All right, all right. So Johan Santana is finally, officially a Met (get your jerseys to commemorate the occasion) and we can all relax for the 12 days until pitchers and catchers report. Right?
Well the roster seems to be set ... if you look at the depth chart (which will eventually be updated with Johan's name in place of Jason Vargas), everybody seems to have a purpose from the bench players (between Marlon Anderson, Endy Chavez, Fluff Castro and Damion Easley, all the positions should be covered) and the bullpen, there doesn't seem to be a wasted spot available, as there was when the Mets had Julio Franco, his .112 batting average and his timely knack for hitting into those clutch double plays. But 13 pitchers seem to be a bit much, especially if Orlando Hernandez is going to be the fifth starter instead of Mike Pelfrey, and the Mets decide to send Pelfrey down instead of making him sit around collecting dust bunnies in the bullpen. Then it would be time for that extra bench guy. So who's it gonna be?
Jose Valentin: Familiarality with the organization, plus a soothing effect on Jose Reyes (like Pepto Bismol, I guess) are big pros. Injuries, and the fact that he plays positions that are already taken care of by Easley and Anderson are a negative. Maybe he should rub some Pepto on his joints. Odds: 3-1
Kenny Lofton: The fact that he's been on a playoff team every season from 1995-2007 (minus '05) is a plus. Negatives? Well none of those teams have won the whole thing, and lately he's presided over a 3-1 series lead against the Marlins (Steve Bartman), a 3-0 series lead over the Red Sox (we know how that went), and a 3-1 series lead over the Red Sox (Boston is Kenny's kryptonite, obviously). Not that Lofton had much to do with those collapses ... in fact, Lofton had a very good personal playoff run last season (at least against the Yankees, he only hit .222 against Boston). But if Kenny was graded on mojo and karma, he'd be in existential summer school. Odds: 15-1
Kevin Mench: Now we're talking, right? Righty pop off the bench is a plus. Mench has a career .465 slugging percentage, and 84 K's per 600 AB's isn't horrible. But here's what is horrible: Mench would probably be a pinch hitter on a lot of occasions to try to either break games open, or get the Mets back in the game with one swing. Check out Mench's numbers as a pinch hitter: Peeeeeeeeeee-yoooooooooooooou! Career: 51 PA's and 47 AB's: one lonely HR and a batting average of .106 ... that's not only on the interstate, that's an interstate you'd only find on those kind of roads in Pennsylvania that you drive on in the dead of night and think "I wonder if this is that kind of road where the aliens hang out and beam people up from." Odds: 25-1
Bobby Kielty: Kielty hit a huge home run for the Red Sox in their clinching World Series game against Colorado, and if Ryan Church turns out to be a disaster, Kielty could be that right-handed platoon player that helps save the offense. Ironically, Santana's trade to the Mets would end any hopes of Kielty going back to Boston unless they traded Coco Crisp in a separate trade. Best part about Kielty is that he's a career .281 pinch hitter. Downside: His overall stats are nothing spectacular. And he has big, bright, orange hair. Imagine Sideshow Bob as a Met. Is this a future you want for your children? Odds: 35-1
Chris Shelton: Now here's a guy worth taking a look at. Shelton is currently a member of the Rangers organization, but not on the 40 man roster after Texas acquired pitcher Kazuo Fukumori. You remember Shelton as the guy who hit 2,000 (10) HR's for the Detroit Tigers in April of 2006 and he was everybody's superstud of the year, and the world made him the most popular fantasy pick-up in the free world on May 1st of that year. So if Shelton was up with the Mets in April of '08 he could do some serious damage. The problem is that the season doesn't end on May 1st, and Shelton played his way into the minors for all of 2007, where he only hit 14 HR's for Toledo. Not Arlington, Seattle, or even Florida ... Toledo. Besides, he would probably cost a minor leaguer in return, and I'm not sure we have any more of those after getting Santana. Odds: 45-1
Barry Bonds: Now there's some pop off the bench. Downside: Would there be room in the lockerroom for that big reclining chair? Odds: 2,000,000-1
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