4) Best-case scenario: Jeremy Hefner masterfully fixes the bullpen
The Mets bullpen isn’t looking like one of the best ever assembled. Edwin Diaz’s return brings some excitement, but it’s mostly a bunch of out of options relievers who’ve had little, if any, MLB success.
Pitching Coach Jeremy Hefner will have the task of working his magic on many of them. Can he find what made Jorge Lopez an All-Star in 2022? Can he get the most out of any of the other pitchers vying for a major league roster spot? Fixing Drew Smith wouldn’t be so bad either.
The bullpen is what should scare fans the most. We can imagine a scenario where the offense is perfectly fine. Members of the starting pitching staff have done well in the past and for more than just a year. The most imaginative people would have a tough time seeing the Mets relievers owning anything more than a league average ERA. It’s the part of the roster that can quickly sink the team even when so much else goes right for them.
It doesn’t all fall on Hefner. Carlos Mendoza needs to make the right calls. A little help from David Stearns with improvements would be nice as well. Many of the tools he has handed over to the coaching staff are rusted or busted. It might not matter how the rest of the team does if the relievers are blowing the opportunities they get.