The current state of the bullpen, and the search for a reliever

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

The Mets are optimistic Bobby Parnell will be 100 percent ready for Opening Day. He had surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck in September. Nevertheless, from what I can gather, Sandy Alderson is still looking to acquire an experienced late-inning reliever.

As it stands, Parnell, Vic Black, Jeurys Familia, Gonzalez Germen, Scott Rice, Josh Edgin and Carlos Torres are the odds-on-favorites to end up in the opening day bullpen. I expect we’ll also hear a lot about minor leaguers Joel Carreno, Jack Leathersich and Jeff Walters. The Mets have also been linked to free-agent RHP Mitchell Boggs (Sherman, Dec. 9). I also think they’d love to acquire immediate bullpen help in a deal for Ike Davis, but I’m still not sold he can bring this much back in trade.

In late December, Sandy Alderson said Parnell would soon begin a throwing program after being evaluated by doctors in New York.

In the event Parnell is delayed, and no other acquisition is made, Black will likely be the short-term, fill-closer. 




72 comments
Axel Smith
Axel Smith

So no one thinks perhaps Montero is ready by July and we give him a shot at the 8th inning or perhaps closing? If our rotation is a healthy Colon,Niese,Wheeler,Thor,Gee in July and we are hovering in playoff contention and Parnell had a setback?

Robby Johnson
Robby Johnson

The pen should be the least of this team's concerns right now, and I think Sandy has been operating with the same mindset.  As long as there's backup plan for Parnell and some dependable lefties, I think it's fine.

maxster
maxster

Bullpen? We have an abundance of quality arms in the bullpen with allot of competition for positions. I consider this a strength. Get a SS as we might have the worst lineup in BB. That should be our only focus. Of course with an 82- 85 million dollar payroll, there is not much we can do about it.

foley
foley

If the Mets are both going to likely carry 2 lefthanders in the pen, and money is an issue - they should take a look at bringing back Luis Ayala and add him to the mix.  Granted he can't be allowed to pitch to lefties (which is why I think he has to be on a team with two lefty options) but he's pretty good and consistent against righties.


He should also be pretty cheap - maybe even a minor league contract.  If not, won't cost more than 1, 1.5 mil.


Herb Goldstein
Herb Goldstein

Matt, I think you have the composition of the 2014  bull pen, given who we currently have in the fold, pretty close. I don't conssider either Germen of Familia locks, and the competition for those two spots should include Ryan Reid and possibly Darin Gorski, as well as Carreno, Leathersich and Walters as you mentioned.

Notwithstanding that, I find the pen, constituted as you have described it, pretty strong. I don't necessarily see why Alderson would want to spend more to acquire another candidate, when funds could probably be put to better use. Put the money to signing Drew or apply it to Ike Davis' salary for 2014 and give him another shot at 1B this spring.

thenymets
thenymets

Honestly getting a little annoyed with the regurgitation of information. There is no new news here, same thing with the Ike Davis post. Instead of regurgitation re-used information (and many times exact portions) of previous posts and giving it a different title, how about you provide some in depth analysis on individual players and their roles and projections for 2014?


How about a posting analysis/better analysis on d'Arnaud, Granderson, C. Young, Flores. Colon, Syndergaard, deGrom Montero, or other players we don't know a whole lot about but may have big roles in 2014 while simultaneously keeping us updated if there is any NEW news in the hot stove instead of recycling old posts?


How about analyzing some of the names mentioned in this post instead of just mentioning them again?


It is this type of in-depth articles and readings that I feel have been missing from Metsblog lately that used to be posted all the time. 


I know I am not the only fan who finds this frustrating.

Zach Ripple
Zach Ripple

I'm not sure that Edgin and Familia are as much of locks as the rest of them, as I could easily see Leathersich beating out Edgin and Walters beating out Familia, whose walk issues could hold him back. I think Carreno will ultimately be a key piece of the pen down the road, but maybe more in May or June when injuries strike or someone falters. I like the scouting report on him, but he will likely need to prove himself to Mets brass, although a dominant spring could give him a shot at the Opening Day roster, especially if Parnell isn't healthy right off the bat.

