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Mets bullpen needs to be better, says Alderson

In 2010, Omar Minaya’s last season as GM, Mets relievers were fifth in the National League with a 3.59 ERA.

The bullpen has a 4.31 ERA since Sandy Alderson was hired, which is second-worst in baseball during that time.

“The bullpen has not been good over the last several years,” Alderson said before Monday’s game. “It needs to get better.”

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

Well, I’m glad he understands the problem, because his approach to the bullpen the last three years was dreadful. This year, though, I think they have the right idea, thanks in large part to developing so many young pitchers. I also like Jose Valverde. I think he was misused last year. Terry Collins knows this, intends to adjust, and I think we’re going to be very happy with how it works out. Vic Black can be good, so long as he’s throwing strikes. And guys like Rafael Montero, Logan Verrett, Josh Edgin, Jake Leathersich, Jake deGrom and others, will give Alderson low-risk, high-reward options to mix and match during the next few years. Scouts rave about the potential of these arms, so I’m hopeful it can work like it has in St. Louis.

In the meantime, while Monday was bad, it was uncharacteristically bad. Yes, it was a blown save and lead, which we’re all too familiar with. But, the way it happened was not typical. Carlos Torres and Scott Rice rarely walk guys the way they did Opening Day, so I’m holding out hope it was an anomaly. Also, Jeurys Familia gave up two dink hits that could be outs any other night. There was a passed ball, and Bobby Parnell was clearly pitching with an injury. These are all things I’m willing to see as freak occurrences, at least to the extent that they’ll all occur, all the time, every game, every time a Mets reliever takes the mound. They’ll be better than Monday. How much better? I don’t know. But, they will be better than that… they have to be.


In the first three years as GM of the Mets, Alderson spent two-thirds of his free-agent money on relief pitchers, with only 10 of 39 relievers coming from his farm system >> Read more in Newsday.




84 comments
George Brezny
George Brezny

How? Smoke and mirrors? Only the bullpen needs fixing...how about baseball judgment from leadership.. 31 strikeouts... Only the bullpen? Wow...

Zach Ripple
Zach Ripple

Good to know he wants it to be better than second-worst in the Majors. Imagine setting the goal of being (gasp) in the top half? One day the bullpen will be a strength for this team, one day. Has been awful since 2008 when it prevented the Mets from being probably a 100 win team, or at least high 90s. Just can't be blowing lead after lead and expect to compete.  

mets41
mets41

they why doesn't Alderson go out n get the arms instead of the guys that are washed up or no one eles wants in their bullpen

Steve Cowit
Steve Cowit

was he talking about all of last year or just this 1 game and the last few spring training games

xplr
xplr

Our approach has been to fire minimum contracts at pitchers that are basically washed up. And then Sandy is amazed that this doesn't work?  He sounds like a guy on a diet who eats burgers and fries every day and can't understand why he's not losing weight.

inyifan
inyifan

With bullpen woes already glaring, why not look at Cordero? He had a great spring for Boston.

Albert E Lewis
Albert E Lewis

Horrible bullpen....but lets hope it gets better..would be nice if someone could step up and save some games.

Russ Sullivan
Russ Sullivan

Um no. gee pitched into the 7th inning on his first start of the season. The bullpen needs to be able to get 8-9 outs without a huge issue. These guys threw 8 balls in a row to walk in the tying run. And that was only the beginning. I said two years ago every single releiver needed to go. And I think that again this year. They need to put a little money into the bullpen. For once

Michael Zvirblis
Michael Zvirblis

Maybe the starters need to pitch longer, no? The Mets might play 500 baseball if the starters pitched nearer to the end of a game.

