Valverde’s ‘Dominican Mafia,’ and the importance of ‘get ups.’

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

The more I learn about Jose Valverde, the more I like that he was signed to a minor-league contract.

Terry Collins said he called Jim Leyland to better understand Valverde’s struggles in 2013, during which the once-dominant closer had a 5.59 ERA in just 20 games. However, he was 49-for-49 in save chances with the Tigers in 2011…


DAP_0101


According to Leyland, Valverde is fine. The big problem was that he got Valverde warming up in the bullpen too often, or what coaches call ‘get ups,’ then he never got Valverde in to games. He was often burned out before ever pitching. It happened enough to begin throwing Valverde off his game. Time will tell if this has any impact on a better 2014, but Collins has a good relationship with bullpen coach Jon Debus, who will be responsible for getting the pitcher ready for game action.


Speaking of Valverde,”two weeks in to camp, he has emerged as the leader of, what the reliever calls, the team’s ‘Dominican Mafia,’” according to the New York Post’s Mike Puma.

The members include young pitchers Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Rafael Montero and Gonzalez Germen, as well as Bartolo Colon, with meetings held in a corner of the clubhouse near Valverde’s locker.


I’m such a sucker, by the way. I read this, I see Bobby Parnell pitching well with that beard, I’m excited about Vic Black‘s potential and personality, and, within just a few days, I’ve gone from thinking bullpen is a weakness to a potential strength. This may or may not be true. It says more about the bubble that is St. Lucie and spring training. They may end up terrible. But, for now, I see hope…


To read more about Valverde’s ‘Dominican Republic,’ check out Puma’s story in the post by clicking here

57 comments

The METS NEEDED A CRAZY PERSONA IN THE CLUB HOUSE!!

Joe Wenzel
Joe Wenzel

If a guy wants to step up and take a leadership role I'm all for it - as long as he takes it seriously.

OGTedBerg
OGTedBerg

@PatrickJFlood Can't stop giggling at this. Looks like Valverde's trying to act tough, but Colon's like "OMG THAT SQUIRREL'S EATING NACHOS!"

Darren Delgado
Darren Delgado

Most beautiful jerseys in MLB IMO.  Even Bartolo Colon looks good in a Mets uni.

wingo43
wingo43

I used to pitch and threw some relief way back when in my summer amateur days.  My coach was a former MLB pitcher (Phillies) who pitched relief (was up for "a cup of coffee" as they say).  He told me the first time you warm up, warm up like you're going in the game.  But if you don't get called, after that, ease up and just pitch to location so you don't burn out before you get called in.

p8erbaghad
p8erbaghad

TC needed to call Leyland to find out why Valverde sucked in 3 of the 19 innings he pitched?  Really??  So Leyland didn't realize the reason until after releasing Valverde in early August, 2 months after he last pitched for the Tigers?  You buy that TC?

SuperDuper
SuperDuper

So are we going to hear about how racist Sandy is by having all these latins on the team.

rstpigeon
rstpigeon

Given the effort that was expended this off-season to bolstering the pitching staff - rotation and bullpen - this is no surprise. The concern over their ability to give even the best staff runs to work with remains in serious doubt. Wouldn't be any surprise if this team went out this year and managed to lose a record number of one-run games.

Eddie_Dean
Eddie_Dean

I actually think they have a chance to have a real nice pen this year, regardless of how Valverde does. The real problems are this team's going to score about 2 runs a game, and there's a high probability their infield defense is going to be atrocious...

Rob Steven
Rob Steven

This has disaster written all over it, first signing a 40 yo out of shape pitcher to a 2 year contract now this BS. What is next? Perhaps Omar coming back? You can not make this BS up. Just when you want to believe again we are dragged back 5 years. Not a good sign at all.

wclark1238
wclark1238

Wonder if anyone has told Ricky Bones that Debus has taken his job? Our is Matt stuck in 2011? Debus is rehab coordinator not bullpen coach...........sheeeeesh!

ladymetfan
ladymetfan

Morning, Matt! You were so gracious yesterday in Camp---signing autographs & I got a great PIX of you for back home...Can't wait for Opening Day(no, not the one in Australia!).

Let's Go Mets!

Victor Triguero
Victor Triguero

I really have no care about this


Win games....win more than 74 games this season

chasesimms
chasesimms

When am I going to be able to add an avatar photo to my SNY account????????????????

Jimmy P.
Jimmy P.

So, he is segmenting the locker room already? Sweet...

Amazin' Raisin'
Amazin' Raisin'

So Leyland's "explanation" for Valverde's rotten egg of a season was that he (Leyland) was an awful bullpen manager? Seems plausible.

chasesimms
chasesimms

"I’m such a sucker, by the way."  Its ok Matt.  Spring training is that special time of the year when every baseball fan should have some hope for their teams chances. 


The pen could very well turn out to be very good.  That, combined with the potential of the starting pitching should have even the most pessimistic Mets fan feeling at least a touch of hope!

lausenberg
lausenberg

Parnell, Black, German, and Valverde coupled with some power throwing lefties like Edgin and Leathersich (sp?) could be a nice bullpen, especially is Familia can get over SOME of his control issues and be a valuable piece to the pen. Also has the potential to completely bust and blow up on us. But i'd take this pen over last years at this point in the year.

BringBackDaveTelghe
BringBackDaveTelghe

Mr. Valverde has a long way to go before I'm even remotely convinced he can be a piece.

And please don't cite save percentages from 2 years ago - we all know how meaningless that is in a number of levels.