Wayno
Wayno

This could be a very talented And young bullpen. Which could be the problem, the mets really need a strike thrower in there. A guy to calm things down. I think there is too many guys trying to strike everyone out, which will lead to walks too many times

Mickey Jennifer Wind
Mickey Jennifer Wind

Reid will make the team over Familia, not sold on both lefties mentioned hanging in either

Mike Dell Italia
Mike Dell Italia

You kno i actually think that can be a pretty good bullpen, i liked to add a veteran 8th innings guy.  We need a ss so bad thats my biggest concern

Joseph Morgan
Joseph Morgan

I think that our bullpen is in desperate need of another late inning reliever. NL teams with good bullpens almost always have very good seasons. I would love to see us get a pitcher like Balfour to close for us and have Parnell and Black set up. I also acknowledge the need for a shortstop such as Drew also. If we got both Balfour and Drew along with our other acquisitions, I would say our offseason would have been okay. Without getting a shortstop and another quality reliever, I think that we are just treading water and not making enough improvement. Lastly, Ike Davis needs to be brought back to spring training and given one last shot to play first. His upside of 30+ HRs and quality defense is something this team has to have at first base and none of our other 1b candidates can do that.

maxster
maxster

To hell with the Bullpen, it is good enough. Get Drew! We can't have Tejada and the Pitcher bat on average every third inning. We can't be on offense six innings a game and expect to win.

Francesco Monastra
Francesco Monastra

am i the only one who thinks our pen has great depth?

think we could use another left handed arm for competition, and then bring in a guy like Boggs

would love the look of our pen

hashburry
hashburry

That is a bullpen destined to have many blowups.

Marcus Jensen
Marcus Jensen

How sad is it Ike Davis isn't even worth a reliever anymore.

dexx
dexx

Carlos Torres had a 1.47  ERA out of the bullpen last season, and 4.00+ as a starter.  He was a really nice surprise, and is a really nice weapon to have.  He can make a spot start, pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen, or pitch in high leverage/pressure situations.  His cutter was nasty last year.


If Parnell is healthy, Torres builds on his success from last year, & Rice & Edgin are healthy and ready to go, that gives us a solid closer, really good RHP, and 2...yes 2 LHP out of the bullpen.  Feliciano & Byrdak are shaking their heads somewhere.


I like what we saw out of Vic Black last season, and he & Familia definitely have the stuff to pitch in the backend of a bullpen, but they both need to improve their command considerably.


German looked like he can contribute, and adds another dimension from the right side with his change up.  He was also effective against lefties as well, so he isn't just a guy that can pitch to one or two batters.


Reid had a 1.64  ERA out of the Pirates pen late last season in an admittedly small sample size, but I think he will definitely get some work in the Mets pen this season.


Could be a dominant pen if all the young arms live up to their potential, but it could also be a disaster as we have very little experience collectively.

nym4lyfe
nym4lyfe

I like Reid more than Rice at this point and what happened with Feliciano? 

It would also be nice to pick up Boggs as well and maybe another before ST.

dexx
dexx

Ryan Reid will be someone that will be battling for a bullpen role.  I wouldn't be surprised if we also see Jacob deGrom, Eric Goeddel, & possibly Cory Mazzoni pitch out of the bullpen this season. 



Mazzoni is a guy who could pitch out of the bullpen immediately.  He can get up to mid 90's easy out of the pen, and he had a nasty splitter in college.  He's been used as a starter, and may end up staying in that role, but if he is moved to the pen, look for him to contribute considerably in 2014 if he's healthy.

Andrew Herbst
Andrew Herbst

I like our pen, but I wish we could have resigned Hawkins.

cbbruuno
cbbruuno

I like the bullpen but it could certainly use a steady veteran. Too bad LaTroy Hawkins isn't available. 

tommets
tommets

I like this bullpen. Parnell is an outstanding closer and I think he'll be ready for Opening Day. Black is a great setup arm. Guy like Familia and Germen have shown they can be very useful, yet they still have to prove a little more. Torres is a great swingman. Reid, deGrom, and Walters can battle it out for any remaining spots. There was a point in this offseason that I thought, what if a guy like Balfour is signed and can trade Parnell for a SS. That is a pipe dream anyway, but I really like Parnell. A veteran guy like Hawkins could've really changed this bullpen, but I think it's a good one. Plus, when Montero and Syndergaard come up possibly Mejia can be shifted to the 'pen too and he can be a dominate bullpen arm given his injury record.

Anthony Testa
Anthony Testa

Pretty much all unproven guys. Sorry if I feel a lack of confidence in this collection

mettle
mettle

Parnell hasn't started throwing yet, how can anyone be optimistic he will be ready opening day?

