National League teams traditionally field a seven-man bullpen. So let’s take a look at what the Mets currently have assembled:
If the team had to start the season with this crop of pitchers, I guess it would not be terrible. There is a decent mix of power and finesse arms as well as righties and lefties and guys who could pitch more than one inning.
But the success of this bullpen relies heavily on too many unproven pitchers, mainly Black, Familia, Edgin, Germen and Torres – not to mention that Parnell and Rice are not exactly guarantees.
The team brought in Kyle Farnsworth on a minor-league deal, and that’s fine to have some depth in the minors. But I don’t even consider him a legitimate option.
That’s why this team needs to sign at least one more bullpen arm to compete for a setup role. And even with Spring Training creeping up, there are still plenty of good available options.
Fernando Rodney, Joel Hanrahan, Ryan Madson, Kevin Gregg, Andrew Bailey, Carlos Marmol, and Francisco Rodriguez all have closing experience, which is a must given that Parnell is coming back for neck surgery.
Rodney is only a year removed from a dominant season, but since that’s the case, he might get a call to become a team’s full-time closer.
Marmol is a head case so forget him, and we’ve had enough of K-Rod in this town. And I’m not completely sold on guys like Madson, Gregg, Bailey and Betancourt.
Hanrahan intrigues me however. Yes, he’s coming off Tommy John surgery, but he was once a shutdown late-game option. He could be worth taking the risk.
Again, go back to the top of this post. If the Mets started the year with that seven-man bullpen, it would not be that bad.
But what if they strike gold with Rodney or Hanrahan? That really would lengthen the bullpen unit and would not tax the younger arms like Black and Familia.
I’m completely shocked that Rodney has not been gobbled up at this point in the offseason. It’s not as surprising with Hanrahan given his injury status.
But one of these guys could be the key to this bullpen. In that way, if an injury occurs to one of the other arms, a guy like Germen could step in on short-term basis – rather than being counted on to be a major bullpen contributor right away.