When the New York Mets, as they’re expected to, finalize a contract with reliever Brandon Lyon, they will put the finishing touches on what could be a much-improved bullpen from the inept and overpaid group that occupied the Citi Field bullpen in 2012.
After last year’s disaster in the bullpen, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson took a completely different approach when it came to assembling his bullpen for the 2013 season. Last offseason, Alderson was quick to hand out large sums of money to veteran journeymen relievers, by far the most fickle and inconsistent players in the game from year to year, only to see the production fall well short of the investment. This offseason, Alderson played the waiting game, and wound up with a large contingent of proven veterans on low-risk contracts, most of whom will have no guarantee of making the team, and will therefore be motivated to show their best stuff.
In addition to Lyon, the list of names the Mets have invited to major league camp includes Scott Atchison, LaTroy Hawkins, Greg Burke, Pedro Feliciano, and Aaron Laffey. It’s a list that contains no shortage of major league experience, and while the best days are behind a majority of the members of the list, they are all still capable of being cheap and reliable bullpen pieces, which is exactly what the Mets are looking for.
In the end, if half of the low-risk relievers the team signed work out, the Mets will have more than enough help in the bullpen to get them through the 2013 season. In addition to the stability and experience that Lyon will bring, New York already has the likes of Bobby Parnell and Josh Edgin as mainstays in the bullpen, as well as a promising group of youngsters that are close to being ready and could fulfill bullpen roles at some point in 2013 if necessary, including Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Robert Carson, Elvin Ramirez, and Collin McHugh.
The Mets would prefer to wait on their younger players, but if they end up being far from the playoff picture in the second half of the season, they would have no problem giving them a chance to prove themselves. In the meantime, the veterans that Alderson has signed, who all have a lot to prove at this stage in their careers, will get the first crack at winning spots in the Mets bullpen, and giving the Mets the competent and reliable they need to stay competitive in 2013. With the guys that Alderson has brought in, especially with the pending addition of Lyon, it’s a good bet that the young bullpen arms the Mets are stockpiling will have to wait a little bit longer.