The Mets bullpen has gotten infinitely better since Opening Day

Everything about the Mets bullpen is better than the original plan.
St. Louis Cardinals v New York Mets
St. Louis Cardinals v New York Mets / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

Here’s where the New York Mets got caught with an inferior bullpen. Some much-needed additions in the offseason brought them to a point where they had to choose between several below-average relievers without options. Phil Bickford was the first to go. Sean Reid-Foley conveniently landed on the IL. So the Mets embarked from St. Lucie to Citi Field to open their season with Michael Tonkin and Yohan Ramirez.

It was only a little over a month ago when they opened the year with a bullpen of questions. The lack of optional relievers made it clear someone would eventually get cut. Tonkin’s struggles and the same for Ramirez not long after made them easy casualties.

Before they were gone, the Mets called up Reed Garrett out of necessity and not because they thought he could actually be one of the best relievers in baseball this season. Ever since, they’ve turned on the carousel of relief pitchers and each guy is blending in nicely.

The Mets bullpen has gotten better and we shouldn’t be shocked if it sticks

Even in the absence of Drew Smith and Brooks Raley at the moment, things are looking promising. Dedniel Nunez and Danny Young hold the optional roster spots. We have yet to see Young and Nunez is doing just fine, striking out 6 batters in his 3 innings of work.

Still on the carousel ride is lefty Josh Walker who should continue to get shuttled back and forth from the majors to the minors. In his 3 innings he has allowed a single hit and just one walk. The only reason he’s not on the major league squad is for the team to have Young available who, at the time of the roster decision, was less worn down.

The early success from the Mets bullpen is oddly not all because of Edwin Diaz whose down velocity has some folks concerned. A loss on Monday versus the Chicago Cubs might’ve just been a rare hiccup. Let’s hit the panic button when it happens too often.

Carlos Mendoza has already managed to hand out saves to Jorge Lopez, Drew Smith, and cleverly with Garrett when he used Diaz against the heart of the Los Angeles Dodgers order for the eighth inning.

The one remaining trap the Mets could fall into occurs when they do get both Smith and Raley back from the IL. It means those two optional spots on the roster are no longer there. Garrett would hold the only one. However, given the choice between better and more proven arms or guys they can send to the minors in case they struggle, it’s an easy choice to make.

Since his return from the IL, Reid-Foley has fit into the picture well with 4 hitless innings and 6 early strikeouts. The next in the line of pitchers like Tonkin and Ramirez who were dismissed, his beginning has started off much different.

With the recent trend of Mets pitchers actually going deeper, it’s going to save this bullpen tons of wear and tear. Mendoza is getting a better feel of the pitching staff and how to best use each one. Now if only he could find a way to get the team to hit more.