The Achilles heel of the New York Mets over the last few seasons has been their bullpen. Whether it was a left-handed specialist, a formerly elite-level setup man, or the closer, watching Mets relievers step on the mound has not been fun.
As expected, the vibe around the 2021 Mets is much different. There are many new faces. None is more important than the one parking in the owner’s spot.
In their attempt to revamp the roster, the Mets made a few moves to upgrade the bullpen. Not a single one assures the fans things will be different. There are many returning players who have flailed like a fish out of water over the last few years. Even those newly acquired players have a few question marks on the back of their jerseys.
Mets fans are eager to get this season started. It won’t be much fun if the bullpen struggles again.
What solutions could the Mets have in the bullpen?
Other than doubling up on the number of Hail Mary’s, there’s not much the team can do other than to sit and wait. And maybe hope a little.
Every team faces its own challenges in the bullpen. Putting together a bullpen is such an arduous task. It’s impossible for everything to go a front office’s way.
There could be one solution the Mets visit regularly to help from spoiling the fun. This winter, the team did an incredible job at acquiring starting pitching depth more so than some options for the bullpen. Given how much more effective some starters have become once shifted away from pitching multiple innings to just a single frame, it’s those starters on the farm the club may depend on to get them through any dark days.
Mets bullpen cavalry
I’m intrigued by Sam McWilliams, the guy the Mets signed to a big league deal this winter despite not having any major league experience. Although he’s a starter, I believe he could be effective this season as an arm out of the bullpen.
David Peterson and Joey Lucchesi are two other names who could become solid relief pitchers for the Mets. The pair cannot co-exist in the rotation together when everyone ahead of them on the depth chart is healthy. Rather than keeping them lengthened on the farm, why not see if either can produce in a more limited yet equally important role out of the bullpen?
There’s yet another class of Mets pitchers. Jared Eickhoff’s days as a starter could be over. As a reliever, perhaps we see a different version of the once-promising prospect. Sean Reid-Foley, acquired in the Steven Matz trade, is yet another name to be on the lookout for. I’m certain he can best serve the Mets as a relief pitcher.
Turning these starters into relievers could work and might be the better approach rather than to open the revolving door of relievers. We’ve seen that approach before. It never works.
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In the meantime, we’ll have to put our faith in familiar names like Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, and Dellin Betances. If they can’t get the job done, we’re going to need a bullet train from Syracuse ready.