The Chris Wilcox’s BlueAndOrange.net Plan for 2010 – The Bullpen

Fourth part of a series.  For my plan for catcher, the infield, and the outfield, click on over.

Unlike last season, the bullpen seems to be pretty uncomplicated going into next season, and I don’t foresee much change to come.  That’s probably a good thing, as under Omar Minaya, the Mets have blown way too much money trying to fix the bullpen since he took over as GM in 2004.  Most members of last year’s bullpen are under team control another season, so we should expect to see much the same cast of characters back in New York for 2010.

Closer

Player under team control:  Francisco Rodriguez

Expiring contract:  J.J. Putz

Possible free agents:  Mike Gonzalez, Kevin Gregg, Fernando Rodney, Rafael Soriano, Jose Valverde, Billy Wagner*

* – team or mutual option for 2010

Trade candidates:  Nobody comes to mind

I would love to see the Mets trade Francisco Rodriguez.  He is due another $25 million over the next two years, plus that 2012 vesting option for $17.5 million looms over everything else.  Plus, he really wasn’t that good this year, his strikeout rate declined for the sixth straight season and his walk and home run rates both increased, the walk rate to a career high.  Does anybody really think Frankie is going to be worth $42.5 million over the next three years when all of his numbers point to him going backwards?  That seems like an awful lot of money for what was really a PR move after the 2008 bullpen woes.

While we’re talking closers, here’s a fun fact; Randy Myers is the last closer developed by the Mets farm system.  Since then, they have used John Franco (acquired by trade for Myers), Armando Benitez (acquired by trade), Dave Weathers and Mike Stanton (signed as free agents), Braden Looper (signed as a free agent), Billy Wagner (signed as a free agent), and Frankie.  The Mets just finished their 20th straight season without a homegrown closer.  That seems almost impossible.  No wonder they keep building such high payrolls with such little returns, they’re wasting money on the bullpen when if they developed pitchers a little better, they could develop a closer at a much lower cost.

My suggestion:  Hold onto Frankie for another year and hope he can rebuild some of his trade value for next season.  As long as he can get dumped before that vesting option hits, they should be fine.

Right-Handed Relief

Player under team control:  Sean Green, Bobby Parnell, Brian Stokes, Lance Broadway, Tim Redding, Nelson Figueroa, Tobi Stoner, Eddie Kunz, Fernando Nieve, Carlos Muniz (is he even still with the team?)

Expiring contract:  J.J. Putz*, Elmer Dessens

Possible free agents:  Luis Ayala, Dannys Baez, Joaquin Benoit, Rafael Betancourt*, Chad Bradford, Doug Brocail*, Kiko Calero, Chad Cordero, Brenden Donnelly, Octavio Dotel, Kelvim Escobar, Eric Gagne, Tom Gordon, LaTroy Hawkins, Matt Herges, Bob Howry, Jason Isringhausen, Jorge Julio, Masahide Kobayashi, Brandon Lyon, Gary Majewski, Guillermo Mota, Troy Percival, Juan Rincon, Takashi Saito*, Duaner Sanchez, Rudy Seanez, Justin Speier, Russ Springer, Julian Tavarez, Luis Vizcaino, David Weathers*, Jamey Wright, Yasuhiko Yabuta

* – team or mutual option for 2010

Trade candidates:  Probably every right-handed reliever in baseball could be had for the right price

After writing all of those possible free agents, I don’t think the Mets really have to do anything for next year.  Bobby Parnell should be seen as a reliever moving forward, and I think he can excel in a setup role given the opportunity next year.  Sean Green should continue to be used as poison against right-handed hitters.  Brian Stokes should continue to be used as a low leverage reliever, being as though he really isn’t that good.  I would like to see the team bring back Redding, Figueroa, and Nieve with them battling it out for the last bullpen spot and spot start duty, sort of the Darren Oliver role, with the other two going to Buffalo (assuming that Redding has options, which I think he does).  They should not have to pursue a right-handed reliever at all, unless they trade one of the other guys.

My suggestion:  Status quo. 

Left-handed Relief

Players under team control:  Pedro Feliciano, Pat Misch, Adam Bostick

Expiring contracts:  None

Possible free agents:  Joe Beimel, Alan Embree*, Scott Eyre, Casey Fossum, John Grabow, Eddie Guardado, Ron Mahay, Will Ohman*, Darren Oliver, Glendon Rusch, Scott Schoeneweis, Brian Shouse*, Ron Villone, Jamie Walker

* – team or mutual option for 2010

Trade candidates:  Who even knows?

You will read a lot this offseason about how the Mets “need” another lefty to go along with Pedro Feliciano.  It’s bunk.  As Will pointed out, the Mets have a capable extra lefty already in their employ in Adam Bostick.  Bostick should be given a real shot at making the team in spring training, and paired with Feliciano as the team’s two lefties out of the bullpen.  Pat Misch isn’t anything special, and doesn’t get left handed hitters out.  I don’t see the value in keeping him around unless it’s as a motivational tool for Bostick in spring training to make him feel like he has to “earn” a spot.  But Feliciano and Bostick should more than capably fill the duty of pitching to left handed pitchers, and Bostick shouldn’t be a problem against righties either.

My suggestion:  Retain Feliciano, promote Bostick, drop Misch.

Next: The Starting Rotation

Thanks to MLBtraderumors.com for their list of available free agents for 2010.

2 Responses to “The Chris Wilcox’s BlueAndOrange.net Plan for 2010 – The Bullpen”

  1. tjv101 says:

    Just to refresh your memory, Minaya and Wilpon still harp on their signing of “the best free agent closer out there” when they signed K-Rod. I literally just heard them say that the other day despite K-rod not being all that special. I like K-rod and don’t believe the Mets plan on shipping him unless he has a 2010 season like Brad Lidge had of 2009. He’s been on a contending team with the Angels since 2002 and was pretty effective. I believe, provided the right pieces are put into place for this team to contend, K-Rod will bounce back and be more effective next season. It’s interesting the Mets haven’t had a home grown closer since Randy Myers. Let’s be honest here…the Mets haven’t had many homegrown players at all the last 20 years (except for Wright an Reyes) so why be any different. Let’s get to the rest of the bullpen. Each season, certain players in the pen are effective and the next season completely ineffective. I think that’s safe to say except for players who are closers. So why not just keep what you have. Most of the time, parnell and green got the job done so keep them around along with the Cal Ripken Jr. of the bullpen, Pedro Feliciano. The bullpen should be one of the least worries of the Mets this off-season.

  2. Chris Wilcox says:

    A smart team would shop Frankie before they have to pay that option year. That’s why they should be looking to shop him, and hopefully that won’t be Minaya’s decision after 2010.

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