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The Mets need to clear roster room for fifth starter Livan Hernandez, who will make his Mets debut Saturday opposite Ricky Nolasco. And Jerry Manuel acknowledged Thursday that it's impractical to drop a reliever from the bullpen to make room. That option had been a consideration earlier in the week.
"Sometimes that guy never gets in a game, but at least you have that protection," Manuel said about carrying the extra reliever as a hedge against a starter getting knocked out early.
Mets officials insist they need OF Jeremy Reed, who can be optioned to the minors, as a defensive replacement for Daniel Murphy, leaving no apparent alternative to Anderson as the roster casualty. After hitting .210 last season, Anderson went 0-for-3 as a pinch-hitter against the Reds. He is owed $1.15 million this season.
Anderson's recent career has been a little odd. In his first two seasons in the majors, with the Phillies, he posted sub-.300 on-base percentages and it wasn't clear that he belonged in the majors at all. But at 27, he enjoyed his career season, batting .293/.337/.421 while playing second base, and it's that season that's essentially led to a 12-year career.
Of course, he's never played that well as a full-timer since that career season, but he again resuscitated his career, at 32, by slugging .513 with the Nationals and (briefly) the Dodgers in 2006. He was pretty good with the Mets in 2007, too. Then last year's disaster. I can't figure out if 2007 and '08 was a fluke, or if Anderson is capable of thriving when not asked to do much. I do suspect he'll get a shot somewhere as a pinch-hitter and jack-of-all-positions. And I can't help but admire his stick-to-itiveness.