Opinion: Do the Mets have a boom-and-burn approach to their bullpen?

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

The bullpen started the season pitching poorly, then they were amazing, and now they’re back to being bad.

I used to think the talent level was the main culprit leading to the bullpen’s inconsistency, but I’m starting to see a trend with Terry Collins that is cause for concern…


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Collins seems to run his bullpen by swarming the hot hand. I don’t know if this is his call or something designed by Sandy Alderson. It can work well. However, when guys get overworked or become cold, it feels like he has no options to turn to.

Prior to Monday’s game, Collins announced that Jeurys Familia and Carlos Torres were both unavailable, due to heavy workloads during the last week. Meanwhile, as Familia and Torres seemingly pitched every inning lately, Jose Valverde is nowhere to be found.

Later Monday, in the eighth inning, Collins turned to Daisuke Matsuzaka, who has done well regularly pitching in relief for the first time in his career. However, in the last three days, Matsuzaka has warmed up three times and pitched it two games, all while nursing a sore calf. Naturally, he had no control and blew a three-run lead, which eventually turned into a loss. This is probably too much work in a short amount of time for a guy who is used to preparing for and pitching every fifth day.

It’s a work in progress, I understand. This is usually the case for teams early in the year. Managers need to test their bullpen’s ability, workload and preparation to help guide their usage later in the season.

The thing is, I don’t like how Collins (and Alderson) seem to be locking in on two or three relievers during a set chunk of time, burning them out, while ignoring other options. I’m not going to say this is wrong, because I don’t know the reasoning behind it. But, from my sofa, I see a bullpen with limited talent repeatedly in situations where they’re either doing well, but about to be burned out, or they’re on the shelf and likely out of sync.

In other words, how is any bullpen supposed to click on all cylinders when it isn’t allowed to get their collective cylinders clicking?




156 comments
kretgar
kretgar

Like I said in another section.  If we had more than a junior high school level bullpen - we'd be leading the NL East.  THAT would bring in far more money than the Wilpon's would lose if they brought some of these arms up before "Super two".  Yes they would lose a year of free agency on them - but the money they would make with better attendance by WINNING would more than cover it.

cerrone   alderson isaccountable fire him---bring up young people   get damn ss---pick 2 pitchers plus ey===and catcher make a damn trade.a moron can do this.bring up backman

MMIAA
MMIAA

God for bid Cerrone got an interview with TC and actually did some research for his post.

lindro88
lindro88

They need better pitchers.

crimsondad
crimsondad

Terry is a lousy in game manager with handling a pitching staff and his in game changes. That said the team seems to respect him and play hard for him.


I never thought he should be brought back since i felt we truly needed a new start and a new voice in the clubhouse.I assume he was retained since he was the cheap and known option and i think they fear Backman's relationship with the fans and the fact that he's not a yes man which is clearly what they want.


We all know this ownership and they're hired frontman Alderson aren't interested in spending any money even limited to improve.


 Why didn't we try and bring in a proven reliever like Joe Smith or take a shot at Hanrahan .Again to beat a fead horse an investment of maybe 20 million dollars would have brought Drew at short and Fernando Rodney in the pen and still have kept us at 100 million in payroll still mid pack at best.


 Per Cots baseball contracts we now sit at just under 80 million with Ike's contract gone. 27TH out of 30 overall in MLB.Even Oakland spends more.

Andrew Garber
Andrew Garber

This is the trend throughout baseball. It's up to the GENERAL MANAGER (Sandy Harvardson) to make sure the bullpen is stocked with fresh, competent arms so this doesn't happen.

thwacker
thwacker

Maybe the bullpen coach doesn't give Collins good info on who looks good that night and who is cold in warmup.  Collins follows a formula on righty-lefty and who hasn't pitched in a few games - you have to go with who looks good.   Manuel and Randolph did the same thing and cost us a lot of late losses.

Pat Brady
Pat Brady

I've been saying that for a while. They overwork certain guys until they're no good anymore. It's not JUST been Collins either. Look what they did to Feliciano. Look at Rice last year. The guy had never had anywhere CLOSE to that many appearances. Before him it was Byrdak. They use SOME guys until their arms fall off and then use other guys so sporadically that they struggle with their command. THis was pre-Collins but look at how Manuel used Mejia. 

bitencurl
bitencurl

Yeah, one maybe two relievers have really known their role under Terry Collins. If we win less than 80 again this year he better be gone, Alderson should too but he won't.

