After Tim Byrdak’s inability to close out Tuesday’s horrendous game in Washington, now the Mets do not have a single reliever who is capable of getting three outs. It is a sad state of affairs that threatens to ruin what could have been a magical season.
Byrdak was supposed to be one of the good ones, yet when you look more closely at his statistics, it appears he is just like the rest of his bullpen mates. He has walked 17 batters in 24.1 innings. That is a lot of walks. Byrdak is strictly a lefty specialist who should never pitch to a righty. Left handed hitters have a .250 on-base percentage against him, as compared to .457 for right handed hitters.
But of course Byrdak is just the best of a bad bunch. Bobby Parnell doesn’t walk many batters — eight in 36.2 innings. But he’s given up 40 hits, and it seems like all of them have come in crucial situations. A 100 mph fastball is great, but any major leaguer can catch up to such a pitch if it has no movement. Parnell has proven once again that he is not a closer and is suited to non-pressure situations.
The other holdover from last season, Miguel Batista, is basically useless. As a reliever he’s walked 21 batters in 25 innings. Add in the 24 hits he’s allowed, and that’s too many baserunners.
Sandy Alderson’s expensive, much heralded imports — Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch and Ramon Ramirez — have all been shaky at best. After a solid start Rauch now elicits the same anticipatory groans formerly reserved for such Mets bullpen stalwarts as Scott Schoeneweis and Guillermo Moto. Ramirez has been somewhat adequate and Francisco, now on the DL, has had his ups and downs, but even his successful saves are nail-biting experiences.
To make matters worse, none of the minor leaguers the Mets have been grooming has stepped up to do the job. Robert Carson, Elvin Ramirez and Jeremy Hefner have come and gone with little success, and now Josh Edgin is trying and failing to make a difference.
Is there help on the way? Certainly not from the minors, and Alderson has already said that he will not trade any substantial prospects for veteran bullpen help. Couple that with the Mets likely unwillingness to take on much salary, and why would anyone want to make a deal with Alderson?
If Huston Street or Jonathan Broxton can be had in exchange for low-level prospects and taking on their salaries, the Mets should do such trades in a heartbeat. I am against a reunion with Francisco Rodriguez at any cost; it is bound to end badly.
Alderson needs to do something with the bullpen — doing nothing is equal to throwing in the towel, which would not be fair to the fans or the rest of the team which has overcome so much and is still in a position to make a run at a Wild Card berth.