Mlb GM
Mlb GM

Should try mets mo

Herb Goldstein
Herb Goldstein

@Goorru®Mets Interesting. I find Metsmerized too often a long anti-Wilpon, anti-Alderson rant, especially articles written by Joe D. Perhaps they should change the name to Metsdespized.

Frank Accardi
Frank Accardi

@Joseph Morgan bring back davis,, we need the upside and power,,,   there will be more balance and protection in line up

dexx
dexx

@maxster Agreed.  Drew will make our bullpen, and rotation better.  Look at how much Boston's rotation improved with a dynamite defensive SS.

dexx
dexx

@Marcus Jensen He has no one to blame but himself.  He has been given chance after chance after chance.

dexx
dexx

@nym4lyfe We need Rice & Edgin in the bullpen so we can have two LHP to matchup late in games.  Otherwise, TC will ruin the lone lefty's arm, like he did Feliciano, Byrdak etc.

Joanie Yan
Joanie Yan

@Andrew Herbst For 2.5 million dollars it would have solved a lot of problems. And for what it's worth I think Colorado is a terrible place for Hawkins to be. The marriage between him and the Mets was perfect.

dolemite
dolemite

@cbbruunoWe picked up the last steady vet on the cheap - there are more out there.  The mets have so far been connected with those with some closing experience. I see the Mets picking up someone like Matt Belisle or Matt Guerrier,.  Neshak isn't a closer at all but he could be a nice value add too.

chasesimms
chasesimms

@tommets   "Parnell is an outstanding closer."   You are basing this on his proven track record?


lahenry57
lahenry57

@mettle Three months to get ready seems adequate. If Parnell was given permission to start throwing, he should be ready by April. His stuff is too good to disregard.

Robby Johnson
Robby Johnson

@dexx @maxster Boston's rotation drastically improved because John Farrell is one of the best pitching minds in baseball.  That and Mike Aviles had a higher dWAR in 2012 than Drew did in 2013.  Their SS play wasn't the problem - Bobby V was.

I do agree that a solid defensive SS is a necessity considering this team is constructing itself around young pitching.

ignatius
ignatius

Well yeah, everyone besides the Braves needs that. The arms are good - Parnell, Black, and Familia have big-time stuff. Plus DeGrom or Mazzoni, both of whom have good arms, could find their way onto the time via the bullpen, since there aren't really spots for them in the rotation. Maybe Mejia is a reliever if he doesn't win the 5th starter job, although I wouldn't love that move. But he has big-time stuff for a reliever. Regardless, there are options. What there isn't is reliability and stability, which is hard to come by in general with relievers, but it would be nice if there was one guy who'd consistently been pretty good for the past 3 years. Unfortunately, that guy is no longer available in free agency, and apparently Ike Davis can't get that guy in a trade.

Mickey Jennifer Wind
Mickey Jennifer Wind

@dexx @nym4lyfe not true German has a change-up that can deal against lefties. as good as it is to have two lefties, it also leads to unnecessary over managing.

dolemite
dolemite

@dexx@nym4lyfeTC gets no blame for Feliciano's burnouts - And is teh manager to blame if he has only one reliable lefty or the GM?

nym4lyfe
nym4lyfe

@dexx  I rather have Feliciano over Rice. Rice wasn't very good. We need that veteran presence anyways.

dexx
dexx

@chasesimms@tommets He was as good as anybody in the National League as a closer last year before he went down with injury.  Vic Black is the one that doesn't have a proven track record, along with German, Familia, & Reid.  THey were successful in a short sample size, but it remains to be seen if they can be successful over a full season.

tommets
tommets

@chasesimms The way he improves each year is everything you hope for in a closer. Yes, he's had a few injuries, some freak. His slider has become more and more lethal each year. His fastball reaches high 90's that also tails. I really like him as a closer and think he just improves each year. Ok, he's no Franco, but he sure doesn't get me nearly as worried as when Wagner came jogging out of that bullpen. I'm just stating my opinion, and am a big fan of Parnell.

dexx
dexx

@dolemite@dexx@nym4lyfe You gotta know your players strengths and weaknesses.  Its not like we won the world series.  Did he need to burn out a man's arm?

dexx
dexx

@nym4lyfe Feliciano was throwing 83 mph last season.  He is pretty much done.  Rice was pretty effective last year.  He just needs to be used as a LOOGY only.  He dominated LH hitters.  RH hitters, not so much.

mets2014
mets2014

@tommets@chasesimms actually his knuckle curve was his most improved pitch which Izzy taught him in 2012