The Mets didn’t re-sign Hisanori Takashi, and yesterday Pedro Feliciano declined to accept salary arbitration as he seeks a multi-year contract.
I see Pat Misch being a useful part of the bullpen next season. He is actually more effective and pitches better against right-handed batters, not lefties. But, he could certainly slip in to the the role once filled by Feliciano and Takahashi, while also standing by for the occasional spot start.
Yesterday, the Mets re-signed 30-year-old LHP Mike O’Connor to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training. He was 5-2 with six saves and a 2.67 ERA while striking out 70 in 70 innings for Triple-A Buffalo last season, during which left-handed batters had a .289 OBP against him.
The bullpen needs helps, but I just don’t see Sandy Alderson being the type of GM who will give a long-term deal to relief pitchers, which is probably why Takahashi and Feliciano are not likely to be back next season. Instead, I see him rotating the roster throughout the season and relying on guys like Misch, O’Conner, low-cost, journeymen free agents and minor leaguers.
There is also a lot of talk among fans and reporters about whether to use Oliver Perez as a left-handed specialist – assuming the team is unable to move him before Opening Day. I think this is a terrible idea.
”Perez sometimes drops his arm angle here and there,” an NL talent evaluator told Andy Martino of the Daily News. ”It might be interesting to have him drop down all the time against lefties.”
That’s fine. But, he is a total loose cannon on the mound. I mean, when the wheels come off, as they do VERY quickly, man, oh man, do they come off – and that is the last thing i want in a bullpen specialist, and especially with runners on base. Basically, for this to work, the bullpen coach will need a crystal ball.
By the way, I do think Perez will be in St. Lucie for Spring Training. I have yet to speak with anyone in the know who feels Alderson will cut Perez before Spring Training. I think he’ll try to trade him, so to at least get something in return, but he will almost certainly struggle to find a match. At which point, it makes little economic sense to just release him, at least not before he throws a pitch in Florida. That said, if there is no role for him, and it becomes an uncomfortable situation for everyone involved, I do think Perez could be released before Opening Day.
For more reasons to be skeptical about Perez in the bullpen, check out Ted Berg’s post on Ted Quarters.