While rumors of the Mets acquiring a top line starter still abound – Cliff Lee , Roy Oswalt and the rest of the 2010 cadre of possible trade deadline pickups – the acquisition of a reliever may be just as imperative on Omar Minaya’s wish list.
As of today the Mets have the 11th best bullpen ERA in the majors at 3.67. Unfortunately we tend to remember the implosions such as Francisco Rodriguez’ recent meltdown and the revolving door that has been the Mets set-up man.
“Perpetual” Pedro Feliciano and Fernando “Nightly” Nieve have both seen time as K-Rod’s set-up man as has journeyman and forty-something Elmer Dessens.
When you take into account the loss of Ryota Igarashi to a hamstring injury earlier this year and Hisanori Takahashi’s move to the rotation, the success the Mets bullpen has had so far is quite extraordinary.
There are a few options out there – some possibly more creative and complex than others – that can help bridge the gap to K-Rod in the 9th. Some of his options could include:
Chris Perez- Cleveland Indians
Perez has a career 3.62 ERA and currently is posting a 2.73 ERA for the lowly Cleveland Indians. One issue against the Mets acquiring Perez may be that he’s essentially been Kerry Wood’s backup this year and has saved 7 games for the Tribe so far. It would be difficult to pry a young and cheap ($423,800 – 2010) talent from Cleveland right now.
Will Ohman- Baltimore Orioles
Ohman’s line so far has been stellar especially considering where he’s been pitching. He’s posted an ERA of 2.84 with 13 holds for the Birds. He’s 32 and making 1.35 million this year and could definitely be “Perpetual” Pedro’s backup since both men are lefties. He’s not really a set-up type of arm I would want- preferably a power arm- but his 13 holds for the Orioles speaks for itself.
Evan Meek- Pittsburgh Pirates
Here’s another good arm hiding amongst a band of AAA major leaguers. He’s a young power arm who has a nasty 4 seamer that hits 95 regularly and has movement. He also features a cutter that he throws at around 92-93 in which Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says has “unfair biting” movement even against left handed hitters. Either way Meek is someone to watch out for, he’s young, talented and hungry. His 2010 stats .94 ERA in 48 innings with 44 k’s. Nasty.
Octavio Dotel- Pittsburgh Pirates
Who says you can’t go home? Second time’s the charm. Insert cliché here however Dotel is still dealing it and doing so also for those hapless Pirates. So far as the Pirates closer he’s saved 19 out of 22. The one problem with Dotel seems to be he excels more in the closer role than set-up. His best season’s came as a closer but even at the ripe old age of 36…the original Jenrry Mejia is still bringing it.
Brandon Lyon- Houston Astros
So far the one time closer for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Detroit Tigers has been used as the set-up man for Matt Lindstrom in Houston. So far so good is the line on Lyon as he’s put up 16 holds and has allowed only 1 homer which is saying a lot considering Houston’s Enron/Minute Maid park is a southern fried launching pad. Lyon is boasting a solid 3.52 ERA in 40 appearances.
Now my final option is the one that should fall into the creative and complex category I mentioned a while back.
David Aardsma- Seattle Mariners
Now of course we all have been brow beaten with Cliff Lee stories since what, early June? The story has that less than fresh feeling for most of us now but perhaps including Mr. Aardsma to the mix could revive what has become MLB’s version of the LeBron soap opera. David Aardsma is Seattle’s closer, and a pretty damn successful one at that. 2009 was his breakout season having saved 38 games for the Mariners. It says a lot considering he bounced from four different teams from 2004 to 2009 when he finally settled in Seattle.
Some may feel leery of a pitcher who’s been turned down by that many teams but the former 1st round pick (22nd overall) of the Giants has some major league chops that could garner some interest if a Mr. Lee trade ever becomes reality. His 2010 stats aren’t as stellar as last year’s but he has a respectable 16 saves in 20 chances. His control is his main issue and may be the main obstacle if he ever pitches in a Met uni. The Mets have enough issues with K-Rod’s control let alone having a set-up man with similar issues.
All in all I’m leaning on Evan Meek of Pittsburgh. His stuff is nasty and he’s just young enough to have a few years of upside going for him. How would he pitch under the bright lights and big city that is New York is anyone’s guess. He does have that unbalanced, intense closer’s mentality which would help tremendously. Either way I think he’s obtainable, at the right price.