Dice-K, Matsuzaka, Rice, Valverde, Torres are all absolute scrap heap options. We can't keep running these clowns out there. Torres is OK but not when he is your go-to guy. Rice is wild as all hell.

Stretch out the arms in the minors until early June then the pen should be Montero, deGrom, Matz, Familia, Germen, Torres, and Rice as a 2nd lefty would be good with a better manager.

heatcoach
heatcoach

You're only noticing this now?  This has been Collins' modus operandi since he's been here. If you go down the list of relievers he has burned out since the start of his tenure you will see a lot of bodies on the side of the road.  These players are used days on end and then are never the same.  His overuse of these hurlers has ended some of their careers and cost the team games over the past few years.  But, I don't want to stop at Collins.  Warthan is also to blame.  He should step up and take more control over his staff. 

heynow20
heynow20

Does anyone know how many pitches Dice-K threw in the 8th inning? I swear watching that game, they kept flashing to Dike-K warming up in the pen and when you combine the pen session with the 8th inning, he's got to be close to 80 pitches...that's just stupid.

rstpigeon
rstpigeon

We're looking at a team that has 5 starters, 7 relievers. I often disagree with Terry but I also think we're talking a lot of fragility out there. Maybe the Mets need to look at other ways to deal with relief pitching. Everyone takes for granted that there needs to be a LOOGY, a closer, a setup man - but the game survived a 100 years without that. Different kinds of arms could be brought to bear. Sturdier, aggressive types like McGraw, McDowell, Sparky Lyle, John Smoltz - guys who can come out of the pen for 120 innings a year.


Every pitcher has the same job - induce poor contact (or make them swing and miss), keep runners off base, keep base runners from scoring. It goes on until the last out of every game.


Terry's managing a high-tech, modern bullpen of narrow specialists - but he doesn't have the talent, he can only treat them like a modern bullpen and hope they'll end up playing like one. Maybe, the organization has some other types of pitching talent that will work.

Kenneth Meltsner
Kenneth Meltsner

In the words of the great Elvis Costello, I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused. Am keeping an informal count of games blown by the bullpen which the team should have won. Currently stands at four. Which means the team would not be 20-11, as opposed to 16-15 (and one game out of the cellar). Blame Sandy. Blame Terry. Blame Canada. But just FIX IT!

stage52
stage52

It is hard  for a team to win when your Manager does more damage than the opposition

stage52
stage52

The common denominators through all this are Terry Collins and Dan Warthan.  Maybe it is not the pitchers at all but the rather poor guidence and mismanagement of the bullpen by them.  I do not think it is possible to see so many pitchers fail without looking at who is managing them also. Whatever Dan says to the Pitcher on the mound does not stop the next pitch from screaming over the outfield wall and Terry's choices on when to relieve a pitcher who is clearly done have been the big mistakes in most of these  games we should have won.

mi
mi

torres is hurt lol, atta boy terry keep using torres and german multiple innings down 10 but cant make a pitching change to save your life when its needed, how many game does terry have to lose and how many pen guys does he have to burnout in bad spots to get fired

I see the Rays released Heath Bell. Sandy, another has been is available...

stage52
stage52

Terry Collin's is as worthless to a bullpen as a Fireman that shows up to put out a fire after it has already burnt down to the houses foundation.  Both Terry and Jerry before him are and was lousy at Bullpen Management.

adam
adam

This bullpen stinks. Not one of them would make the roster on a decent team. TC has done an awful job managing them, last night was possibly his worst yet, and Sandy has failed every year trying to build a quality pen. I'd like to know Sandys "approach" to relief pitching! We have a offense that isn't great, so you have to figure we're going to be in a lot of close games right?????? Coupled with the fact we have a solid rotation, that's even more reason to believe we're going to be in a lot of close games????? Wtf!? It's so infuriating to watch. Literally almost smashed my iPod last night watching this crap unfold. I'm sick of TC and Sandy. Put Montero and Degrom in the pen now!!! So sick of Sandy and his belief that he's the smartest guy in the room. You're not!!! Billy Beane made you, along with Mulder, Zito, and Hudson. Now beat it!!

