Nov 15

Mets’ Pitching Plan Has Questions

On the surface, the plan the Mets are currently mulling about preventing their starters from going through the order a third time makes a lot of sense. All the numbers point to a starter losing effectiveness the longer he stays in the game. They all can’t be Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber or Jacob deGrom.

DE GROM: It all begins with him. (AP)

DE GROM: It all begins with him. (AP)

It is common practice during the postseason, but at that time a manager has more off days in which to rest relievers and can replace the fifth starter with a long reliever in which to plug in.

“We will not allow our guys to struggle the third time through the lineup if we can avoid it,’’ Mets manager Mikey Callaway said at the General Managers Meetings. “We want them to be the best versions of themselves and have success. There are so many factors that will come into play you just can’t simply say that you are going to leave guys in until a certain point or take them out in a certain point.’’

For that plan to work during the regular season a team needs a solid rotation, a flexible bridge to work the middle innings, and a strong back end of the bullpen.

Of the three, the Mets only have the last one.

It begins with a strong starting rotation, one which means all five starters have to consistently go at least five innings, but preferably six. The Mets have deGrom and lots of issues from two through five:

Noah Syndergaard is coming off a partially torn lat muscle and only got in a couple of innings in late summer. While he is optimistic, we simply don’t know what to expect from him. Sure, it would be nice to pencil in 30 starts and 200 innings, but …

Matt Harvey did not respond well to thoracic surgery. He was rushed back and sustained a stress injury. The best thing the Mets can hope for is a strong first half to draw trade interest at the deadline. There’s no more talk about winning 20 games, winning the Cy Young or being signed to a long-term contract.

Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler are both coming off surgery and nobody knows what to expect, let alone them averaging five innings over 30 starts.

Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Rafael Montero and Chris Flexen all made starts, but none have defined roles entering spring training. If the projected rotation performs, then any of them can be slotted in to work multiple innings several times a week, but we don’t know if they can do it in back-to-back games.

These four can also be inserted into the rotation if any of the projected five starters struggle, but if not they could work out of the pen. The questions in the middle of the game and possibility of the anticipated starters breaking down is why GM Sandy Alderson traded for relievers last July.

Granted Alderson added quantity and is open to reacquiring Joe Smith and signing Bryan Shaw. But, how much is he willing to spend? Mets’ history dictates he won’t do it; four relievers making $7 million or more is just not in their DNA.

For this plan to work the Mets need all three facets of their pitching staff to perform, but there are too many questions and issues working against them.

Nov 08

Adding To Bullpen Will Cost Mets

Even without the top-shelf names of Wade Davis and Greg Holland, the list of relievers the Mets are reportedly considering for their bullpen is pretty intriguing – and potentially expensive.

Addison Reed ($7.75 million in 2017), Luke Gregerson ($6.25 million), Bryan Shaw ($4.9 million), Mike Minor ($4 million), Brandon Kintzler ($2.9 million) and Matt Albers ($1.4 million) are sure command sizeable raises, but even more when you consider the Mets already have three relievers already at the back end of their bullpen.

Closer Jeurys Familia ($7.425 million) and AJ Ramos ($6.55 million) are arbitration eligible, and assuming they win their cases will earn at least $8.5 million, and Jerry Blevins option for $7 million has already been picked up. That already adds up to at least $24 million for three relievers, and you figure up to four more. If one of them is reportedly Shaw, who played under new Mets manager Mickey Callaway last season in Cleveland, that works in their favor.

What doesn’t is the depth in the Mets’ bullpen at the back end. Reed and Gregerson should both command over $8 million, while Shaw should get at least $7 million. Now, you’ve all followed the Mets for a long time, and do you really think they will pay at least $7 million to four or five relievers?

That’s to start. All these free-agent relievers are looking for opportunities to close, and if they are asked to sacrifice that role to come to the Mets, they likely would want to be paid like a closer in order to take a lesser role.

I’m not saying the Mets won’t add a reliever, or if any of the relievers they added in their midseason purge of their offensive power will make it, or if any of the arms currently on their roster will develop. I’m saying that knowing how the Mets do things, if they go outside the organization to add to their bullpen it will cost them.