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The Brad Emaus cost/benefit analysis

Brad Emaus during a spring training workout at

Brad Emaus during a spring training workout at Digital Domain Park in Port St. Lucie. (Feb. 23, 2011) Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

The Brad Emaus news broke as I had a free moment yesterday, before my family left our home for a seder on Long Island. So I scanned the Twittersphere, and there was, predictably, some mocking/ripping/chiding of the Mets for the whole Emaus experiment.

I get it. But I don't agree with it.

Sure, on the surface, it doesn't reflect well on Sandy Alderson and company:

December 2010: "Hey, let's get this guy in the Rule 5 draft!"

March 2011: "Hey, he's terrible in spring training, but let's give him the everyday job at second base!"

April 2011: "Hey, it's a small sample size, but he sucks and so do we, so let's dump him!"

(curtain closes)

To me, however, you have to evaluate every move (or series of moves) on its own scale. Every decision - whether you're running the Mets and choosing your second baseman or wavering between Trident Splash gum and Altoids at the airport gift shop - comes down to a cost/benefit analysis.

Let's take the entirety of the Emaus-Mets relationship, lasting about four and a half months, and break it down. Let's start with the benefits:

That's easy. There were none. Unless you think the Mets created good will by allowing the media to use a favorite word, "squatty," guilt-free.

Now let's go over the costs:

1. Eamus played poorly. According to the Baseball-Reference.com calcuations, he tallied -.2 Wins Above Replacement. Which is to say, he played worse than the proverbial replacement player that supposedly is obtainable through minimal effort.

2. The Mets paid him about $40,000 plus meal money during spring training and the Mets' nine road games.

3. Emaus cost Daniel Murphy and Justin Turner at-bats for two and a half weeks.

4. His presence made it easier for the Mets to cut ties with Luis Castillo, who might have provided the best production among the team's second-base candidates.

Anything else?

Seems to me that this whole second-base melodrama featured pretty low stakes. It's not like the Mets are a team destined to win 88 to 90 games, for whom every decision could make the difference between a playoff berth and staying home in October. It's not like Castillo is raking somewhere else; he's nowhere else.

So they used a Rule 5 pick on him because Alderson's lieutenant J.P. Ricciardi liked him in Toronto.

They gave him the starting job despite a poor spring training because no one else stood out, anyway.

And they designated him for assignment, less than a month into the regular season, because they weren't seeing sufficient signs of that potential and yes, as Alderson admitted, they're off to a terrible start and trying to improve.

As David Lennon mentioned in the column I linked above, Alderson's swiftness in transactions has been refreshing, in the wake of Omar MInaya's tortoise-like ways (which were influenced by ownership's frequent deliberation). 

The same goes for Alderson's process. I understand every step of the Emaus saga. Sure, it doesn't look good now that the Mets gave him a chance.

But the cost was minimal. Compare it to some of Minaya's doozies - not even the Castillo or Oliver Perez signings, but something like last year's beauty of making Jenrry Mejia a reliever. That cost Mejia at least a half-season of development, maybe a full season. 

--The Mets lost to Houston. There's not even much to say about the Mets' on-field performance at this point, is there?

--Bobby Parnell is ailing.

--The Mets hope that Angel Pagan can benefit from Jason Bay's return.

--I agree with Joel Sherman, who writes that the Mets' awful start is for the best. Let there be no ambiguity come June. Jose Reyes should definitely draw some strong interest on the trade market, Carlos Beltran will if he remains healthy and Francisco Rodriguez will, too - especially if the Mets limit his games finished so he can join a contending club, go all out for a few months and not be at risk of reaching his $17.5 million vesting option for next year.

Thanks to Adam Rubin's Mets morning briefing for the link to Joel's column.

--The Yankees lost a tough one in Toronto. Forget about Mariano Rivera's blown save. What intrigued me the most was just how bad Ivan Nova looked in relief. I understand why Joe Girardi would call on him. The other options (Boone Logan, Hector Noesi and Lance Pendleton) weren't very intriguing.

--Alex Rodriguez missed his second straight game and said he hopes to return tonight.

--The Angels designated Brandon Wood for assignment. likely bidding farewell to a top prospect who never blossomed. Wood just never looked comfortable at the plate during his time in the big leagues. Some other club will probably give him another shot, but remember, Wood is 26 now. He'd be quite the late bloomer if he were even to approach the sort of numbers that were projected for him.

--Rob Neyer links to a column by a gentleman named Richie Whitt, who rips Colby Lewis for missing a start to attend the birth of his child.

I strongly, strongly disagree with this (and with Neyer, who seems to support Whitt). Sorry, but baseball fans don't have the right to control their players' lives to this extent. Whitt wants Lewis to schedule his wife's babies during the offseason? Good grief.

Baseball is a lucrative business with high stakes and high prices, but how about a little perspective, please? Missing your child's birth is no small thing. And, going back to our cost/benefit analysis thing, at the cost of making your team shuffle its starting rotation for essentially a day or two? Seems reasonable. The benefit is the Rangers have a happier employee.

--Contest later today.

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