The New York Mets have made some big moves this offseason. They signed both Chris Young and Curtis Granderson to solidify their outfield. Then they surprised many by signing starting pitcher Bartolo Colon, who should make a big impact in their starting rotation next season. However, one area that the Mets haven’t addressed is their bullpen, where there could have some holes.
For a quick refresher, it’s important to remember that the Mets’ late-season collapses in 2007 and 2008 were fueled by major lapses in the bullpen. Even if the Mets are better as a whole, issues in the bullpen could potentially outweigh some of the progress they’ve made, by making it difficult to close out games. Right now, the Mets don’t have a lot of guarantees in the bullpen, which makes it odd that they haven’t done anything to address it in the offseason.
The Mets’ have 10 bullpen candidates currently on their 40-man roster. However, three of them are rookies that were recently added to the 40-man roster, and two of them may be used as rotation depth rather than bullpen pieces next season. Four more of the 10 potential bullpen pieces ended last season on the disabled list, most notably closer Bobby Parnell, who the Mets are hopeful but still uncertain about whether he will be fully recovered by spring training.
Clearly, there is some work to be done to sure up the bullpen, and while general manager Sandy Alderson has made moves to improve the lineup and the starting rotation, he’s done nothing to make the bullpen better. The Mets have a few trade chips they are trying to move, but they are reportedly asking for high-end prospects in return, and not getting a lot of takers.
Instead, perhaps they should use their trade chips to acquire some major league relievers in hopes of improving the bullpen, as there is plenty of work left to do in that area of the team. Signing free agent relievers is also an option, but after all the spending the Mets have already done, one has to wonder how much money they have left to spend on the bullpen and whether they’ll be able to afford anybody who is a step up from what they already have. Either way, the Mets need to do something to address the bullpen, because so far this offseason it’s been ignored, which is a bad sign.