It’s something I had always wanted to see out of this bullpen, and finally it looks like it’s going to happen. Jerry Manuel has decided to give assigned roles to everyone in his bullpen. According to the new skip, here’s the official low-down…
Setup Reliever – Duaner Sanchez assumes control of the most prominent role in the bullpen after the closer, Billy Wagner. I’m not exactly sold on this selection, but the Mets currently have few options available. Sanchez has a 4.55 ERA and batters are hitting .295 against him.
Left-handed Specialist – Pedro Feliciano returns to the role in which he shined back in 2006. Feliciano currently has an outstanding 1.42 ERA against left-handed hitters this season. He is holding lefties to a .234 batting average.
Right-handed Specialist – I disagree with this role for Joe Smith. Smith actually has a higher 3.80 ERA against right-handed hitters this season than he does against lefties 3.00. I would have rather seen Heilman in this role, and I’ll explain why.
I have always wanted to see Aaron Heilman assume the right-handed specialist role. So far this season, Heilman has held right-handed batters to a 1.75 ERA, while allowing a 12.08 ERA to left-handed batters. In 25 innings pitched against right-handed hitters, he has allowed just 19 hits, 7 walks, and he has struck out 31 batters. The problem with Heilman has always been that he is thrown out there for 1 or 2 innings at a time when he really has no business pitching to a left-handed batter. It’s also the reason why he failed as a starting pitcher.
As for Scott Schoeneweis, I was surprised he wasn’t even mentioned. He actually is having one of the best seasons among all of the relievers this season. He currently has a 2.40 ERA and has allowed just 21 hits in 30 innings pitched. I am assuming that he would be our short reliever or 7th inning guy and backup setup guy.
Claudio Vargas has settled into the role as the long reliever for the Mets.
I do applaud Jerry Manuel for doing something that should have been done long ago. I think everyone will benefit from knowing what their jobs are. Hopefully, Duaner Sanchez, Joe Smith and Pedro Feliciano will each embrace their new roles and solidify what has been a very inconsistent bullpen.