Who Will Be The Most Important Piece To The 2012 Bullpen?

An article by posted on February 20, 2012

The biggest and most notable additions to the 2012 Mets roster were added to the bullpen this off season by GM Sandy Alderson.  The void Krod left was much larger than Sandy originally anticipated, especially when players like Jason Isringhausen and Bobby Parnell failed to get the job done with any type of consistency what so ever.

The big additions were to back end of the Pen. Frank Francisco was added on a two year deal worth $12 million, John Rauch was signed for 1 year and a shade under $4 million, and Ramon Ramirez was acquired in the Angel Pagan deal. So of the 3 mentioned, who will be the most valuable to the team this season?

I like Rauch, but to me he is more of a 7th inning guy, and the real battle will be between Ramirez and Francisco.

I like Frank Francisco a lot; I think he is going to do a very good job for us as our closer. He was a solid closer for both Texas and Toronto, although he only really closed games for 1 season with each team. Even though he has never saved more than 30 games in a season, I believe he will succeed here in New York as well.  What makes him a good closing candidate is his ability to miss bats and not give up hits.  Since he came into the Majors back in 2004, he has not had a season in which he gave up more hits and did not strikeout out more batters than innings pitched. He has a career 3.72 ERA and 1.29 WHIP, and he has 49 saves, but has blown 21. He also pitched a few seasons as a set up man and has racked up an impressive 66 holds, showing that he is good in pressure situations.

Ramon Ramirez is coming over from the Giants who have had one of the best bullpens in the league over the past few seasons.  Ramirez was a bit overshadowed by some of his teammates in San Fran, Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo and I’m sure you heard of a guy by the name of Brian Wilson. As a result he became expendable as the Giants who have been public about their need for offense, decided Pagan was a good enough fit to trade away one of their assets.

Ramirez initially broke in with Colorado, and Kansas City before moving on to Boston were he began to make a name for himself. He has bounced around a bit for a guy who has been so good, but that just the nature of the game today.

His numbers over the past few seasons speak loudly for themselves as he just began to dominate for the Giants.  He came over mid-season from Boston in 2010, and in 27 innings sported a 0.67 ERA and 0.89 WHIP.  In 2011 he pitched to a very impressive 2.62 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, with 11 holds, just 54 hits allowed and 66 strikeouts in his 68 innings of work.

At just 30 years old he is young and has a power arm.  He may end up starting the season as the 7th inning guy, but for my money he should be the opening day set up man. Should Francisco struggle at any point, don’t be surprised if you see Ramirez get his first real shot at closing games.

Who do you think is the most important piece?

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