Former Mets pitcher is doing what David Stearns knew he could but with the Yankees

Did the Mets forget to flick the "on" switch with him?
Los Angeles Dodgers v New York Yankees
Los Angeles Dodgers v New York Yankees / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

We love the itchy trigger finger of David Stearns and yet maybe a little more patience wouldn’t have hurt so badly. A two-time member of the New York Mets this season, Michael Tonkin has managed to stick around with the New York Yankees since his April 25 waiver claim and for good reason.

The veteran has tossed 19.1 innings while allowing just 2 earned runs. The 0.93 ERA is a stark contrast to the 5.14 he had in 7 innings for the Mets with 6 unearned runs tacked onto his ledger as well.

Tonkin has been a master of keeping his ERA down this year despite all of the runs. In fact, he has more unearned runs, 10, than ones he has been charged with, 8.

Of course Michael Tonkin becomes a bullpen stud when he leaves the Mets for the Yankees

The Mets’ problem wasn’t Tonkin. Their lack of bullpen flexibility was the far greater issue they faced. Beginning the season without a single optional reliever put them against the ropes from game one. Tonkin happened to be the most underperforming from the first few weeks only to later be followed by Yohan Ramirez.

Tonkin’s stay with the Yankees hasn’t been all smoke and mirrors though. He actually is performing at a high level. A 0.93 WHIP, a walk rate under 3 per 9, and a FIP of 2.31 which tells us he has been lucky but not to an extreme all seem to fit in with what the Mets had originally intended him to be. Tossing more than one inning at a time on a regular basis for the Yankees, he’s a nice affordable mop-up guy to have around.

The Yankees turned to Tonkin for 1.2 innings in each of the last two games versus the Los Angeles Dodgers on back-to-back days no less. He didn’t allow a run or walk. Only one hit came against him but in a pair of Yankees losses.

Meanwhile, those visiting Dodgers who picked up Yohan Ramirez, another two-time Mets player this year, have lucked out as well. His 3.00 ERA in 9 innings is a vast improvement over the 7.56 ERA he had in 8.1 innings with the Mets. Far less of a fit because of his inning-by-inning status rather than a more traditional long man, his Dodgers performance could still have us throwing our hands up in confusion. Where was this version when he wore orange and blue?

The Mets bullpen has been a problem over the last month or so without Tonkin or Ramirez in it. They wouldn’t have saved the team in any way, but it just seems to be another case of the baseball gods having it out for the Mets in yet another way in 2024.