Kevin Joseph Patrick
Kevin Joseph Patrick

Alderson's first job when he got here was the revamp the bullpen. He tried to accomplish that by signing John Rauch & doling out a Minaya-like 2 year contract to Frank Francisco. He traded Angel Pagan to add another piece to the 'pen, Ramon Ramirez. Since then, each offseason has been full of quality bullpen pieces, yet he signs guys like Kyle Farnsworth & Jose Valverde. Sandy's job remaking the bullpen has been an absolute failure. He has signed guys on the back end of their careers, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle. He has been doing the same thing with position players, which has also led nowhere. He needs to realize that in order to win, you need to make smart, expensive investments in players that are not on the decline. I don't think that is his approach. Until he starts putting a winning product on the field, people aren't going to attend games. Period. Plain & simple. You need to spend money to make money in baseball. The Tigers are playing in a city that has been the hardest hit with the recent recession. The damn city filed for bankruptcy, the first time ever for a major US city. Despite that, the Tigers' front office & ownership spends money to put a championship-contending product on the field day in, day out. Not only do they spend money, but they trade players to upgrade at need positions (See, Fielder for Insler). Due to them putting a great product on the field, fans come out to the stadium & spend money. That allows the Tigers to continue to invest big dollars into the team. That is what the Mets need to do; it isn't the other way around, like Sandy has said.

archer41
archer41

The Newsday article pretty much lays out Sandy on the pen failures.  That said, I'd vote for bringing up the kids and not going for Madsen, Farnsworth, etc.  Not that the Mets are asking for my vote.

dock1985
dock1985

Don't you find it odd that Sandy is blaming the bullpen for not being good but not blaming himself for building this bullpen over the last 3 years?  Denial, it's not just a river in Egypt.  Make that comment while looking into a mirror Sandy.

Rich Gregg
Rich Gregg

Wait, what? 2nd worst bullpen over the last few years but Monday was an anomaly? This makes my head hurt to even think about it.

metstones
metstones

Cerrone are you freakin kidding me? How much are the Mets paying you to come up with this utter B.S.? "This year they have the right idea?" The bullpen this year is basically the same  as the past few years. Keep drinking the coolaid Cerrone and cashing the Mets/SNY checks.

Chad Michael
Chad Michael

Every bullpen is going to have a bad night, even the best of them.  I think that for this past game it was especially difficult for Mets fans on multiple levels.  Because it happened on the first game of the season (that is supposed to be a turn around and "90 win season") it obviously did not help seeing the Mets up to old antics we are all to familiar with.  Then to have Parnell go down with an injury immediately afterward is also frustrating since he is the clear closer and probably the best arm in the pen.  

Zach Goeringer
Zach Goeringer

I'd say easier said than done, but its not very often you come a across a fan base in which 75% could probably run the franchise better than the current FO.

Jason Grasso
Jason Grasso

If only Sandy knew someone who had the ability to make that happen.

cmetsfan
cmetsfan

Normally it's silly to root for stat compilers, but from now to July, maybe a little longer, it's fine.


Colon, Lannan, Dicek, Maybe Granderson, Youngs could all look really good on trade wire.


Meanwhile with Mejia, Montero, Syndagaurd,Harvey, Wheeler...potentially Flores, Degrom, Leathersitch, Nimmo,Smith,etc, big championship possibility by august or next season if Alderson negotiates a couple more turns.


Just have fun with it folkers. 

cver
cver

The bullpen looked a mess on Monday night.  I'll reserve judgment a bit.  I think the main thing here that might be better is that we have these kids that can come up.  And, of course, I don't mean putting Montero in the pen, but Jeff Walters and whoever else that can be ready, like hopefully Leathersich will find himself.  Having our AAA team in Vegas and the loss, for now, of Viola is a shame - and Get Better Soon, Frank Viola!!!

Brandon Lee
Brandon Lee

Come June the Mets need to bring up Montero, deGrom, and Syndergaard need to be called up and be used in the bullpen, barring injuries to the starters. 

My fear, and a logical one at that, is that Bobby is done for the year. Mets should sign Hanrahan to back up Valverde for his eventual downfall. 

In a few months I'd like to see the bullpen looking like:

Hanrahan - Black - Syndergaard - Montero - deGrom - Familia - Rice

kefhrny17
kefhrny17

Such a poorly run organization... 4 years of trash bin bargain shopping

hashburry
hashburry

Why does Alderson state the obvious and in such a manner that he has nothing to do with it?  He brought these guys in.  The bullpen is filled with his low budget reclamation projects that have no track record of success.  Why doesn't he ever take ownership of his own mess?  

openmind6
openmind6

Did Matt seriously list Chubbo Josh Edgin as a "low risk, high reward option"? That's funny.

brmets
brmets

"...his approach to the bullpen the last three years was dreadful. This year, though, I think they have the right idea, thanks in large part to developing so many young pitchers."

