Sandy Alderson spoke with the media before the Mets took the field in their series opener against the Nationals in Washington DC, and despite not winning a game since before the All-Star break, the New York GM once again said that the Amazins will indeed be buyers as the trade deadline rolls around. However, he did shed some light about a couple of relievers they have shown interest in recently.
When it comes to Francisco Rodriguez of the Brewers and Huston Street of the Padres, Alderson has said that these relievers are “too pricey” for the Mets to go after. In the case of K-Rod, Milwaukee is looking for prospects in return of a trade, and are unwilling to pick up any of the remaining $4 million on his current contract. Couple that with the checkered past that Rodriguez had in New York, and that alone should be enough to take him off Alderson’s radar.
As for Street, even though he said he would welcome a trade to the Mets and would make it his priority to seek out bench coach Bob Geren to settle their differences, it looks unlikely he will be joining a battered bullpen in Flushing. He has the opportunity to become a free agent after the season, but only if the Padres buy out his contract for $500K. Otherwise, he holds an option for $9 million in 2013. Paying someone who’s not your closer almost $10 million just doesn’t make any fiscal sense.
So, with these two relievers off the Mets’ wish list, that still leaves pitchers like Jonathan Broxton, Brandon Lyon, Brett Myers, and Rafael Betancourt. Once again, an MLB source told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that the Mets are interested in Broxton, and they have every right to be because he can give New York exactly what they need: some stability. Through last night’s games, he’s appeared 33 times, sporting a 1-1 record, 2.14 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 23 strikeouts, and has converted 22 of 26 save opportunities. Now that we’re halfway through the year, he’s due $2 million on his current contract, a price that Alderson can stomach for a reliever. The catch is that the Royals are looking for a MLB player in return, which begs to ask the question…who would Alderson see as available to trade on the MLB roster? Jordany Valdespin comes to mind, especially since Kansas City doesn’t look to have a second baseman for their future. It’s hard to talk about trading ‘Spin after last night and his other late game heroics, but he’s an option.
There is no doubt that this team needs bullpen help…and I’m stating the obvious here. With the amount of faith Collins has shown in his relievers outside of Bobby Parnell and Tim Byrdak this season, the ‘pen needs to get blown up. It makes me scratch my head to wonder why Jon Rauch wasn’t brought in last night to save the ballgame in the 10th. After Parnell made his exit once he blew the save, Rauch was the only reliever left for Collins that has significant closer experience. He obviously doesn’t trust him, as he’s pitched only one inning since July 5th, and hasn’t given up an earned run since June 23rd. Pedro Beato hasn’t proved himself just yet in his limited time, and neither has Josh Edgin (although, the lefty looks legit). Ramon Ramirez has had quality appearances since the All-Star break, but it’s too early to tell if he’s back to the type of pitcher he was in San Francisco last season.
The first step to rebuilding this bullpen is to acquire Broxton. If Alderson and the front office really believe they are buyers and believe this team can compete for the long haul in 2012, we’ll see a deal done for the burly right-hander. Once Frank Francisco comes back (God knows when that will be with his latest setback), Terry Collins would have a 7th inning man in Parnell, an 8th inning man in Broxton, and then Francisco ready to shut the door in the 9th. With the length the Mets have been getting from their starting rotation this year, this could be exactly what they need to fix the problem. Collins liked not giving his relievers roles, but that’s clearly not working.
With a current five-game losing streak, the ship hasn’t sunk yet, but the Mets need to get back on track in a hurry. It behooves Sandy Alderson to quickly make a deal to inject some energy into this team. They’re doing the best they can to stay afloat, as if last night’s two comebacks weren’t enough proof. The clock is ticking, Sandy. You say the Mets are buyers; let’s see it.