It’s obvious the Mets need to make some changes in the bullpen, but how to go about doing it may pose some interesting dilemmas for Omar Minaya.
It’s clear that the fans demand the immediate departure of Guillermo Mota, but I don’t really see the Mets eating the final year of his contract. As it stands now, with the Aaron Sele filing for free agency, the Mets have at least one opening. Some say we should just let Orlando Hernandez slide into that spot and while it probably upgrades the bullpen, somehow I don’t think it will be enough of an improvement.
Yesterday, David Riske filed for free agency after posting a solid season for the lowly Kansas City Royals. The 32-year old, right hander pitched 70 innings and had a 2.45 ERA while striking out 52 batters. Middle relief pitchers are so hard to predict because they tend to be so inconsistent in their careers, but Riske seems to the type of guy the Mets should roll the dice on. His career ERA is an impressive 3.40 which looks even better when you considered he has compiled that pitching solely in the American League.
Another option that might help the Mets is former Cubs starter Kerry Wood. Obviously he has some risk due to his injury plagued career, but the reward could be higher than any other option out there. Last season, Wood made a successful adjustment to pitching out of the bullpen and went 1-1 with a 3.33 ERA in 22 relief appearances. The former rookie of the year acted as the Cubs setup man and electrified Cubs fans with his still devastating arsenal of pitches. The Mets might be able to get him on the cheap, and the Mets could surely use some of his star power right now.
Are there other options? Of course, but each one comes with their own special set of problems and risks.
The Mets are covered well with left handers Scott Schoeneweis, Pedro Feliciano, and of course, Billy Wagner. We need to get a couple of reliable right handers to join Aaron Heilman in the bullpen.
If you’re going to roll the dice this off season on the bullpen anyway… these two right-handed pitchers would be a good gamble in my opinion.