New York Mets Bullpen: Who Stays And Who Goes in 2014?
New York Mets Bullpen: Who Stays And Who Goes in 2014?
The bullpen of the New York Mets, just like any other bullpen in MLB, has gone through plenty of ups and downs this season. The group looked promising heading into the season, but over the first two months of the season, they were just dreadful and a huge liability to a team that really struggled. During that time, there was an almost constant re-configuring of personnel, as general manager Sandy Alderson searched in vain for the right combination of pitchers amidst a myriad of injuries and poor performances.
However, by the middle of July, it seemed like the bullpen was finally rounding into shape, as reinforcements came from the minors and roles started to become more clearly defined. But more recently, because of a slew of extra-inning games and the injury to closer Bobby Parnell, the bullpen seemed to be wearing thin. Right now, they are doing their best to right the ship, hopeful that Parnell will be able to come back soon.
But as August starts to wind down and September approaches, focus starts to shift from this season to next season, and it’s time to consider what the Mets’ bullpen might look like next season. Ultimately, Alderson and the Mets will have to a decide which relievers to bring back to the bullpen next season and which relievers to part ways with, as the Mets hope to build a bullpen that can help them be competitive in 2014. The following is a list of the 12 relievers the Mets have used this season that are still on the 40-man roster and whether or not they should stay in the Mets’ bullpen or go elsewhere in 2014.
David Aardsma, Drop
Aardsma has made a positive impact on the Mets’ bullpen this season, but pitchers like him are the reason why bullpens are so fickle from year to year. He had an opportunity to be the closer after Bobby Parnell went to the disabled list, but it’s obvious that he’s not that caliber of pitcher anymore. The Mets should be able to find other relievers, including some younger guys in their farm system, that can pitch in the 6th and 7th innings, so there’s no need for them to bring back Aardsma for next season.
Scott Atchison, Drop
When healthy, Atchison has made a lot of positive contributions to the Mets’ bullpen this year. He’s a veteran that still throws hard, knows how to get major league hitters out, and won’t cost a lot. However, he has elbow issues and is getting a little too old for the Mets to rely on him. It wouldn’t be a bad thing for the Mets to re-sign him, but they can easily move on without him.
Greg Burke, Drop
Burke has been shipped back and forth all season between New York and triple-A Las Vegas, but when the bullpen finally started to come together, he wasn’t a part of it. It can be nice to have a side-arm pitcher like Burke in the bullpen, but it’s not a necessity, especially for a guy who transitioned to it late in his career and still doesn’t have consistent mechanics that he trusts. If the Mets are looking to upgrade their bullpen, Burke probably isn’t going to be a part of the solution.
Robert Carson, Drop
Carson has spent much of the 2013 season in triple-A, which doesn’t indicate a lot of hope for his future in the big leagues. He throws hard enough to pitch in the majors but has continued to struggle with his control which has led to a lot of walks and home runs, two things you can’t give up coming out of the bullpen. The Mets have several young lefty relievers working their way through the farm system, including a guy like Jack Leathersich, who could be ready for the big leagues at some point in 2014. They might try to keep Carson to provide depth in the minors, but for all intents and purposes, he’s expendable.
Josh Edgin, Keep
Edgin should almost certainly be a part of the Mets' bullpen next season. He got off to a horrible start this season, to the point where he had to be sent to the minors, and an injury ended his season early, but the middle part of his season was exceptional. He allowed just two runs in 19 innings between the time he came back from the minors and the time he went to the disabled list, and that performance, along with his fastball-slider combination, should be enough to keep him around for next year. If he’s the Mets’ second lefty coming out of the bullpen next year, they’ll be in good shape.
Jeurys Familia, Keep
It was such a tough break for the Mets and Familia when he got hurt earlier this season, but if he can make it back healthy, he has a bright future in the Mets’ bullpen. Familia really embraced his role as a reliever this season after spending his entire minor league career as a starter, and he has the kind of fastball-slider combination that can be effective in the late innings of games. Not only will he be in the bullpen next year, but he could also have an important role as a 7th or 8th inning set up man.
Pedro Feliciano, Drop
It’s been great to see Feliciano complete an improbable comeback to the majors, but at his age and with his diminished velocity, the Mets really can’t bring him back next season with any guarantee that he’ll be able to contribute in the bullpen. As sentimental as Mets’ fans may be for “Perpetual Pedro”, if the Mets plan on competing next year they need a bullpen with as many hard throwers as possible, and Feliciano just doesn’t fit that description.
Gonzalez Germen, Keep
Germen didn’t have great numbers in triple-A this season, although he pitched in a hitter-friendly environment, but he’s been a positive addition to the Mets’ bullpen since coming up. He’ll definitely be in the mix next year, as the Mets know that he’s a guy they can shuffle between the majors and triple-A if they need to. At times, he can be used as a 7th inning set up man, while other times he can be used as a long reliever, so there’s a lot of versatility with Germen. He won’t be a main figure in the Mets’ bullpen next season, but he should be a guy they can count on when called upon.
LaTroy Hawkins, Drop
Hawkins is 40 years old and he’s indicated that he’d like to pitch again next season, but it shouldn’t be for the Mets. He’s been one of the best pitchers in the Mets’ bullpen this season and general manager Sandy Alderson certainly deserves credit for giving him a chance, but the Mets can’t possibly expect a 41-year old to be a part of a team they hope will be competitive next season, even though Hawkins proved this season that he can still pitch in the big leagues.
Bobby Parnell, Keep
This is a no brainer; Parnell should be the Mets’ closer for many years to come. Unless the Mets are blown away with a trade offer for him this offseason, he’ll be the Mets closer in 2014, no doubt about it.
Scott Rice, Drop
Rice has been one of the best stories in baseball this season, finally making the majors after 14 seasons in the minors. But there are reasons why it took him so long to break into the big leagues, and they’ve become apparent over the course of the season. He’s been serviceable for the Mets this season and Terry Collins has overused him at times, but he walks far too many batters to be a bullpen contributor on a competitive team. The Mets could bring him back to spring training next year and compete for a spot, but he’s not someone they can depend upon.
Carlos Torres, Keep
General manager Sandy Alderson deserves some credit for finding Torres on the scrap heap and giving him a chance, as the Mets’ bullpen definitely got a boost when he joined the fray. Torres seems to have found his niche as a reliever, and being able to make a start or two when needed makes him even more valuable. He’s versatile, he doesn’t cost much, and he’s under the Mets’ control for a few more seasons, all of which makes Torres a keeper in the Mets’ bullpen for 2014.