3) Incomplete bullpens are a chore to watch
Where does one begin with all of the bullpen mistakes made by the Mets this year? In fairness, it’s the toughest part of the roster to build. Losing Edwin Diaz before Opening Day only made it tougher. There wasn’t much they could do other than cross their fingers until the joints cracked.
That’s a fair defense of the way Eppler built the bullpen in 2023. The error he made was not already having enough bullets in relief. David Robertson, Adam Ottavino, and Brooks Raley were capable and proven. As they tried to round things out, the Opening Day relief corps looked weaker each rung down the depth chart.
Drew Smith deserved his spot on the roster and in some big situations. His performance did answer the question of whether or not a promotion to the later innings would make sense. It no longer does.
Facing plenty of adversity due to injury, missing Diaz was the only true big blow to the team. Was Bryce Montes de Oca going to change the outlook of the bullpen? Sam Coonrod? Elieser Hernandez?
It seems like the Mets were more determined to have optional relievers for the 2023 season and still somehow ended up with an Opening Day roster featuring non-optional veteran Tommy Hunter and out of options Stephen Nogosek. The logic was there. The Mets just failed to execute on the plan to have movable pieces they could ship back and forth from the minors. Stearns must know better, right?