Could Pelfrey make it out of the bullpen?

General manager Sandy Alderson earmarked getting a closer and improving the bullpen as his top priorities. Given that, why not consider erratic starter Mike Pelfrey in the closer role?

PELFREY: Could a change of roles erase that perplexed look from his face?

A switch in roles proved to be career boosts for Dave Righetti and Dennis Eckersley, and it could be worth exploring for Pelfrey, who has not developed into the consistent starter the Mets hoped.

The main thing that has derailed Pelfrey as a starter – losing focus – could be sharpened coming out of the pen because of the shortness of the appearance. Having the game on the line and only one inning to work with could be the vehicle that hones his concentration.

Pelfrey can cruise for four innings, then unravel in the fifth. As a closer, theoretically he would face only three hitters with the game in the balance. It is worth finding out if such pressure could jumpstart him.

Will it work? I don’t know, but it is something to consider because his starting career has been spotty with little signs of him developing into a consistent winner. Seriously, after watching Pelfrey so far in his career, who is convinced he’ll be a late bloomer? At 50-54 lifetime, it is time to ask what’s not working for the guy.

Reportedly, the Mets already talked to teams about him, an indication of their frustration and unhappiness. If you’re contemplating that, why not give this a shot first?

Yes, it would create a void in the rotation, but don’t you think they could easily pick up another starter with Pelfrey’s numbers, if not better? What do they have to lose?


14 thoughts on “Could Pelfrey make it out of the bullpen?

  1. I once thought this might be a good idea but right now it seems like the timing is all wrong – especially if the club is serious about shopping Pelfrey.

    With a likely arbitration award of $5-6m Pelf will be be way overpaid for an unproven relief pitcher. And given the Mets current financials they hardly seem inclined to pay that much to any bullpen arm much.

    Better to tender ‘n trade him. If there’s no market then hope he builds additional value as a starter in April/May/June and again try to deal him as the trade deadline approaches.

    At the risk of entering the very dangerous practice of armchair psychologist (so take with a huge grain of salt) – Pelf seems to have exactly the opposite temperament that you’d expect from a successful closer.

    Statistically his 3-year OPS against in his first 15 pitches was .755 while it was .786 on pitches 16-30 – his overall rate was .763. That would suggest he’s not any better in the first inning pitched compared with later innings. Of course, as a starter, he’s also facing the top of the lineup in each of instances.

    If the club had 5 other demonstrably better starting pitchers and money weren’t so tight it might be an interesting experiment. But if you think/hope Pelf is on the trading block it’s hard to see how giving him a demotion that makes him overpaid in his new job would make sense.

  2. It is worth a shot. He can dial it up to mid/high 90’s and use his other pitches to change it up.

    Not sure if it would work, but it is worth a shot.

  3. I don’t think the Mets will shell out 6M for a relief pitcher.It’s time to part ways with the Pelf. It is very fustrating for us fans to watch him pitch.

  4. He would bite his hand off if he were brought into a close game in the 9th. His only value is as an innings eater. I have an idea for a late inning guy. How about bringing Dotel back? he was lights out in the playoffs and the series and I bet he could close. He has shown he is not afraid of pressure.

  5. I agree with Ray Sadecki about Dotel. I’ll never forget how much heart he showed in the ’99 NLCS.I’d bet he’s got another year of closing in his arm. Whatever he’s got, you can bet he’ll give 110% any time you call on him.

  6. Unless you cant trade Pelf for 2 relievers (L/R…Giants need a 4th starter), then its a no brainer that he goes to the bullpen. You can sign Marquis to replace him (who wants to come here….rare) and then you dont have to shell out the 8 -10M that I have been reading about the Mets are willing to go for 2 back-end relievers….Get Nathan and give Pelf the competition for closer, then the loser gets the 8th….with Nathan and marquis, you are spending closer to 6 than 10. Use the remaining 4M on Ankeil, Hairston and /or Nady as this team needs a late inn Def. replacement for Duda (good backup for Pagan) and needs right handed power against the good lefty relievers in the division. Last time I checked, Ike couldnt hit lefties so my choice would be a Nady type who can play 1B and the outfield. Pelfrey’s splits from inn. 1-3 to 4-6 are stark….He throws 95mph with a heavy sink and can use just his 86 slider to get outs with. Put him in the bullpen based on that plus his lapses in concentration later in the game can diffuse a good start (has to work on his ability to pitch with runners on however). Based on his impending FA next year, I would think Pelf would be open to the move since his history as a starter would not give him the money he may command as a effective reliever….Compete with Nathan, give the rest of the bums in that bullpen (Parnell, Stimson, Carrassco, Beato, acosta) less pressure and have the 3 best make the team as LR, 6-7th inn guys with the others going to AAA as back end relievers for depth. You have 2 lefties with Byrdak and Herrirra (both shouldn’t pitch to righties EVER) so the bullpen would be finished with money to spare for non-compensation bench help.

    Of course big question is Reyes….there is no getting around the fact that if 110 is the ceiling, we will not see Reyes and Wright on the field in 2012 together. 120 will have to be the number to make the improvements neccessary to be somewhat competitive. IMO, Wright should be the one going if they wont go to 120 since Reyes a much more unique talent. Wright very replaceable in System as well with Murphy,Turner Evans at ML level and Satin, Marte, Lutz, Havens Valdy Flores in system.

    Should be interesting few weeks…Wilpons are morons so dont expect much. Just a thought but with BO of Reyes, Murphy, Wright,IKe, bay, Duda, Pagan and C, this could be a strong balanced lineup. Starters will be the weak point with Santana, Dickey Neise, Marquis and Gee, but if the bullpen can do the job, this type of team won 98 games in 2006 with an emphasis on offense and bullpen…the starters in 2006 were worse than this bunch. Wilpons: you need to spend money to make money. Put this team on the field and “people will come, Ray”

  7. rod(6)

    Just read old postings on the mets minor league blog with toby hind that we do not have ready 3rd base help in minors. he says we are a few years away for the talent that is there.

  8. cpins (1): Sorry for replying so late, but I have been out of town. I do appreciate your continued reading and response. You’re right in should Pelfrey win in arbitration that it might be a lot for a reliever. But, I am wondering if he’ll ever make it as a consistent starter. If they should attempt to move him, I would like to see the bullpen option explored first. …. And, you’re right, the Mets might get the most in an in-season trade.-JD

  9. Rod (6): Thanks so much for the post. I hope you’ll stop by often. … I’m all for getting the players you mentioned. Marquis, Nathan, Ankiel and Nady would made the Mets a better team. A contender? I don’t know, but better and maybe a .500-plus team, which is a start. … You could address those four voids with the cost of bringing back Reyes. And, you’re right. With the budget they want, there’s no way we’ll see Wright and Reyes on the field at the same time….. You’re right about spending money to make money, but I believe the Mets’ financial situation is such that they need to cut their expenses first.-JD

  10. Rob (9): Another good example. It might not happen, but it is worth a shot. Afterall, Pelfrey is 50-54 as a starter. That’s enough of a window to tell you there are concerns.-JD