Say what you will about the defense in yesterday’s 7-6 loss in Washington, but the bullpen was to blame. And this isn’t the first time. They have struggled since the beginning of this season and need help. Badly.
Ironically, the bullpen was the only thing the front office spent money on this year- signing Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch, as well as trading for Ramon Ramirez. Each of these three pitchers- who make up the heart of the bullpen and are critical to winning- are struggling. Even Rauch, who we were praising in the beginning of the year, has a 6.75 ERA over his past 12 innings pitched. Now, the bullpen is becoming a problem in almost every close game.
There needs to be some restructuring in regards to roles in the ‘pen. Bobby Parnell needs to get some more work, and I think Ramon Ramirez needs to get less. Miguel Batista can’t be used in the seventh and eighth innings. Miguel Batista is not a setup man. I’m not even sure he’s good enough to be a long man.
But more importantly, the Mets need help from outside. They need at least one, but probably two more arms to make the bullpen an asset instead of a liability. I’m not asking for Sandy Alderson to go out and get a whole new, high-priced closer. Just a setup man or two who can be counted on to be consistent.
Two names that I like in particular are Brad Lincon and Vinnie Pestano. Both are 27 year-old righties who are having very good seasons this year. Lincon has a 1.04 ERA and 0.923 WHIP this season with the Pirates. He can go multiple innings, therefore giving the Mets an excuse to finally release Miguel Batista. Pestano, on the other hand, is your classic set up man. He has pitched almost exclusively in the eighth inning for the Indians this year, pitching in some tight spots befor Chris Perez and pitching well. He has a 2.38 ERA and has 12.3 K/9 this year.
Neither of these players are closers, and neither are on teams likely to stay in their respective division races this summer, so it won’t be too hard to pry Lincon and Pestano away from their teams. A trade for one may be the perfect opportunity to dump Andres Torres if the Indians or Pirates want a bat off the bench.
The possibilities are endless and Lincon and Pestano are certainly not the only pitchers the Mets could target. But I think we all agree that they need to target someone in order to stay in the NL East race. You can’t win without a bullpen.