BringBackDaveTelghe
BringBackDaveTelghe

Say the Mets had between an average to above average pen right now....This team may be 6 or 7 games above .500...figuring about 3 of those collapses go the other way. 

As many holes as the offense has, they've still been scoring enough runs to be competitive.....the starting pitching has been largely solid (which is saying something considering two guys are above a 5 era).

The point is this CAN be fixed and it shouldn't be hard. 

Eric Slater
Eric Slater

This problem has spanned two FO's at this point.  The bad bullpen karma started in full force in 2007 (no, I won't reference Duaner Sanchez's injury in 2006 as the beginning).  It doesn't matter who is trotted out to pitch, we get essentially the same result.  Hard to fathom that this sort of problem could go on for so long.

rstpigeon
rstpigeon

They sure do. The relievers let the other team go "boom" with the bats and the Mets' get "burned". It's a year to build on, let's bring up the young guns and see what happens. I'll bet bringing up DeGrom, Montero, or Syndergaard wouldn't diminish this year's win total of 74 games or so. But, at least, we'd get some clue as to whether there's more hope than hype around the young arms.

ken1010
ken1010

A team trying to win would have put DeGrom and Montero in the bullpen already, and perhaps had Syndergaard starting, and put Mejia there too.  But we have to wait until June for that to happen to save money three years down the road, avoiding the super 2 deadline.

Ed Yano
Ed Yano

Everything Sandy has tried in theBP has not worked with the exception of Torres.While I understand the desire for veterans late in games,we just don't have the right guys.Time for something different.If Familia has the "best stuff" makes him the closer (on the job training)'Torres has been the most effective he gets the 8th,Rice for the lefties,Germane and Black for7th.Just throw them all in the pool and see who can swim.I think I could live with a blown save by someone we think can is learning and can get better more then by a guys who couldn't save games in their prime and are well past that.We can't keep trying to get back end BP guys through FA,so let's try something different do develop from within.

Nicholas Vargas
Nicholas Vargas

Note to Sandy, please address the bullpen ASAP. I need to see a statement made by improving the roster throughout this season. I want to see more stability in the back end of this bullpen.

hankincolo
hankincolo

btw, if you're not going to use Valverde (and I don't blame Terry for not wanting to call on him), then Dfa him and try someone who might have a shot at getting batters out. 

hankincolo
hankincolo

De Grom anyone? When is he ready? Must we wait until June and the articles about bringing up talented pitchers in the minors?

No one appears to be ready to run away with this division. What are they waiting for? Oh yeah, an extra year of control on a player's contract. You want fans to show up? You have to spend some money on the contracts of the supporting role players, i.e. Bullpen pitchers. 

Matthew Shea
Matthew Shea

The biggest issue I have is why Mejia and DiceK pitched to as many batters as they did in those 2 games. Up 6-0, no pitcher should be left in to give up 8 runs. It was clear last night that DiceK had nothing from the first batter on. I am indifferent on Collins but both games could have been won if decisions were made faster.

makiberg
makiberg

It's always the same thing.  Frank Frank and Rauch.  Valverde and Farnsworth.  Daisuke and one lefty (John Lannan doesn't count), Rice who has thrown in 100 games over the last year.    Why not employ two or three shifts of relievers?  Get guys from AAA,  AA and even A.  Let them throw a few innings.  Mejia clearly can't pitch to anyone more than twice per game.  Let him close. Promote Montero.  Let Dice-K be the swing man.  Bring up Vick Black already.  Bring up the kid they got for Ike in the PTBNL deal. 

TC and Sandy don't have easy jobs in the NY spotlight, but this part should be easy.  Sheesh.

Jerry Colfer
Jerry Colfer

It is easy to take shots at TC and Warthen (and I have vented a few times), but let's be reasonable. Losing Parnell shifted a lot of potential roles and having one lefty (Rice who has done a decent job) limits TC's moves, Torres has been solid, Familia is coming along nicely, has closer stuff and Germen, Farnsworth have been spotty, but overall fairly effective. What can you do when you have no left handed relief beyond Rice? Trying Valverde was a decent move, but it has failed and why he is not released is mind numbing. Talking about moving Montero and DeGrom to relief, but not actually doing it is confusing. Not moving Vic Black back up would make sense, but it also doesn't happen.


