Q&A: MetsBlog and Minaya on the Bullpen

Matthew Cerrone, from MetsBlog:  The most-popular topic sent in to me on e-mail was the bullpen, which I am sure is no shock to you.  Basically, a lot of people referenced the Rays, noting how they were the worst bullpen in the league last year, but were able to be one of the best this year.  So, it’s possible that a team can turn it around.

In short, people are wondering, is there anything that you can learn from other organizations, like the Rays, that you can apply to the Mets?  You know, ‘picking up a player off the scrap heap,’ as they say, or refusing to give long-term contracts, as the results seem to be so sporadic from year to year?

Omar Minaya:  The Rays are a great point.  Also, if I’m not mistaken, the Phillies had a pretty bad bullpen for the last couple of years.  Bullpens are made up of guys that are hot and cold and they are hard to predict – you do the best you can.  The fact that we lost our closer, who we knew would be steady, that is something that we have to take into account.

It’s hard to predict any bullpen.  My belief is that you have to bring in good arms; you have to bring on guys that are able to go take the ball on back-to-back days and sometimes three days in a row.  All bullpens are works in progress.  The reality is, while there are some special guys like Mariano Rivera, look at (Brad Lidge), and look at the closer for the Rays, some of these guys were almost out of baseball three years ago.  So, it is a hot-and-cold thing, but I do believe in order to win championships you’ve got to have a bullpen, and you do the best you can to put it together.  Unfortunately, for us, this year, our number one guy got hurt, in Billy, and other guys we counted on, Duaner Sanchez and Aaron Heilman, didn’t have good years, but for all we know they might be great next year.

Matthew Cerrone, from MetsBlog: Because it’s always a work in progress, as you said, should you keep it fluid.  That is to say, is there a reluctance, in the current market place, is there now a reluctance to give a guy a three– or four-year contract?  I would think that you would have to have some kind of hesitation to be locked in to a guy like that.  I would think it would have to be the absolute right guy, is that correct?

Omar Minaya:  Pitchers, like those bullpen guys, year in and year out, are going to get three– to four-year deals, that’s just the way it is.  But, you are right, I mean, in the ideal world you would rather not give a long-term contract.  But, if you want a guy you are going to have to pay that price – it’s just the way it is.  But, in an ideal world, I would rather not.

The final question, regarding ways to balance a win-now mentality and developing young players, will post at 2 pm.

To read a full transcript of this entire interview, click here.