Somewhere, in the depths of Citi Field, it’s there.
If you listen beyond the rolling of the 7 line, you can hear it.
Almost alone, crouching over a plate the color of dusted ivory, sits Dave Racaniello.
Sixty and one half feet away, winding up to deliver, is Carlos Torres.
Another day gone by, another day to warm up. They don’t play games much here anymore…
But he’ll always be ready.
In 2013, the Mets signed journeyman / kinda castaway Carlos Torres to a minor league contract. Torres would slot in as AAA rotation depth and perhaps provide a spot start or two in the majors.
He ended up starting nine games (which were somewhat mediocre), but Torres secured his first long-term MLB gig with very good work in long-relief. In 24 relief outings, Torres pitched 36.2 innings with a 1.47 ERA. Those numbers guaranteed him a similar role in 2014.
How he fared in 2014:
Torres’ season was a bit up and down, although largely successful. He totaled a career high 97 innings for the Mets (92 in relief), and pitched to a 3.06 ERA overall. His FIP, a less-pretty 3.86, suggests that Torres was occasionally the benefit of some good luck (which is true), but he also showed a knack for making his pitches when the times were tough. In 80 plate appearances with a runner on first base and less than two outs, Torres induced 13 double plays along with a sterling 25.5% strikeout rate with runners on base.
Perhaps Torres’ most impressive outing of 2014 was the lone start he made. After pitching to two batters on August 17th and showing up for work expecting an ordinary day on the 18th, Torres was informed he would be starting that day’s game against the Chicago Cubs. He threw five shutout innings, allowing only five baserunners against six strikeouts.
Aug 12, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Carlos Torres (52) delivers a pitch during the seventh inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Areas to Improve Upon:
Arm strength. In 2014 Torres had the rubberiest of arms as he threw 97 total innings and his 92 as a reliever led the majors in that role. Though the high innings count didn’t take a clear toll on Torres, who has generally been a starter prior to joining the Mets’ pen (and threw nearly 158 total innings in 2013), there was a period in which he seemed to wear down as the season went on. His FIP jumped from 3.00 in the first half to 5.23 mostly on the back of an awful August that saw him allow 4 home runs in 13.2 innings. 2015 should see him throw fewer innings, as the Mets have built a powerful rotation and a potentially dominant bullpen core of Torres, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Vic Black, Josh Edgin, and the returning Bobby Parnell. Nonetheless, Torres appears to be the guy Terry Collins finds first thanks to his ability to escape jams and go multiple innings.
Beyond that, Torres needs to work on the negative components of FIP – walks and home runs. Though he’s been great at stranding runners, it would still be better to allow as few as possible.
Projected role in 2015:
Long relief / emergency swingman, same as the past two seasons. As long as Torres remains effective, he’ll be an important piece in bullpen. His versatility and consistency allow him to be used anywhere, which is valuable with the cache of flamethrowers surrounding him. Aside from Jeurys Familia and whichever of Parnell & Mejia ends up closing the Mets will have three relievers all capable of donning the fireman’s hat so the Mets won’t need Torres as often as they did in 2014.
Contract Status and Trade Rumors:
There’s a chance that Carlos Torres may make the Super-Two cutoff this year, granting him arbitration eligibility one year early. The projected cutoff – around 2 years, 130 days of service – is about two weeks longer than his actual service time of 2.112, but Super-Two deadlines float, as they include the top 22% of players with service time between 2 and 3 years. Either way, this won’t have bearing on Torres’ status with the team; he’s likely well worth the $1M or so he’d make in 2015.
Though his name hasn’t been mentioned in any trade talks, there’s always a chance Torres could be included in any trades that occur this winter. Alone, he isn’t a particularly valuable asset, but there’s nothing that makes him untouchable either. I’d expect him to be back next year, but if someone comes asking, the Mets are going to listen.