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What are the Mets doing?

A team that intended to contend is in disarray as June approaches.

Chris McShane

If we were to recount all of the head-scratching and downright unfathomable roster decisions the Mets have made this year, we’d have a shot at writing the longest piece in the history of this site. Nearly two months into the season, the team is 19-25 and has dealt with plenty of injury and performance woes, and it seems like something’s gone wrong with basic roster management.

The roster as presently constructed illustrates some of those flaws very well. The team is carrying eight relief pitchers and has done so for most of the year, even though that has left the Mets with a short bench—a bench that often times has included at least one player who isn’t available to play—for most of those stretches. The bench is at the normal size of five players right now, but that’s merely a side effect of Tommy Milone hitting the disabled list.

And while it hasn’t been the case for the entire season thus far, the Mets have at times carried three catchers, as they’re doing right now with Travis d’Arnaud back from the disabled list. Kevin Plawecki has maintained a major league roster spot despite somehow hitting even worse this year than he has in the past with a .125/.214/.167 line. That’s a far-from-optimal use of a major league roster’s bench.

Rafael Montero has held on to his major league roster spot, too, even though he’s sporting an 8.10 ERA in 16.2 innings. It doesn’t sound like he’s getting any real consideration to start on Saturday night—assuming the Mets still have a gaping hole in their rotation if tonight’s game against the Padres is not rained out. Montero really shouldn’t be getting any consideration for that start, but he probably shouldn’t be on the major league roster anymore, either.

Despite the team’s season hanging by a thread at this point, Jose Reyes continues to get regular playing time. He’s hit .201/.283/.318 with a 65 wRC+ in 175 plate appearances and has spent much of that time at or near the top of the Mets’ lineup.

There have certainly been some bright spots, and some of the team’s other individual players have been flawed. But what’s particularly frustrating at the moment is that the team seems unwilling to make moves that would almost certainly help in the short term.

Amed Rosario, who plays shortstop and has gotten an occasional game at third base in the minors, is not just the Mets’ best prospect but one of the better ones in the sport right now. It seems blatantly obvious at this point that the Mets are prioritizing the avoidance of Rosario attaining Super Two status—a status that would earn him more money while he’s under team control—over winning baseball games in the immediate term. You’ll hear the boilerplate about Rosario not being ready, but with a .361/.397/.530 line in Las Vegas, he’s done exactly what he should be doing in that ridiculously hitter-friendly environment.

And if the Mets need a pitcher to take the start in Pittsburgh on Saturday night, they should really give that to a starting pitcher—not Josh Smoker. A start from Tyler Pill, who isn’t on the 40-man roster but could easily take the place of someone like Erik Goeddel, might not be spectacular. But it’d probably feel like the Mets would at least have a shot at winning that game.

If any of these things were to happen, it would be fairly surprising. But it’d be reassuring to see the team do something to try to right the ship.