Vic Black, once seen as a shoo-in for the Mets bullpen, was sent to the minors on Wednesday. He certainly earned his demotion with an absolutely horrible spring.
The hard-throwing righty pitched to a 5.79 ERA in 9.1 innings. As unsightly as that is, it cannot even compare to the ugliness of allowing 13 hits and 10 walks over the span. On the bright side, Black did strike out nine batters.
“I didn’t see it coming, but I also couldn’t expect anything different really because what I did was struggle all spring,” Black told ESPN New York. “And that’s not what they’re trying to put together on the team right now. Like they said, especially starting off, you’re trying to get hot out of the gates, and I didn’t give them the best opportunity for what they were hoping. I know they were disappointed, as am I, which is part of it. But I’ll be back.”
Many Mets observers were touting the 25-year old Black as the eighth inning set-up guy, even the possible closer if Bobby Parnell was not healthy. That seemed a bit premature to me. Yes, he looked very good last September, but to anoint him such an important role after just 17 major league innings was the classic example of jumping the gun.
Vic Black is the second young reliever on whom the Mets were counting who will instead start the season in Las Vegas — Josh Edgin was sent down a couple of weeks ago.
Jose Valverde was told on Wednesday that he will make the team, so the bullpen should consist of Parnell, Valverde, John Lannan, Carlos Torres, Jeurys Familia, Scott Rice and probably Gonzalez Germen. The Mets resigned Kyle Farnsworth on Wednesday, so he is a consideration as well. But it is more likely that he will join Black and Edgin in the bullpen out West.