Jon Pace
Jon Pace

I think the bullpen will end up being a strength. Look, for the first time in YEARS (I cannot remember when was the last time ) the Mets have a group of relievers who are essentially all power arms (with the exception of Scott Rice and a Carlos Torres) and can throw gas. Yes you have to be able to PITCH but in this day and age, I'll take my chances on a bullpen of power arms. Ideally I would like a lefty who can blow people away but I still have faith in Josh Edgin emerging as that guy and possibly Leathersich too.  

Michael Warren Herbert
Michael Warren Herbert

I see a lot of potential in this BP with some very strong young arms and some solid Vets like Valverde & Farnsworth

Anthony Fiore
Anthony Fiore

I come to this site for the comedy writing now.  See this gem: "The members include young pitchers Bartolo Colon..." Yes, Bartolo that young up and comer.  Hopefully he gets 5 wins under his big belt and they don't send him back to the minors.

.


PatrickJFlood
PatrickJFlood

@OGTedBerg I had to leave the office for a little bit this morning because I couldn't keep a straight face.

Darren Delgado
Darren Delgado

@Eddie_Dean  I will take that bet.  If the Mets finish 8th or higher in the NL in runs scored, I win.

dukewillie
dukewillie

@wclark1238  Matt probably meant that it's Debus' job yo get Valverde (phsicaly & medically ) ready to pitch given that, as you said, "Debus is rehab coordinator not bullpen coach"

Mario Caraballo
Mario Caraballo

@Thomas McKeever  the story itself of the fact that dominican players that dont speak very good english come together? at no point are they segregating. Its a good thing.

Brian Webster
Brian Webster

@Jimmy P. Yeah I love how Cerrone is apparently so pumped over that. When I read the headline and the beginning of the article where he said he was glad the Mets signed him to a minor league contract I took it from the negative spin that he was happy he was only signed to a minor league deal and not a major league deal. Then as I read more into the article I realized it was from the positive side and he was thrilled Valverde was already segregating the clubhouse by race and influencing young impressionable kids like phenom prospect Bartolo Colon.

chasesimms
chasesimms

@Jimmy P.  This is a natural.  Its human nature. It happens on college campuses, sports teams, international companies, etc, etc.


It does not mean that they don't all get along and respect each other.   Take it easy Jimmy.  

jamets
jamets

I find it interesting that people are so concerned about Familia's control but they are ready to pencil in Black as a set-up guy now and a possible future closer. 

Familia has a minor league walk rate of 3.9/9 IP.  Black's minor league walk rate is 4.5/9 IP.  And Familia has always been a more higly regarded prospect than Black. 

I guees it could be the fact that Familia struggled in his 23 IP in the majors while Black looked good in his 17 IP.  Call me crazy, but that seems like kind of a small sample size.

Also keep in mind that at the age Familia was struggling with his control in the majors, Black was getting hammerred in single A.

Starz31
Starz31

@lausenberg  I think bullpens have that boom or bust potential every year, you just hope to put yourself in the best opportunity. And I think this bullpen could be a strentgh. They have hard throwers in the back end. Hopefully Parnell can improve upon his strong year last year. Vic Black has a lot of potential and had closer-potential in PIT, so he could be a strentgh. We'll see if Valverde has anything left in the tank, ditto Farnsworth. It could be beneficial to have one of them in the pen for experience reasons. Love him or hate him, Valverde has had some good success in his career; it can't hurt. 

Steven Matregrano
Steven Matregrano

@Anthony Fiore  Clearly it was a mistake, but for you to point it out makes you look even more pathetic than you were a minute before. He won 18 games in the AL with a 2.65 ERA. Only one with any knowledge of baseball can clearly see that his age did not matter. He will only do better in the NL and we did not sign him 2 years 20MM to be sent to the minors. 

Brian Webster
Brian Webster

@Anthony Fiore I also like at the end where he wrote: "To read more about Valverde’s ‘Dominican Republic,’ ". Why is the country of the Dominican Republic in quotes as if its not a real thing and something Valverde just made up. I assume he meant to write "Dominican Mafia" there again

Jimmy P.
Jimmy P.

It wasn't a serious comment darling ;)

lausenberg
lausenberg

@jamets  I'm not penciling Black into any role just yet. I was somewhat surprised/impressed by his small sample size last year so there's some reason to believe that he call be a quality reliever. As for closer/set-up, the only people saying that are the delusional people who wouldn't trade him in a deal for the Mariners SS Nick Franklin, which I think is ridiculous. If I had to include him in a package for an everyday SS, i'd do it in a heartbeat. Finding hard throwing relievers with control issues isn't that hard. 


Brian Webster
Brian Webster

@Steven Matregrano @Anthony Fiore I don't see how it makes you look pathetic to have a good laugh when the head of the Mets official blog writes young pitcher Bartolo Colon. And I believe the line about hopefully not getting sent back to the minors was a play off that joke of him just being a young prospect who would be in danger of that.

Brian Webster
Brian Webster

@chasesimms I mainly just wanted to get to the joke about Bartolo Colon. I don't actually care too much if the Dominican's want to form a Mafia as long as it doesn't cause issues with others in the clubhouse as the Mets have had problems with racial divides before in the not so distant past.

chasesimms
chasesimms

@Jimmy P.  Thank you sweetheart.   Brian Webster thinks you were serious, honey.  

jamets
jamets

@lausenberg @jametsYeah, I wasn't talking about you in particular.  I like Black, but he is being severely overrated around here.  At this point he's a middle reliever and yet he is being lumped in with Montero and Mejia when talking trade value.