Mets: How does Robert Gsellman fit into the bullpen in 2019?
By Tim Boyle
Robert Gsellman will have an important role in the 2019 New York Mets bullpen. Exactly what role will he have?
In the aftermath of Anthony Swarzak landing on the disabled list, I hoped to see the New York Mets name Robert Gsellman the team’s closer. They haven’t.
Instead, we’ve seen Jerry Blevins and Seth Lugo receive save opportunities instead of Gsellman. This leads me to believe the Mets have no intention of using Gsellman as the closer in 2019. If so, what’s his role?
The easy assumption is that he’ll once again begin the year as a multi-inning threat. His main role would be to handle the seventh or eighth inning. Sometimes, the manager may even ask him to handle both.
It’s a little stale to see Gsellman right back where he was at the start of 2018. Surely, even with a few bad games mixed in this summer, Gsellman did enough to earn a chance to win the closer spot. He didn’t fail in the limited opportunities to pitch the ninth inning.
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This leads me to another belief. The Mets have another closer in mind.
Within the organization, I fear they are hoping Swarzak can take over. Think of it as providing the veteran righty with a redemption story.
One thing I can without a doubt believe, the Mets would love to see Swarzak perform well next year. It’s not for the wins either. The preference would be more selfish in an “I told you so” kind of way.
Swarzak might be the best internal option other than Gsellman. I wouldn’t consider Lugo in this role at all, considering they’ve given him preferential treatment in moving back to the rotation this year. They want to give Lugo’s arm stretched out in case of an emergency.
New York could always explore the free agent market for a closer. There are several candidates out there ranging from the stars like Craig Kimbrel to lesser quality players and even former closers who could certainly fill the void, like Zach Britton.
Will they really forego adding depth in order to land a top-flight closer, though? The bullpen itself needs an overhaul. It’s hard to envision the Mets doing both. Either they build a bullpen with depth or put a star in the back and hope the rest of the guys figure it out.
Gsellman will and should remain in the bullpen. They don’t need him as a starter anymore. They desperately need him to succeed in those important late innings.
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Among all the needs the Mets face in the short-term future, someone to secure the later relief innings is near the top. With any luck, Gsellman locks them up.