Edwin Diaz getting hurt during the WBC felt like an omen of some very dark times about to hang over Citi Field. This hasn’t exactly been the case. Sure, things aren’t Pleasantville for the New York Mets. They have their issues, but the bullpen has been average or better for most of the season.
Averageness, however, can have a clean side and a much dirtier one.
The clean side of the NY Mets bullpen
How David Robertson and Adam Ottavino have successfully shared the closer role is remarkable given our world of labeling everything. Neither one is really more of a closer than the other. Even Drew Smith, a third reliever doing his job incredibly well, picked up a save recently.
Those three are making late innings tolerable. There are hiccups, yes. For the most part, we should be happy about what each has given us.
The messy side of the NY Mets bullpen
Pull the bullpen away so it’s not flush with the wall and we find a lot of dust and an insane amount of fingernails. Maybe a sock or two. How long has that dead fly been there?
The dirty side of the Mets bullpen isn’t all about performance. Other than maybe Brooks Raley, who has underperformed greatly? John Curtiss was a wild card and has functioned exactly as expected with some good, some bad, and a lot of trips to Triple-A.
The real dirty side of the Mets bullpen comes from the limited amount of functionality they have. Present and accounted for on the roster are a lot of guys without those coveted minor league options. Dominic Leone, Tommy Hunter, and Stephen Nogosek are practically the same pitcher. They range in age and ability. All three are the guy we like to see with a big lead or in a blowout where there is no chance of salvaging the game.
Poor planning by the Mets goes beyond carrying a limited DH or nearly every decision they’ve made regarding the catcher spot. The bullpen is the place where the most changes occur during a given season. This team is operating like the early days of GI Joe without any flexibility at all; back when he was a doll and not an action figure. There is no kung fu grip. Unless some farmhands emerge, this is going to be a year with a lot of waiver claims and chances on recently DFA’d players. We’ve already seen them pick up Leone and Dennis Santana this way. Expect more of the same.