Mets Dump Brad Emaus

Books, Games, Management, Media, Paul Lebowitz's 2011 Baseball Guide, Players, Spring Training

After 42 plate appearances; a .162 batting average with no power; and a .262 on base percentage, the player that some were suggesting could  be the Mets version of hitting the lottery as the Marlins did with Dan Uggla in 2006, is gone.

Or maybe not gone.

It depends.

The Mets designated Brad Emaus for assignment today and recalled Justin Turner. What that means is that Emaus has to pass through waivers and, after ten days if he’s unclaimed, the Rule 5 selection will be offered back to the Blue Jays; if they refuse or decide to work out a trade with the Mets, he can stay with the club where they’ll be free to send him to Triple A Buffalo—technical details culled from MLBTradeRumors.

On the bright side for the Mets, the way Emaus hit, it’s hard to see anyone claiming him and having to keep him on the big league roster; the Blue Jays may not be interested in taking him back either, so he’ll stay a Met.

I was skeptical when all this talk about Emaus began after the Mets claimed him. His minor league numbers are eye-catching, but lightning strikes like what happened with the Marlins and Uggla are exceedingly rare. Emaus did have an on base percentage .100 points higher than his putrid batting average, so he has ability to work the count and get on base; and his defense at second was better than advertised.

But what were the Mets expecting here?

Assistant GM J.P. Ricciardi drafted Emaus when he was the Blue Jays GM, so he knows him. Presumably the Mets front office wasn’t as excited about him as the numbers-crunchers were. It takes more than numbers to evaluate a player and perhaps Emaus can still be a productive big leaguer; he isn’t one now.

I understand the impatience of the Mets in this case; it’s a signal that they’re not beholden to a Rule 5 pick if he’s not performing up to big league standards; on the other hand, would it have hurt to give him another 40-60 at bats? He seemed overmatched, but if they liked him so much to give him the starting job out of spring training, he warranted a longer look that this.

The Mets will say all the right things: “We liked and still like Brad”; “He’s got a lot of ability, but needs more minor league seasoning”; “This is not a reflection on the player, but we need someone to help us now.”

All are reasonable. But they don’t make much sense in the long term scheme. This team is going nowhere in 2011. Brad Emaus or Turner playing second base isn’t going to affect fan attendance one way or the other. If the Mets truly believe in Emaus, they should’ve at least given him 20 more at bats. Who was it going to hurt?

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