Five Moves The Mets Could Make In The Bullpen
After a second, consecutive dreadful outing, Sandy Alderson designated D.J. Carrasco for assignment and promoting southpaw Robert Carson from Binghamton. The move is the first in what could be a semi-overhaul of the Mets atrocious bullpen and at the very least gives the team 1) a second lefty to give Terry Collins more flexibility and 2) a fresh face. With others floundering as well, here are some other moves that could be made in the near future:
DFA Manny Acosta: I’m not a big supporter of Acosta-he throws hard, but straight, and his breaking ball has always been suspect. Admittedly, he posted solid numbers in 2011 (3.45 ERA, 8.8 K/9 and 2.87 K/BB in 47 IP), but even the staunchest of Acosta-lytes had to admit this year he has been ineffective. In 17.2 innings, he’s allowed 18 earned runs on 24 hits and 10 walks, striking out 14 while
serving up four long balls. His success over the past couple of seasons might earn him a bit more rope, but if he continues to struggle, he could be gone before long.
Promote Elvin Ramirez: Now aged twenty-four, Ramirez has been lights out in 2012. Splitting time between Binghamton and Buffalo, Ramirez has tossed 18.2 innings, fanning 22 batters while allowing just two earned runs on nine hits. He has struggled a little with his control, issuing seven free passes, but if he keeps up the good work, Ramirez will be in the Majors before long, possibly replacing the aforementioned Acosta.
Move Bobby Parnell to the eighth inning role: Parnell has made great strides this season by making two adjustments. First, he’s dialed back his fastball, throwing it at an average of 94.9 mph, as opposed to the 97.2 mph he was throwing last season. By not throwing as hard, Parnell has been better able to locate his heater and get more movement. Second, he’s added a curveball (taught to him by Jason Isringhausen) which has been solid. The result is that Parnell has allowed only four earned runs on 19 hits and three walks in 17 innings while punching out 17. The number of hits is a little high, but Bobby is featuring the best control of his career and still generating strikeouts. Collins should take advantage of his success and make Parnell the setup man or use him in high leverage situations (which he did last night, but then made the mistake of removing Parnell from the game after retiring just one batter).
Move Jon Rauch to lower leverage situations: Rauch has been effective for the most part this season, but how the BABIP is starting to rise which creates problems. Rauch has only struck out seven batters in 15.2 innings and owns a ground ball rate of just 35.2%. That means a lot of balls are going in play and eventually some are going to fall for hits. Not every reliever needs to be a flame thrower, but if you can’t get a strikeout when necessary, you’re probably better served for lower leverage situations. Rauch has struggled so far this season with inherited runners, allowing four out of seven to score. He’s going to have to up the strikeout rate in order to stay in the setup role.
One more possibility: A lot of talk has been centered around Jenrry Mejia‘s future, and if he will start or relieve. If Chris Young is healthy, signs point to Mejia joining the relief corps, but what if both Young and Mejia started while Miguel Batista and Dillon Gee went to the bullpen (or Batista was designated for assignment)? Mejia’s role will probably be as a reliever in the long run, but it seems like a waste to stick him there without giving him a chance to prove himself in the rotation. Gee, meanwhile, has been inconsistent and might benefit from a move to the bullpen, taking over the long-man role. Just a thought.
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