Huh?  As of today, in large part this is the same pen as last year plus Familia, Valverde and Farnsworth.  That is not "developing young pitchers" - that is the same process as in the past, namely, get retreads and hope to catch lightning in a bottle.  


tullydew
tullydew

Hey Sandy, put up or shut up.

The honeymoon is over!

Marc Seldin
Marc Seldin

Did Alderson just wake up from his 5 month vacation?

Zach Goeringer
Zach Goeringer

You have had 4 years to improve a bullpen Sandy. Each year you lead in a new group of misfits who can't get outs. Sheesh we haven't had a respectable bullpen since Duanar Sanchez got in a car accident.

TheJMan
TheJMan

Second-rate organization

4617818221
4617818221

Bring back Roush. I heard he got released

Amazin' Raisin'
Amazin' Raisin'

The incessant pandering to team management on this blog has gone from sad to comical.

Kenneth Meltsner
Kenneth Meltsner

As the years slowly pass Sandy is doing his best to make Omar Minaya look like Theo Epstein.

lindro88
lindro88

I don't think its money.  I think they need to take the approach the Dodgers and Cardinals have.  Use future starters in the pen.  Spending big money on older rp's very rarely works out.  If you look around the league, the best pens, are made up of home grown pitchers with big arms.  We finally have some of those.  Late inning rp's need to be able to get k's in big spots.  One guy we had in our system, who just signed a 15 million dollar deal this off season, is Joe Smith.  I hated when they traded him.  That guy was so clearly effective against right handers.  Now he gets lefty's out as well.  

lindro88
lindro88

They tried to get Gee through the 7th.  Collins knows a tired Gee is probably better than a fresh Torres.  Unfortunately it didn't work out.  Don't expect anything more than 6 plus out of Colon tonight.  Unless somehow he can keep his pitch count  very low.  He is a 90 pitch guy at this point.  I just hope those 90 are effective.  Somehow we can score a few runs off Gio.  This is a tough team to start the season against, because they can roll out 3 upper echelon starters.  Makes it more frustrating that they didn't seal the deal on Monday.  

dukewillie
dukewillie

@Kevin Joseph Patrick  No, no. Not our Mets. They want us to come pay and see their 2nd rate club, and then (they claim) they will spend it on acquiring better quality players. But I'll bet you that the $$ never goes back to getting better players. That's their SOP.

xplr
xplr

@Kevin Joseph Patrick  You are absolutely correct. This is what i have been saying for years. I'm amazed that people continue to drink the kool aid and trust this guy. 

lindro88
lindro88

@Kevin Joseph Patrick  Sandy doesn't set the budget.  I would imagine if he could sign higher priced guys he probably would.  I don't think Dombrowski makes the decision to give Miggy 250m  or whatever he got, without his owner deciding its ok.   

openmind6
openmind6

@RichGregg,

Matt learned a new word today and he wanted to use it.

openmind6
openmind6

The "whomever smelt it, dealt it" analogy comes to mind here.

hashburry
hashburry

@openmind6  I really don't think Matt has a full grip on what "low risk" actually implies.  Cheap does not mean low risk.  These guys are a risk to winning every time they take the ball.

Alderson hasn't shown any inclination to fix the problem he "understands".  He expects blood from a rock with this bunch.  And if Valverde is the new savior, and if Black "can throw strikes (which he has shown no sign of doing)" are the answers, this team is worse off than originally expected by most.

upstater
upstater

@brmets And the best guy in last year's pen was Hawkins, hardly a young guy.

BringBackDaveTelghe
BringBackDaveTelghe

@hashburry @openmind6 The Valverde thing kind of ticks me off.  The mouthpiece of this site expresses ad nauseum that it was misuse that caused Valverde's trouble.  If he did any research or put in any time on that he'd find Valverde abandoned his splitter last year from ineffectiveness and had no FB velocity.  Wait...the velocity on Monday was just what he had last year?? If it was as simple as warming up too much why didn't he pitch once he was dumped by Detroit?