Posted by Reese Kaplan at 8:00 AM
As the trade deadline approaches the Mets are apparently seeking bullpen help. After Jeurys Familia, Addison Reed, Hansel Robles and Jerry Blevins, the remainder of the warm bodies tested out there have had mixed results at best. This announcement is somewhat surprising as they are apparently content to live with Logan Verrett as the 5th starter despite his 5.23 ERA, 18 Ks and 15 BBs (along with 32 hits) over 31 IP.
Then again, in 2015 the team was struggling mightily to score runs but after the addition of bench pieces Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, the first acquisition made was Tyler Clippard (followed soon by Addison Reed and the ill-fated trial of Eric O’Flaherty). Yoenis Cespedes, of course, eventually came to fortify the offense.
This year the rumor about Jonathon Lucroy was interesting as he is indeed a solid bat, but when I floated the idea of approaching the Brewers about him earlier when Kevin Plawecki was getting the lion’s share of the ABs, nothing was done. Still, he’s not going to add a Cespedes-like charge to the offense.
We’ve all heard the rumors about various bullpen arms who might be acquired. I have a few thoughts about quality pitchers they might have considered:
There’s one middle reliever to consider who has a 1-2 record, but a nice 3.05 ERA and a very impressive 0.992 WHIP over 33 games. There’s another rubber armed pitcher who is 2-1 with a 2.90 ERA over 43 games. Then there’s a third off to a fast 16 game start with a 3-1 record, 3.00 ERA and a terrific 1.067 WHIP. All three of these players were once NY Mets and sacrificed for absolutely nothing in return.
The first pitcher is the St. Louis Cardinals’ Matt Bowman unprotected in the Rule V draft after a minor league career in which his worst year prior to 2015 was a 3.22 ERA. He hit the usual wall in Las Vegas and the Mets foolishly decided to put him up for grabs.
The second pitcher was a surprising cut by the Mets – Carlos Torres – who turned in two excellent years for the Mets followed by one poor one. He was cut loose probably more in fear of what he might earn than due to that one outlier season. He did nearly double his pay to the $950K range this year but he’s certainly earning it.
The third pitcher was a result of a bump from the 40-man roster when barely given an opportunity to show what he could do at the major league level despite some pretty gaudy minor league numbers. Dario Alvarez was DFA’d and the Braves astutely picked him up. He’s rewarded their faith quite nicely through his first 16 games. The Mets gave him a whopping 5 innings combined over 2 seasons and declared him a failure.
Lest we be too harsh on Sandy Alderson, when he tired of some proven mediocrities and cut them loose – Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Ruben Tejada, Anthony Recker, Eric Young, Jr., and Juan Uribe – none have come back to haunt the club. In fact, one might even question why the Mets were enamored with them as long as they were.
Oddly, for a club that eschewed the free agent marketplace for a long time as a way of filling roster vacancies, the 2016 club is mostly comprised of a great many free agent acquisitions. This year saw Jim Henderson, Asdrubal Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, Alejandro De Aza, Yoenis Cespedes, Antonio Bastardo, Jerry Blevins and Jose Reyes all come to the Mets by them choosing simply to go for the money. James Loney was a cash transaction and no resources were sacrificed in that deal either.
In fact, the only trades that Alderson has made are the Pittsburgh Pirates deal sending Jonathon Niese for Neil Walker – edge to the Mets – and the very silly Braves trade sending Akeel Morris for former 2015 Met Kelly Johnson. Granted, with a .250 average as a Met last year, he didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but you sacrificed a quality arm who thus far in the Braves system is 3-0 with a 3.12 ERA and 22 Ks in 17.1 IP. You could have had Johnson for dollars alone. Now you pay him the dollars and lost a prospect to reacquire him. That’s a clunker of a deal (though not quite as bad as the Alejandro De Aza or Antonio Bastardo disasters).
Today the Mets said the Lucroy deal is off the table but relievers are still on their radar. I guess there will be plenty of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 losses for the remainder of the year. At least they will have battled.