Bullpen Issues Need To Be Address Sooner Rather Than Later

By Kevin Baez

With the 2012 season reaching the mid waypoint, it is a delight to Mets fans to see this team be relevant, especially when many predicted this organization finish the season in last-place in the tough NL East. Many fans viewed the departure of Jose Reyes as a sign of tough times ahead. However, to the credit of Terry Collins and his coaching staff, this team is proving all the doubters wrong.

The New York Mets are currently just three and a half games behind the division-leading Washington Nationals. However, Collins has instilled a gritty mentality onto a team filled with a number of young, homegrown players. Despite injuries to guys at the major league level, players called up from the minors find a way to rise up to the occasion and contribute to this team. This team also has veterans such as Johan Santana, R.A. Dickey and David Wright to help inject positive chemistry into the clubhouse for this organization. A big part of this team’s early success has got to do with Santana staying healthy, pitching effectively along with Dickey transforming into an ace. Those two guys are proven leaders that lead by example, just as much as they serve as a  mentor to younger players.

Via SNY Mets telecast on 6/20 vs. Baltimore Orioles

Dickey & Santana                   Other Starters

Team Record                                                                  20-6                                       17-24

ERA                                                                                   2.46                                        4.32

K/9 IP                                                                                 9.2                                           7.2

OPP Avg.                                                                          .203                                        .271

Complete Games                                                               5                                               0

As much positivity I would like to shine on this team, one key area seems very problematic to me: The bullpen. Despite spending over $15 million on the back end of the bullpen, New York has yet to see any proven results. Currently ranked last in team ERA — 5.27 — throughout the majors, this organization needs to take immediate action now that the team is still in contention. During last night’s subway series game on ESPN, analyst and former manager Terry Francona mentioned how the Mets need to address the bullpen issue before it becomes further exposed later in the season. I couldn’t agree more with his belief.

With Sandy Alderson mentioning that the bullpen is an area that may very well be addressed later in the season, as the trade deadline approaches, Mets’ fans have to wonder if this team can afford to wait a few weeks before making roster moves via trade to try and help improve this club for a push towards the playoffs. I understand that relievers are by far one of the most inconsistent areas to predict from a statistical standpoint, therefore, I am not for giving up top prospects for a reliever who is currently having a good season. As I mentioned in my earlier article about the lack of improvement from the 2011 bullpen, scouting plays a vital role in obtaining players that can make a contribution to a team, because ideally the goal this trade deadline should be to find low-risk, high reward type relievers. It’s not an easy task, however, it can be accomplished. Any move to try and address this area is well deserved. It would definitely send a positive message to the Mets’ fan base that have stand by this franchise, even during its darkest days.