Overhauling the bullpen

The Mets blew 29 save opportunities so far this season, and with them, perhaps a chance at the playoffs. Adding a top notch closer such as Francisco Rodriguez would improve the bullpen, but not put it over the top.

Billy Wagner blew seven save opportunities, but even worse was the bridge leading up to him. It was more than just a bad season.

Here’s how I see the pen:

-Billy Wagner: Won’t pitch for the Mets again. No brainer. However, he will get paid $11 million by them, and that will inhibit what they do this winter. I don’t see them paying both Wagner and Rodriguez.

-Aaron Heilman: They’ve resisted trading him the past two winters. They should pull the trigger if they get an offer this time. Heilman wants to start and since the Mets won’t give him that opportunity, they should try to get what they can. If they wanted to give Heilman a chance at being the fifth starter, I’d entertain it because it is clear this bullpen thing isn’t working out.

-Scott Schoeneweis: I can’t believe they gave him three years. (I mistakenly said he was done after this year. He’s signed through 2009).

-Joe Smith: Has his moments, both good and bad. Will be brought back.

-Pedro Feliciano: I’ve always been cool on him for some reason, even when he’s pitched well. I think they’ll bring him back.

-Luis Ayala: He saved a few games. Big deal. I don’t see him as the answer at closer. I do see him coming back.

-Carlos Muniz: Wouldn’t miss him.

-Ricardo Rincon: Ditto.

-Duaner Sanchez: He doesn’t have his fastball anymore. Certainly not a set-up man or closer type anymore. Not a loss if they don’t bring him back.

-Brian Stokes: More good appearances than bad. I’d like to see him back.

-Nelson Figueroa: Feel good story early this season. Very hittable.

-Brandon Knight: Pitched decently. Long man?

-Bobby Parnell: Can bring the heat. Let’s see what he can do in spring training.

15 thoughts on “Overhauling the bullpen

  1. I think you pretty much hit it on the head with your evaluation. I’ll hold out hope that Duaner can undergo some offseason training built to strengthen his arm, but the pen is a total crapshoot.

  2. Schoeneweis’ contract runs thru ’09. I agree on bringing Stokes back, along with Ayala and Smith, but none fill the need for closer.

    I’d target the KC closer, Soria, though it would cost young talent. I’d offer Evans, who has talent but no spot here; Kunz, who could replace Soria there; and Heilman, who could get his chance to start.

    Would it be enough? If not, add another MnL prospect, but not a top one—someone like Concepcion or Veloz.

  3. Someone said it not long ago. The mets are a good team, not a great team. great teams make it their business to win when they have to (phillies) good teams just slowly fade away(mets). I stopped believing on sunday night after the loss to the braves,I’m just looking forward to the off season and 2009.

  4. Sure, let’s get Soria. I’m sure the Royals are going to want to or have any reason to trade him. While we’re at it, we might as well trade for Papelbon as well. I’m sure a package of Ramon Martinez and Brian Stokes would capture the Red Sox interest.

  5. I was impressed with Mike Gonzalez of the Braves. He has been lights out for them coming back from surgery. I may be wrong, but I think he is a free agent after this year.

  6. I think the time to find out about Parnell is now — before you spend $50-75 million on a closer and while the team needs someone to step up.

    In addition to a closer, what the Mets really need is to replace Heilman and Sanchez with what these guys used to be: Pitchers who can get both lefties and righties out. Ayala might be a candidate for the 7th or 8th inning, but they likely need another guy as well.

  7. 2 years in a row this bullpen has caused a Met collapse. If they finish out of the money this season, the Wilpons should really think hard about replacing Omar. The bullpen’s inability to get guys out and their 29 blown saves (and counting) in 2008 should rest squarely on Omar’s shoulders. With that said, everyone should go save Smith, Ayala, and Stokes. Heilman must be traded. If Sanchez can be fixed, fix him and if not cut him. Schoenwies must be traded. Feliciano should be cut or kept as a LOOGY only. K-Rod will be too expensive but the bulk of the Mets off-season money should be spent on a bullpen. And IMHO, Manuel and Omar should have had Kunz up with the Mets and throwing every non-critical relief inning. Maybe by now, he would have been good to go….shame on you Omar!

  8. Omar should take a huge hit, but i’m sure he’ll come back. He’ll be lauded for p/u guys like Stokes and Ayala off the scrap heap, and for not trading guys like Daniel Murphy or Jon Niese (no matter how he pitched) I really think Omar was expecting a return to form by Heilman and at the very worst, a repeat performance by Feliciano this year. He got neither. His biggest disaster was relying on Duaner Sanchez to come back and pitch like he did before his injury.

  9. I’d like to see:

    K-Rod, closer
    Juan Cruz, 8th
    Pedro Feliciano, lefty specialist
    Joe Smith, righty specialist
    Brina Stokes, long-man

    7th inning will have to go to a kid who has a great spring.

  10. Everybody seems to forget that Omar signed Wise, who was hurt in ST and never played. If he was here all year and produced close to Omar’s expectations, we’d have been better off. And Sanchez was expected to return to form after the surgery, but he hasn’t.

    Getting back to Soria, I didn’t say KC will trade him, just that I’d TARGET him. If they say no deal, look elsewhere, but IMO 3 or 4 young, cheap, ML-ready (or close) players might be tempting for a non-contender who will have to pay Soria big bucks once he’s Arbi-eligible.

  11. Believe that Shoenough has a year left, John. They should trade him to a team that will only throw him against lefties.

  12. CORRECTION: DG is right. Schoeneweis is signed through 2009, so you have another year to kick him around. Sorry for the mistake. And, for those who aren’t Schoeneweis fans, sorry to get your hopes up.-JD

  13. JD

    I think you are correct.

    I would bring back Sanchez if he is under contract to see if he will be better next year.

    They need a closer. They also need a long man.

    Part of the solution to the pen is a better/longer starting crew. There are only two pitchers on this staff who regularly go 7. Santana and BigPelf. What does that say about your starters?

    The pen has too many specialists. I think you should have at most 4 righty lefty specialists. Everyone else needs to go at least an inning. The pen is made up of ppl who mostly can go one or two hitters.