In about the course of an hour on Tuesday the Mets completely remade their bullpen. So who is in and who is out for 2012? Here are the definites:
That leaves three spots for the holdovers:
Carrasco is only on the list because he is under contract, but he proved to be absolutely useless in 2011 and likely will spend the year in Buffalo.
Acosta looked good and could win a spot.
Pedro Beato struggled at times last season and probably would have been better served spending some time in the minors, but he was a Rule 5 guy and could not be sent down. Unless he pitches lights-out in spring training, my guess is that he will be sent down for some seasoning and re-emerge sometime during the summer.
Herrera also looked good after coming over for K-Rod. He has a leg up on the competition because he is a lefty. I predict he’ll make the team.
Stinson got off to a strong start but then struggled. He could win a spot if he pitches well in the spring, but will likely start the year in Buffalo.
Which brings us to Parnell (below). The closer’s job was his to lose after Jason Isringhausen got his 300th save, and he did indeed lose the job. Sure he throws 100 mph, but it is as straight as George Clooney. Even an average major league hitter can catch up to a 100 mph fastball if it has no movement.
Perhaps it is time to trade Parnell. The two-year contract for Francisco is evidence that the Mets don’t think Parnell will ever be a closer, at least not for the next two seasons. He’s not even the eighth inning guy anymore. If they can trade him and get a “positional starter” as was reported this week, then they should do it. If not, Parnell will almost definitely be part of the bullpen in 2012.
I find it interesting that Sandy Alderson spent so much on the bullpen — $6 million for Francisco, $3.5 million for Rauch and probably $2 million for Ramirez. For a team with a limited budget, it was kind of surprising, especially the $3.5 million for the eighth inning. Certainly the bullpen needed help, but so does the rotation and catcher position.
By his own admission Alderson does not have much more money to spend. Perhaps he knows the weak starting rotation will require a strong bullpen, so he put his money there. Interesting strategy.