Sandy Alderson has spent the bulk of the past three off-seasons overhauling the Mets bullpen because each of his successive rebuilding projects had failed. Well, the third time was a charm — Alderson will be able to concentrate on more pressing needs this winter because his latest bullpen renovation has succeeded.
The 2014 bullpen should not need many — if any — imports because the Mets have a pretty good in-house crew ready to go:
— Bobby Parnell should be recovered from his recent surgery to reclaim his job as the closer.
— Josh Edgin should also be recovered from his surgery. He was pitching very well since his recall from the minors and should be guaranteed a spot. Then again, he made the team out of Spring Training this season, only to flop and have to be sent down.
— Scott Rice earned a spot in the 2014 Mets bullpen.
— Carlos Torres will likely be the long man/spot starter.
— You can make an argument that LaTroy Hawkins was the team’s MVP this season. At 40 years old, he stepped in when Parnell went down. He said he wants to pitch next season, and there’s no reason to think the Mets wouldn’t want him back.
— Scott Atchison has been all right; no reason not to bring him back.
— While he will have to earn the job, Vic Black is showing a lot of potential to be part of the bullpen next season, probably competing with the likes of Gonzalez Germen.
Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that not every move Alderson has made in the Mets bullpen this season has succeeded. Also, it’s fun to criticize. Remember Brandon Lyon? Greg Burke is just awful. David Aardsma got off to a good start but has disappointed since. And let’s not forget Frank Francisco, owner of the largest free agent contract Alderson has given out in his tenure in Flushing.
But overall I have to give Alderson credit (which is hard for me!) for this year’s Mets bullpen. It’s nice that he finally got things right, so now he can rebuild the outfield. Let’s hope it doesn’t take three tries.