Sep 23

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.

Sep 23

About Last Night ….

Someday, Jon Niese might become a viable major league pitcher. That he started such a critical game last night indicates the seriousness of the Mets’ pitching woes and I’ve drawn these conclusions:

Maine: Don't risk him in pen.

Maine: Don't risk him in pen.


1. John Maine is too valuable for them to screw around with in the bullpen considering his health issues. He’s not going to be the difference. They will not win the World Series this year. Shut him down and have him be ready for spring training.

2. Pedro Martinez has had a Hall of Fame career. But, those days are gone. If he comes back next year, it should be as the fifth starter. They should cut ties with Martinez, but I’m entertaining his return because I anticipate Oliver Perez’s departure and Niese not being ready.

3. It is a sad state of affairs Perez will become richer than beyond his wildest dreams for being mediocre. He’s pitched well this year in parts, but his record screams mediocrity.

4. Of course, the records of Maine, Perez, Johan Santana and even Mike Pelfrey are below what they should be because of a bullpen that blew 29 saves. The pen has to be overhauled.

Sep 20

Why are they doing this with Maine?

Normally the Mets are conservative with their pitchers. But, it seems they are taking a risk with John Maine. I don’t buy the defense that he can’t hurt it anymore. I’m no doctor, but pain and discomfort are warning signs.

He’s scheduled to throw a simulated game today. I think this is a mistake. If this needs surgery, then do it now and give him more time to get ready for spring training. He’s too valuable to mess around with.

Sep 09

Life without Wagner ….

There a couple of ways at looking at Billy Wagner’s injury.

One, the Mets are without their closer down the stretch, but so far the committee has worked.

Two, and most importantly, they know the severity of the injury and can prepare not only for the remaining three weeks of the season and possibly the playoffs, but the next year. I never liked the waiting they did for Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez (a Met trivia question), and now they are spared it with Wagner.

They don’t have him. They won’t have him next year. Fine. Now they know they need a closer. How bad would it have been had Wagner closed out the season only to blow out his elbow next year in spring training?

Sep 05

Sept. 5.08: Time to prove something.

Do you remember, their lead last year that disappeared in two weeks?

Of course, you do. Let’s hope the Mets remember, too. Willie Randolph said in spring training that the collapse was behind them, but when he took over Jerry Manuel said if he were manager he would have hammered the collapse home as a motivator.

If nothing else, the Mets should have learned about fragility. And, that’s not just in the late innings when the bullpen has the game. It is advancing runners and hitting with runners in scoring position from the first inning on. They’ve played well lately, but this remains a concern.

What the Mets should have learned from last year is the development of the killer instinct. No matter what happens this weekend, the Mets will not win or lose the NL East. But, winning two of three, at least, gives them the hammer.

Let’s hope this time, they don’t drop it on their foot.

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