When it comes down to it, the way we feel about most managers is based on how the bullpen performs. A bad manager can make all of the wrong moves but if his bullpen is terrific we’d never know. This is the case with the 2022 New York Mets who have a suspicious group of relievers looking to earn our trust before the season is through.
It’s up to Buck Showalter to know how to use the relievers he has. While we can continue to question how Billy Eppler built them, responsibility ends up falling on the skipper.
Can Showalter navigate the murky waters of the bullpen?
Trusting the Mets bullpen all falls on Buck Showalter to use the relievers properly
Nobody has more decisions to make about the Mets bullpen than Showalter. He’s the in-game manager who decides when pitchers exit, who enters, and how long of a leash they get. Eppler had the job to go to Ace Hardware and buy the parts with Steve Cohen’s credit card. It’s up to Showalter to build something incredible out of it.
The Mets have a better-than-average bullpen this season. Although we may have little faith in anyone other than Edwin Diaz, there are pieces there with a track record of success. Adam Ottavino has been reliable and so have a few other arms we’ve seen throughout the year but just to a lesser extent.
Things will get more fun later in the year with rosters expanding in September and the availability to do things like move David Peterson into a relief role permanently. Then comes the playoffs when the team will only four starters at the most. Will they go into things armed with a bullpen that includes Peterson, Tylor Megill, Trevor Williams, and maybe even Joey Lucchesi?
New York has a chance to head into the postseason with a bullpen full of innings eaters. It’s nice to have two or three of them. They could have far more. It’s too hard to know for sure who would or wouldn’t crack the playoff roster given how regularly pitchers land on the IL. The team, Showalter and Eppler together, will have think about the value of having an extra starter in the bullpen over an experienced guy like Tommy Hunter—if healthy.
Eventually, how we feel about the bullpen boils down to whether or not Showalter made the right calls. Does he bring in Edwin Diaz for a five out save or does his team lose with the team’s best option sitting in the bullpen?