The bullpen has been a major discussion virtually every day in Mets-world over the past few months. As a unit, they are clearly the worst in baseball, and the numbers back that up as well. We know that Sandy Alderson needs to acquire a reliever or two net off-season. However, the bigger question this winter will be: Who stays?
Despite the Mets having one of the worst bullpens in baseball, there are definitely some parts that can be salvaged from the rubble. Here are a few guys the Mets should consider bringing back next season.
Say what you will about the early-season inconsistencies from Francisco, but he has settled down and pitched well of late. Although he missed the end of June and early July, he came back on Saturday and looked fine. Before last night’s game, Francisco had posted a 2.00 ERA since June 1.
He’s not one of the best closers in baseball, but he’s decent. I would be perfectly fine with him sticking around next season as the closer. He’s not as expensive as some of the other high-profile closers and he’s also pretty good. If he can stay healthy, I want him in the bullpen for the 2013 season.
Parnell has finally settled into his role in the bullpen and looks like he could be a decent setup man. In the past, he just threw gas to get him by, but now he has looked like more of a pitcher this season, as opposed to a “thrower.” Combine that with the fact that he will be very cheap and you have someone to keep around.
Parnell is finally finding a place for himself. I wouldn’t trust him as a closer based on his past experiences, but he is a solid setup man for sure.
Ramon Ramirez has definitely not had his best season, but Sandy Alderson should bring him back net year if he is cheap. If he asks for a one-year deal for two to three million, I’d be perfectly fine with that.
Ramirez has a great track record as a relief pitcher, going all the way back to his age 24 season in 2006. No, he hasn’t been particularly great this year, but he has shown improvement and his track record is too big to ignore. Again, this is only if he won’t cost the Mets much.
Edgin, just 25, has been very impressive this season. Edgin, unlike past lefty relievers, throws very hard, with his fastball clocked at 95 MPH and a really good slider. Not only does he has the stuff to succeed, but so far, he has succeeded.
I’m very excited to Edgin’s future. He will be under team control for quite a few years. There really isn’t any reason why he shouldn’t be on next year’s roster.
I wrestled with the idea of including Jon Rauch on this list. He has a 2.45 ERA since June 1, after having a terrible April and May. However, he will likely get an offer to be a full-time close and he will probably take it. The Mets will probably still be on a tight budget this winter, and if Rauch is being offered closer’s money, Sandy Alderson won’t be able to match. I would like Rauch on the roster, but it’s unlikely that he would re-sign, especially if he keeps pitching so well.
Now, we are getting into the junk. We’ve gone through all the consistent (maybe “consistent” is a little generous) pitchers on the roster. The guys the are left are the Manny Acostas and Elvin Ramirezes of the world. Definitely guys not worth even thinking about re-signing this off-season.
Looking back at this list, I realized that most of the bullpen will probably be back next season, which I’m actually fine with. Sandy Alderson does need to find a legitimate setup man to go along with Parnell and Edgin, but the bullpen has a solid core going for it. It’s really been the guys on the fringes of the roster (i.e. Miguel Batista) who have hurt this team the most. Manny Acosta, for example, despite not being with the team for almost two whole months, is still second in all of baseball in runs allowed as a relief pitcher. That’s astonishing. Him, Batista, Elvin Ramirez, and others have also been awful with the Mets so far.
Hopefully, next year, the bullpen won’t be such a hot topic. Maybe we will be talking about the bullpen as a strength as opposed to a weakness.