Adam Rubin noted in a piece on Friday, that Sandy Alderson wants better arms in the bullpen going into next season. ”We need to have more quality arms in the bullpen,” Sandy explained.
“We never had a real strong bottom half of the bullpen. The key will be to have more arms, quality arms out there that we can rely on.”
My advice to Alderson this off-season? Ignore the voice in your head that says that you need to go out and sign some bullpen arms, and look in-house.
For the first time in a while, if we decided to go through an off-season without spending on the bullpen, I would not be that bent out of shape about it. First off, since Alderson seems to be working on a limited budget again, the money would be better served being put towards legitimate contract offers to guys like Jacoby Ellsbury or Jose Abreu.
Secondly, in terms of our in-house bullpen candidates, it’s been a while since we’ve had such a crop of talented relievers available. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Carlos Torres and Scott Rice were both quality depth signings and Torres could play a role with this team in ’14. That being said, although some of our arms are returning from injury, there’s a lot to be excited about.
Parnell should be back for Spring Training and had a 2.16 ERA in 50.0 innings pitched in 2013. He struck out 44 and earned 22 saves. With a WHIP of just 1.00, he was really turning potential into performance. New addition Vic Black has the potential to be a closer himself, so having him as a set-up man could work. Gonzalez Germen flashed some potential this year with a biting change-up and we saw flashes from one of my personal favorites, Jeurys Familia, as he returned late in the year.
Even past those guys, there are two potential future stars getting ready to break onto the scene really soon — Jack Leathersich and Jeff Walters. Walters, who broke the B-Mets record for single-season saves, is likely going to be added to the 40-man alongside the Leather Rocket. The hard-throwing lefty has a chance to be a mirror image of Billy Wagner when he finally makes his debut in Flushing. I wouldn’t count out Jacob deGrom, either.
The bullpen could be a real strength for us next year — and with Matt Harvey gone, it will need to be.
Thoughts from Joe D.
I totally agree with you here, Satish, although it’s not based on anything the bullpen accomplished in 2013. For the last two seasons prior to this one, the Mets had the worst bullpen ERA and BAA in the league. This season, while we did see some reliable arms emerge, the fact is we were still the third worst in both those categories. We also allowed far too many inherited runners to score as well.
What I did take away from this season’s bullpen is that I saw a lot of promise in Scott Rice and Gonzalez Germen and I believe we finally found an excellent long reliever in Carlos Torres. I need to see a much larger sample size from Vic Black before I throw him into that group, and I have real concerns about whether Bobby Parnell will be ready for Spring Training.
The two internal options I’m most excited about are Jeff Walters and Jeurys Familia. I believe both will become useful weapons in our pen and break camp with the Mets in April. Also, lets not forget the job Josh Edgin was doing before he went down with injury.
What the Mets need to do more than anything else with the bullpen is bring back LaTroy Hawkins. He’s the key to this whole thing. I don’t believe we have a true replacement for Parnell if he’s not ready to begin the season, but Hawkins has excelled in that capacity and deserves to be re-signed.