Is it enough? Can the duo of Joely Rodriguez and Chasen Shreve combine to be good enough as the two lefties out of the New York Mets bullpen?
Cross your fingers. Say your prayers. Take some vitamins while you’re at it, too.
If there is one role on the Mets Opening Day roster everyone is concerned about, it’s the lack of a trusted left reliever in the bullpen.
How did the Mets get here with two underwhelming options?
Shreve pitched well in the spring and has big league success in the past. Rodriguez is a little different. And with a lifetime .272/.371/.347 slash line against him from left-handed hitters, you should be a little afraid.
The three-batter minimum rule has changed the way we should think about southpaw relievers. The LOOGY won’t be coming back. Left-handed relievers need to do so much more than retire a single batter. They need to be able to get batters of both types out regularly.
That’s not to say it’s an antiquated job. Left-handed relievers are not the travel agents of baseball. They serve a purpose. They’re just asked to do a little bit more than they used to.
If you’re concerned about the left-handed reliever situation on the Mets Opening Day roster, you’re not alone. It has been the concern ever since the Mets swung and missed on free agents. It remains a pending problem until we get into the midway point of the year, look up, and see things are going better than expected.
The more important Mets Opening Day roster concern
Far more important than the lack of trust in Rodriguez and Shreve is the health of the starting pitchers. The absence of Jacob deGrom is troublesome. Lingering injuries for Max Scherzer and Taijuan Walker before the season has even begun should also have you grabbing rosary beads.
The Mets went into the offseason with the need for two starting pitchers. They added Scherzer in November. After the lockout ended, they were able to snatch up Chris Bassitt in a trade.
The state of the Mets starting rotation isn’t quite the same as it was only about a week ago. There were good vibes only around the starting five. Now, one is down and two are ailing. This doesn’t even include Carlos Carrasco whose own health is a bit questionable.
The Mets can find outs from their right-handed relievers regardless of who is at the plate. Finding five innings a night from five different starters will be the bigger challenge.