defensive specialist (Chin-lung Hu), and a backup catcher (Ronny Paulino) on the bench. The righthanded Nick Evans hits lefties, his only great skill. Harris can play any position except catcher, runs a little bit, and has been a much improved hitter since coming to the NL in 2007, showing great plate discipline and posting a .240/.341/.394 line. A lefthanded hitter, Harris isn’t totally useless against lefty pitchers either, with a .325 OBP in the NL against southpaws. Harris isn’t great at anything, but he’s useful at enough things, which makes him ideal bench glue. Evans is more of a one trick pony, and Hairston already does his one trick.
2. Jerry Manuel didn’t do Evans any favors by rarely playing him — Evans never really got a fair shot with the team, and now he doesn’t really fit anywhere. He might have established himself a bit more, as Murphy has, had he been given more playing time in the majors.
3. That is a picture of Nick Evans, right?
4. The Mets could try to sneak Evans through waivers by carrying him and eleven pitchers on Opening Day, then sending Evans down and activating the twelfth pitcher a day or two later. If other teams already have their rosters set, it might make them less likely to grab Evans when he’s on waivers. This is the sort of sneaky plan I’m hoping Sandy Alderson will implement.
5. On a related note: I think the Mets have already used two of Fernando Martinez’s option years
— they blew one last year so he could sit on the bench for a week in August –meaning that if they use the third this season, they’d be facing an Evans-like situation with Martinez next season. This probably greatly reduces the chances of Martinez seeing time in the majors until September, if he’s up at all this season. Edit: Upon review, this is not how options work. The Mets may have the same problem with Martinez next spring regardless. Options are used when a player is on the 40 man roster but not on the major league team, as Martinez has been since 2009. This is his third option year, and cannot be sent to the minors next year unless the Mets put him through waivers. Just something to think about.