Vic Black was supposed to be a major part of the Mets bullpen this season. Instead, he developed shoulder tendonitis during Spring Training and was put on the disabled list. When he was healthy, he was optioned to the minors and has struggled all year. Still, the Mets should give him a shot when they expand the roster in September.
The Mets bullpen is threatening to undo all of the good that has happened over the past month. That was in evidence Friday night, when Matt Harvey left the game and the bullpen promptly coughed up the lead. It is clear Terry Collins does not trust most of the arms out there; why else would he have called on Carlos Torres, who threw 2.1 innings on Thursday and has now pitched in four of the last five games? It is not a shock that he pitched poorly.
Speaking of poor pitching, back to Black. In 26 games in Las Vegas, he has an 8.18 ERA. He has 23 strikeouts in 22 innings, but he also has 23 walks. Those are not numbers that warrant a promotion.
But Vic Black has shown in the past that he can be a lights-out reliever. If he is on, a huge if, he can really help down the stretch. It would not really cost the Mets anything to bring him up; they are already paying him for the year and his arbitration clock cannot be stopped.
Here’s what I would do — bring him up, and put him into a blowout game where he cannot do any damage. See what he’s got. If he pitches as poorly as he has in the minors, end his season right there. If not, maybe they can find lightning in a bottle who can help the Mets win the division.
It is a low-risk gamble worth taking, considering the current state of the bullpen and everything for which the Mets have fought thus far this season.