What frustrates a baseball team more than a bullpen? Outside of some miracle seasons where every reliever seems to find his groove, the relief corps tends to cause the most agitation in fans. New York Mets fans have experienced this plenty. Even some of the franchise’s greatest closers have had years where it looked like they didn’t belong on a big league roster.
Building a bullpen is one of the more difficult tasks for a general manager. Billy Eppler has retained and added to the team’s relief corps this offseason. In two ways it looks better and in another it already looks worse.
The NY Mets bullpen got better with the addition of Brooks Raley
There is little denying the one improvement we all expect to see is going from Joely Rodriguez to Brooks Raley. Rodriguez was bad enough at times last year that some Mets fans might believe asking a righty to throw with his left arm would be an improvement. Billy Wagner is excluded from this non-existent challenge.
Raley comes to the Mets team desperate to get more from a lefty reliever. He’s coming off of a successful year with the Tampa Bay Rays that included a 2.68 ERA in 53.2 innings of work. He’s now in a more traditional bullpen than their crafty ways of constructing relievers. He’s not going to save 6 games for the Mets this season as he did for Tampa Bay in 2022.
Mets fans got used to seeing lefties join the roster from the outside and become important pieces. Aaron Loup, Justin Wilson, and Jerry Blevins many more years ago became essential. Is Raley going to follow in their footsteps?