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How Can the Mets Fix the Bullpen?

May 17th, 2014 at 12:07 AM
By Steve Popoloski

It's been a busy week for the New York Mets' transaction wire, as nine players have been either called up or sent down in the past seven days. Change was imminent, as the ballclub has been struggling mightily in May, posting a 4-11 record following Friday night's loss to Washington. The biggest move in the bullpen came on Thursday, as veteran Kyle Farnsworth, who had been closing games as recently as Monday, was cut in favor of rookie hurler Rafael Montero, who would join the starting rotation.

Farnsworth, 38, had actually been one of the Mets better relievers, going 3-for-4 in save attempts while posting a 3.18 ERA in nineteen appearances, third most on the team. However, his record was a lousy 0-3 and he struck out only ten batters while walking six. While the organization chose to outright Farnsworth to AAA Las Vegas, he can and likely will, refuse assignment to become a free agent, with former Met GM Jim Duquette reporting that Philadelphia and Cincinnati are in the mix for his services. 

With the move, the Mets will save about $750K thanks to the "advanced consent" waiver Farnsworth signed coming out of spring training. Thanks to that waiver, the club is only liable to pay him for the first 45 days of the season and Thursday was the final day they could have made the cut to save the additional salary. With the team spinning it's wheels, no time is better than now to take a look at some new blood and that ultimately factored into the decision as well, although I don't necessarily agree with it 100%.

With the team not contending for the playoffs this year, why not give their young arms a little extra time to develop, especially with a Mets team that can't hit. Jacob DeGrom was excellent in his debut Thursday and ended up taking a 1-0 loss because the lineup is pathetic and couldn't score a single run in the two Subway Series games at Citi Field. I can't wait to see how Montero, DeGrom and Syndergaard pan out, but I don't think this is the right time to be showcasing the farm system.

I like the decision to make Jenrry Mejia the closer, although Terry Collins needs to pick someone and stick with it. Guys shouldn't be arriving at the ballpark, unsure of what their role is on a given day, especially with a staff that's getting younger by the day. If Mejia falters, lesson learned and Kevin Gregg is still on the free agent market, holding out for a closing gig. Dice-K has proven that one time through the lineup is okay, so have him in the 7th-8th inning role, able to go both innings when needed. Carlos Torres and Scott Rice have both been used a ton already in middle relief but for the most part have been alright, as long as Collins' doesn't abuse them to the point of Pedro Feliciano-esque ineffectiveness. Jeurys Familia and Gonzalez Germen have shown signs of being decent parts of the bullpen moving forward while Josh Edgin will look to prove himself in what's really a make-or-break year for the lefty, now at age 27 and in his third season of part-time duty with the big club.

I was hoping the Mets would make an offer to Joel Hanrahan, but as usual, the $1M/1 Year price tag was too high, so he signed with the Tigers, whose bullpen is also trash, as he looks to embark on a comeback tour from Tommy John surgery. With little else left on the free agent market, this is where Sandy Alderson needs to be making small deals for relievers or failed starters who have fallen out of favor with their respective teams. While the Mets have had more Brandon Lyons and Shawn Marcums as of late than LaTroy Hawkins', they can't rely solely on rookies and prospects to do it all and for a player trying to redeem himself for 2014 and beyond, the Mets are an excellent proving ground. Part of a rebuild is finding those journeymen looking for a place to really take root, which for the Mets, that usually comes at a discount price, something they're always looking for. 

Tags: Baseball, Carlos Torres, Gonzalez Germen, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Josh Edgin, Kevin Gregg, Kyle Farnsworth, LaTroy Hawkins, MLB, New York, New York Mets, Sandy Alderson, Scott Rice, Terry Collins

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