Quick Look and Review of the 2012 Bullpen

Matthew Cerrone , Lead Writer

Last week, I did this for the starting rotation. Today, here are some quick and brief thoughts on the team’s relief pitchers, based on their past performances and what I feel about their potential going forward and whether they should stay or go…

Bobby Parnell: Keeper, because that’s baseball, Susan. … Is he the best reliever in the league? Not even close. But, “He’s a guy,” as Ted Berg would tell me, and that has value in the bullpen these days. In the last 30 games he pitched in 2012, he let up a run just five times. He’s good, not great. Sure, I’m tired of waiting on him to be better than he is, and he stresses me out in a way that is similar to how Oliver Perez used to bug me, but the facts are the facts. And the fact is, he’s a useful, affordable big-league reliever that has a role in a big-league bullpen. So, though I’m sure the Mets would trade him, I think he’ll be back and do just enough to justify his spot on the roster…

Jon Rauch: It doesn’t matter if I think he’s a keeper or not, because I bet he signs with another team. … The day after he was acquired I said, “There will be times we think Rauch is great and worthy of being a closer and then there will quickly be times we think he’s terrible and should be cut.” This is exactly what happened. He ended well, but such is Rauch. He’ll almost certainly get a better deal elsewhere, and I assume he’ll take it…

Tim Byrdak: Let him go … Byrdak was Byrdak in the early part of last season, but the wheels (and his arm) fell off as soon as he started being used (and overused) in different roles. He’s a free agent, his shoulder surgery went well and he’s expected to be ready for Opening Day. He’ll be offered a one-year deal by multiple teams, I’m sure. But, he’s pitched a lot the last few seasons and (because of the next two guys on this list) I am confident the $1 million needed to retain him can be better used elsewhere…

Josh Edgin: Keeper, obviously … The last two outings of his season totally ruined his line. Had he been shut down two days earlier, he’s ERA would have ended around 2.50. Instead, he met Ryan Howard and his ERA ended at 4.50. Actually, I’m somewhat glad Terry Collins stuck with him in those games and let him fail. It was probably a good lesson for him, frankly. Nevertheless, he pitched like a rookie reliever having ups and downs throughout the season, but he showed he can certainly be a lefty-specialist and (in time) maybe even closer. He’s competitive, has a role, does it well and I like him a lot.

Robert Carson: Keeper, but proceed with caution … His stats ended up OK, but he often flirted with disaster and so (along with his minor-league track record) and the amount of balls he lets in play) I’m reluctant to commit him to the 2013 bullpen. I’d use him, go with it, but assume he’ll come apart at some point. That said, he runs a good Instagram account… as does Rauch.

Ramon Ramirez: It doesn’t matter, he’s as good as gone … Man, that Angel Pagan trade just gets worse and worse each time I think about it. The idea was Ramirez could help Byrdak in spots pitching to lefties, because (despite being a righty) he had been successful in such situations in the past. He was not, however, in 2012, mostly because he just kept walking people. In the end, he was just OK and (looking at his stats and game log) actually better than I remember. But, he has good stuff, he’s a free agent and young enough that someone will offer him a better deal and he should take it.

Manny Acosta: Keeper, so long as he only pitches in the second half. .. Seriously, if he would agree to a minor-league deal and get rocked in Triple-A (instead of Citi Field) from April to June, I’d gladly bring him to Queens for the late summer. He’s been terrific in the second half each of the last two seasons. He’s arbitration eligible, so I assume the Mets will non-tender him. I think it’s 50-50 we see him again, but hopefully not until next July.

Frank Francisco: Keeper, but only because he still has one year and $6 million on his deal. … It was a good signing. No one I know complained about it and everyone in media reacted to it in a mostly positive way. That said, he was a total train wreck in 2012. It was like he was throwing batting practice, assuming he didn’t walk the guy first. His meltdowns were of the Benitez variety. He’ll be back because he’s under contract and hopefully he’ll return to being the pitcher he was for Texas and Toronto.