This is on Sandy's Front Office. We needed a real closer alternative and we need to move Valverde. If you had a closer the rest of the pen could work. Without one we are working without a full deck.  

Jerry Colfer
Jerry Colfer

Torres has been good and Rice was supposed to be the lefty specialist, not the only lefty. I agree on Montero and DeGrom, but Matz is a bit away. Vic Black should have been here a week ago.

Losing Parnell exposed how thin we are. I would prefer Familia to close vs Farnsworth. Agree that TC didn't define roles, but to a large extent he has been short all season.

DiceK should be a spot starter and long relief.

Alan F
Alan F

@Kenneth Meltsner Add blame to the Wilpons.  The ultimate blame goes to them.  They write out the checks, or in this case they do not.  How they started this season off without a real major league shortstop, three mediocre first basemen, and no real bullpen is beyond me.  And tiresome.  I will not buy a ticket to the games until real ownership shows up and puts some real money into this team.  Not the bargains Alderson ball seems to like.  And while I am at the money, why not re-sign Latroy?  Byrd?  They made both into millionaires, but were afraid to pay them.  Cause they were too old?  What's Valverde, about 43?

strato
strato

So why have the starting pitchers been so good if Warthen is so bad? Does he forget how to instruct only when talking to relief pitchers? Blaming the pitxhing coach for a lack of talent due to cheapskate owners is assinine

Kenneth Meltsner
Kenneth Meltsner

Saw Heath Bell pitch against Yankees. The guy has NOTHING left. Sandy Alderson on line two!

stage52
stage52

Forget that. Heath Bell does not like the Met's since they let him go before he got good  for awhile

mi
mi

@BringBackDaveTelghe  montero and degrom should be in the pen, or montero in the rotation and mejia in the pen, its really not that hard

Kenneth Meltsner
Kenneth Meltsner

@Eric Slater Yes, it was the 'Dominican Food' that started this whole downward spiral. Well, that and some truly brain-dead front-office work. How do you sign Guillermo Mota TWICE?

BringBackDaveTelghe
BringBackDaveTelghe

@Eric Slater Makes perfect sense.  There's two ways you can get your pen built up in a hurry.  Promote good young arms that are fringe starters that excel as bullpen guys or go and spend on pricy relievers.

Spending doesn't always help...as we've seen time and time again.  Our minor league pitching wasn't very deep until the last couple of years.  We're at the point now where some of these guys can start being graduated to help us up here.

hankincolo
hankincolo

I don't mind making sure the tender Young Noah is ripe for the majors. But let's go with DeGrom and Montero. Bring them up and let them learn.  They have careers ahead of them, others in the pen do not.  

Bob G
Bob G

@Jerry Colfer  When in the last 25 years have the Mets worked with a full deck? 

metfaninva
metfaninva

@Jerry Colfer  

Agreed.  Meija probably to pen as well.  Collins is dangerous because he rides a hot guy till he is worn out.  Rice was good last year but was over used.  This is one of my main objections for Collins as manager of the future.  We have a lot of good pitching coming up....let's be Cardinal-like and give them big league experience.  

stage52
stage52

@strato When is the last time you have seen Warthan come out to the mound and good things happen?  Warthan had a lousy 2 year career in the bigs and is not that good of a pitching coach.  Ask any of the pitchers that are now somewhere else and doing well. 

BringBackDaveTelghe
BringBackDaveTelghe

@hankincolo I understand Syndergaard not bring ready and that promoting him early could cost $8+M in the coming years.  A guy like DeGrom makes less sense to me...we're just talking Super 2 at this point, he clerly is ready and putting him in the 5 spot or moving Mejia to the pen for him makes perfect sense.

dgstrat
dgstrat

@Joe Wenzel  Farnsworth and Valverde are only Major League pitchers because of the Mets.   they didn't have jobs previously.

Jerry Colfer
Jerry Colfer

@dgstrat B4 Arm surgery Farnsworth was good so taking a flier on him wasn't bad. You are right, he probably struggles to make another team.