Sandy Alderson spent most of the off-season constructing a new bullpen. How’s that working out? Obviously the pitchers themselves are to blame for their performance, but Alderson must accept much of the blame for putting the crew together.
The Mets have by far the worst bullpen ERA in the majors: 5.59. The second worst team, the Brewers, have the Mets beat by more than a run. The Mets also lead all of baseball with 13 blown saves. That might be a bit deceptive because they also have the second most save opportunities with 30, but the Mets save percentage is 57% — just four teams are worse.
What this all means is that the Mets are giving games away, which is unacceptable.
It wasn’t supposed to happen. Alderson spent all of his available budget on relievers –$9 million combined on free agents Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch and $2.65 million on Ramon Ramirez, who came over in the Angel Pagan trade.
After a solid start Rauch has been a disaster. Ramirez, who is currently on the disabled list after pulling a hamstring during the Johan Santana no-hitter celebration, has been up and down all season. Francisco seems to be turning things around of late after a very rough stretch. He has 15 saves and has lowered his ERA from a high of 8.59 a month ago to 5.55.
For all his promise, Bobby Parnell continues to be shaky and unreliable in tight situations. Elvin Ramirez has not looked good. Jeremy Hefner is probably not a reliever. Miguel Batista is old.
Tim Byrdak? He’s the only reliable arm out there but he is strictly a lefty specialist. He leads the majors with 34 games pitched, but incredibly has thrown just 16.2 innings.
Alderson’s in-season decisions regarding the bullpen have been questionable. He stuck too long with Manny Acosta before cutting him. D.J. Carrasco should never have been allowed anywhere near a major league mound; perhaps Alderson was trying to justify the two-year contract he gave him. Pedro Beato was just demoted to Buffalo without throwing a pitch for the Mets.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — putting together a bullpen is a difficult task. Most relievers are mediocre pitchers; not good enough to start, not good enough to close. The Mets are not alone in having bullpen problems, it’s just that the Mets problems have been the worst in baseball.
Alderson seems to be getting a pass in the media for his poor decisions, likely because the team somehow has managed to keep winning. But that may not last much longer. The Mets have lost six of their last seven games and are five games out of first place. A week ago they were one out away from taking sole possession of first place. The bullpen, of course, blew the game.