Mar 23, 2014; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher John Lannan (32) throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals at Tradition Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Sandy Alderson Earns His First Blown Save Of The Season

I’m not putting the entire season under indictment just because of Monday’s crushing outcome on Opening Day.  I should know better than to lash out.  After all, I’ve been through forty of these.

But I’m upset nonetheless.  In fact, Monday’s Opening Day loss brought my blood to a mid-season boil.  It was just one game – the first game, the first extra inning game, but also the first no-decision, the first blown save, and first loss.

If little girls are made of sugar and spice, and everything nice, then the Mets bullpen must surely be made of hand grenades, mortars, and mines.  Six of the Mets seven relievers on the active roster joined in concert to allow 5 hits, 4 walks, 5 earned runs, and 2 blown saves, in 3.1 innings of work.

Yet, I hold none of them responsible.  More glaring to me, the first game of 2014 was merely an obvious reminder of the facts.  In three previous seasons, Sandy Alderson has continually assembled an inferior bullpen.

Frank Francisco still registers as Alderson’s priciest and most daring free agent bullpen acquisition. Alderson’s best efforts to bolster the bullpen through trade came in the forms of Ramon Ramirez from the Giants, and acquiring Vic Black last year.

All the relievers who’ve ever failed for the Mets over the last three seasons are too numerous, and quite frankly, too inconsequential to list. A shorter list of the more well known late inning tormentors includes Taylor Buchholz, Manny Acosta, Miguel Batista, Pedro Beato, D.J. Carrasco, Jon Rauch, Ryota Igarashi, Scott Atchison, Brandon Lyon, Aaron Laffey, etc., etc.

These were all cast-offs, ranks of the unemployed, or otherwise, who Sandy Alderson hand selected to supplement the pitchers he inherited from within the system, such as Bobby Parnell.

My personal survey of one says – what a miserable job.

That however, is not the root of my present frustration.  When the run on relief pitchers took place this past December, Sandy Alderson stood idly by while a wide selection of quality options dwindled down throughout the month to a remaining scattered and questionable few.

The average money being spent on relievers was in the neighborhood of $4 to $6 million per season.  Many of the free agent relievers signed short term deals.  Despite having already signed a pair of outfielders and a starting pitcher to handsome sums, the market was still ideal, even for the Mets to acquire a reliever, especially considering Bobby Parnell hadn’t really been physically taxed since his surgery yet.  Another $5 million dollar investment would not have put the organization in jeopardy of folding.  In truth, it would only have been $5 million more than they spent last year.

Sandy Alderson waited till early February to address the bullpen.  That may have been a terrible miscalculation on his part, or, more nefariously, a cunning calculation on his part – meaning budgetary restrictions still dictate the decision process.  Signing Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde gave the appearance of a good faith effort.  But if we believe in smoke screens, I’m more inclined to believe they were available because throughout the winter, no one else wanted them, like so many other pitchers Alderson has claimed off the scrap heap.

Of the six relief pitchers who participated in Monday’s game, it was the late winter off-campus acquisition, Jose Valverde, who pitched best.  Now ponder today’s disappointment in terms of a decision made back in December, which was the prime time to address this situation.

This isn’t a knee jerk reaction, or looking back in hindsight.  This was a point of contention for me then, and remained so, leading into Monday afternoon’s game.


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Tags: New York Mets Opening Day Sandy Alderson

  • Ken Meoni

    The pen will be THE number 1 problem this year. It’s always what is left over from other teams. As you mention in the BrooklynTrolleyBlogger, the Wilpons still don’t have money and it will only get worst as money comes due. I don’t live in NY anymore, but I still route for NY teams. I wish these cheap owners would either sell to someone with money or invest what they have in a winner and give me something to route for.

    Until the young arms that we sent down are brought up, this bunch will drag down the team and kill the moral of the team until it is fully disfunctional. Suspect relief pitching does that to a team, but SA still hasn’t figured that out yet. On the positive side, the offense looked good, except for Davis, Duda, Granderson.
    Maybe Abreau will help………yeah right. More retreads. I hate to say it, but Marlon Byrd was the worst thing to happen to the Mets. Now they think they can catch a miracle in retreads and remain cheap in doing it.

    • MikeLecolant.BTB

      Exactly! You hit it on the nose. Scott Hairston and Marlon Byrd were fool’s gold. Don’t they realize we see right through these minimalist attempts?

  • stealthird17

    Don’t worry we signed more old outfielders.

  • stealthird17

    Can’t believe my buddy MDD hits .350 in spring and doesn’t get the call. Of course I’m biased, I thought .350 was pretty good.

    • MikeLecolant.BTB

      I’m in MDD’s corner as well. Blame the first base situation.

    • stealthird17

      Good point. Matt needs to get a first base mitt. :)

  • Ken Meoni

    Mike, who would you have brought up……..Farnsworth or Walters? I thought Walters looked very good in spring training. Where as Farnsworth……………
    Another old retread. They can’t protect the kids forever. Sooner or later you have to use them and they should be rewarded when they look good.

    • MikeLecolant.BTB

      Clearly, tough decisions need to be made. However, haste makes waste. More and more, 2015 is shaping up as the spring board this year was supposed to be. Leave the kids in the minors for now. Sometimes sticking with the plan is unpopular. In the short term, I would continue taking my chances with Josh Edgin, Vic Black, etc. We need about 25 more games to better assess the situation.

    • Ken Meoni

      I really didn’t think this year was the year anyway. I figured this year would be another evaluation year. You are right, I may be jumping the gun. I am optimistic when it comes to the young arms down on the farm. Next year the kids come up and I really hope they are given a chance to shine and they don’t sign fill ins.

  • SL

    As I said last week, let the John Lannan era begin! Itis, frankly a joke, except that it’s just not funny anymore.