If I would have told you the New York Mets would be potential buyers featured in MLB rumors most of you would have had me committed. Well, we are about to enter July and the New York Mets are right in the thick of the playoff race and could possibly look to add some help to shore up some areas. One of the Mets biggest areas of need is their bullpen. Their closer, Frank Francisco, was placed on the DL following his save against the New York Yankees last Friday and while Francisco was starting to get better he was no sure thing in the 9th inning.
The Mets bullpen is a blown save waiting to happen right now. They are currently last in baseball with a 5.21 ERA. Miguel Batista, Jon Rauch, and a slew of others have been pitching high leverage innings when they really shouldn’t be. The Mets have a trio of very good starters in Johan Santana, R.A. Dickey, and Jonathan Niese. Throw in Dillon Gee and Chris Young and it is among the league’s best overall. However, the bullpen has been allowing too many winnable games to slip through the Mets grasp.
Right now there are several teams that will be sellers before or at the deadline. The Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres, and Chicago Cubs are all sellers right now. The Mets will have to soon decide whether they will stay the course, add a piece, or further their rebuilding by becoming sellers in what might be a thin market. Although I do not expect the latter to occur it is still something Sandy Alderson will assess like any good general manager should.
Padres closer Huston Street would be an interesting trade target for the Mets. Street has playoff experience and is pitching very well in San Diego. He is making $7.5 million this season and the Mets would be getting him for a prorated salary of less than $4 million because the Colorado Rockies are picking up $1 million of his salary this year. Next year, however, he might be too pricey for the Mets at $9 million but he does have a $500,000 buyout. Or, the Mets could always dangle him in a trade and see what kind of returns they can get.
Another intriguing possibility would be Brandon League of the Mariners. League was very good last season for a bad Mariners ballclub. This season he has been respectable. He makes $5 million this season and is 4th year arbitration eligible but I can’t imagine him getting a lot more than $5-7 million a year.
Brandon Lyon of the Houston Astros would also seem to be a good fit. He has posted a 2.79 Era in 31 appearances this season. Lyon is set to become a free agent at the end of the year and will be owed somewhere in the vicinity of $3 million for the rest of this year. He won’t cost a ton in prospects either.
League, Street, and Lyon would all be an instant upgrade over Francisco as closer and, by moving Francisco to set-up man, the Mets bullpen is already greatly improved. Francisco and Bobby Parnell setting up Street or League with Tim Byrdak coming in for high-leverage lefty-on-lefty situations is better than Byrdak, Rauch, and Parnell setting up for Francisco.
Alderson has some thinking to do here. It is obvious his bullpen makeover this past offseason is not panning out the way he had hoped. Ramon Ramirez has been dreadful. Frank Francisco has been mediocre. Jon Rauch has been scary. Miguel Batista, while lighting up the radar gun, has also faltered in key spots. It is time for Alderson to admit he has made a mistake in how he built the bullpen and go out and acquire some help.