FanShot

Hu and Who

19

So yesterday, Adam Rubin put up his projected Mets 25-man roster at this point. I can't really argue with any of them as projections, in terms of them being predictions of what's likely to happen. But as to the merits of this roster, one thing I wanted to throw around is the matter of Chin-Lung Hu. Pretty much every projection I've seen assumes that he will make the major league roster. Such projections seem warranted in light of the Mets' holding a press conference to announce his signing a couple months ago, indicating that they view him as a means of promoting themselves in the Taiwanese market. I'm going to address this purely from a performance standpoint, though - is there a strong reason to have a slick-fielding, poor-hitting middle-IF on the team, particularly given that the Mets' starting SS is one of their best players? Hu is more or less worthless as a PH (heck, I'd probably prefer Dickey), which makes our bench weaker. That hopefully will be mitigated by the fact that I expect that this regime will be smarter and less rigid about using its backup catcher as a pinch-hitter than JerryBot (as well as less wasteful of players in attempts to get purportedly favorable matchups) , so hopefully Hu doesn't see many at-bats, but it's still a liability in longer games needing multiple pinch-hitters. Hu's primary value, as I see it, is as a late-inning defensive replacement at 2B or a spot-starter/injury-emergency-replacement for Reyes at SS. That's not to be sneezed at given (1) that whoever winds up at 2B will probably be a defensive liability, and (2) Reyes's recent injury history, which probably warrants giving him more days off to preserve him. That said, Hu's bat is basically in Alex Cora territory, and his presence on the bench means that a superior hitter (at this point, possibly Nick Evans, assuming that Harris and Hairston make it) will be left behind and perhaps lost for good. So my question for the field is: is it worth it for the Mets to carry Hu for his glove, or are they better off carrying an additional bat like Evans, and (a) taking their chances with defense at 2B and (b) using a combination of Emaus/ Hairston/ Harris/ Murphy/ whoever as the backup/emergency SS?

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