Sandy Alderson Should Be Proactive With Bullpen to Save a Good Start

By Michael Lecolant

Fire in the hole!  That’s two large scale implosions in three days and the smell of failed opportunities.

The honeymoon period on 2012 will soon end.  Once June rolls around, school will have ended, and the true ticket count at Citi Field, and for Mr. Wilpon, will begin in earnest.  That’s something to keep in mind when it comes to the Mets bullpen, possible in-season adjustments, and roster management.

Within a month or so, everyone will get back to watching baseball with two eyes again, instead of with one eye on the Hockey and Basketball playoffs. But by the time those sports wrap it up, the Mets bullpen can have all of Flushing in flames by then, with the trade deadline still well out of sight.

The bullpen are the only ones to blame for the now hastening vote of no confidence against them.  Blown saves of the Game One and Three variety against the Marlins are becoming too common.  My fellow Rising Apple writers and I have touched upon this.  Fans have been itchy.  And the Media has even given them a fair shake in light of a good team start this year.  But with regards to the bullpen, I’m sorry to say the days of patience are fast coming to an end.  It is now mid-May.  And these kind of losses are dotting the Mets loss column in the standings like a bad case of chicken pox.

In times like these, there are over-reactions; knee jerk reactions; angry reactions; fan reactions; media reactions; and sometimes no reaction at all.  But right at this moment, the Mets may need to take action.  Should the Mets continue to take a reactive approach with the bullpen?  Or should they now initiate a more proactive approach with the bullpen?  I’m in favor of the latter.  You know what Einstein said about the former.

This much is known – They’ve taken good quality starts, lively hitting, leads, tie games, and comebacks, and laid them all to waste at various times this season.  This unit represents the team’s ultimate weakness.  After Bobby Parnell, this is the one area Omar Minaya didn’t leave Sandy too much to work with.  Therefore, the bullpen has been Sandy Alderson’s pet project.  And so, this is the GM’s problem to solve.

Even I have to admit, the addition of a second Wild Card has changed even my thinking, but so long as what we do, does not deviate from continuing to rebuild properly.  The Mets have a good April start, and a productive month of May still in hand.  A modification of the bullpen by the General Manager soon, can perhaps protect this start, because the starting pitching, and the team’s hitting, warrant action.  It’s called, in-season management.  After all, what good are all the team’s other positive attributes if we can’t close games?

We can’t do anything about Frank Francisco.  Sandy gave him too much money to bail out on him now.  But even he is fourth in, and still may yet turn himself around.  However, Ramon Ramirez, Miguel Batista, and Manny Acosta, are like playing with matches inside a house of straw.

To be fair, a fraction of any bullpens’ problem stems from over use.  Over the immediate future, Johan Santana, R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese, are at least starting to stretch out their starts a little.  That will help.  If Dillon Gee can follow suit, even better.  But that alone won’t help.

Every team has bullpen problems.  Look at the Yankees.  So no, there are probably no good relievers to speak of available for trade.  The GM will just have to be an astute monitor of the waiver wire, scout the independents, and do his homework the old fashioned way.  But in the mean time, there are one or two relief pitchers with the Buffalo Bisons who can certainly do no worse than the gentlemen currently blowing games for the Mets now.

The bullpen has and continues to be the Sandy Alderson Project.  I’m not necessarily stressing a solution here.  But I am seeking a proactive approach to this problem.

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