he True Fans Bleed Blue and Orange: Mets Offseason: Full Of Moves? Part 1h

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mets Offseason: Full Of Moves? Part 1

When the Mets were officially eliminated from playoff contention on September 30th it forced all Mets fans to come to the inevitable realization that our team might not be as good as originally expected. Holes in the bullpen and in the rotation caused this team's ultimate demise, as well as a lack of leadership in the lineup. Therefore, the new york media, as well as a majority of the Mets fans, have been calling for a major shakeup of the entire Mets team. While I think that a major shakeup is a bit of an exaggeration I do feel that Omar Minaya should re-shape the team somewhat.
First, and perhaps most important, is the Mets bullpen. Personally, I feel the Mets bullpen is a bit underrated, but nowhere near as good as it was two years ago. I still trust Billy Wagner as the closer, despite a lackluster second half, Wagner showed enough in the first half that he is still a dominant closer. In fact, if you take out Wagner's August in which he had a 6.23 era in 13 games then Wagner had a 1.80 era the rest of the season, which would have been second amongst NL closers. I also think Aaron Heilman is a terrific set-up man, but not in the eighth inning. Heilman in the seventh inning would be an ideal situation for him and the Mets. I also love Pedro Feliciano in the exact role he is in right now, although he was a bit overused this year. Jorge Sosa was decent in relief this year, although I am not ready to give him a set-up role, although I think Sosa could become a valuable middle-inning reliever. Joe Smith will likely be back with the ML team next year, and if he can re-gain his stuff from the first half of the year he could be another huge boost for the bullpen. However, even with an effective Joe Smith the Mets bullpen still needs some work.

Scott Schoeneweis needs to go. He had an era under 4 for a month only twice this year, which means a third of the time the 34 year old is a well below average reliever. I don't care if his contract is large and the Mets would have to eat it, he hurts the Mets more than he helps them. Guillermo Mota also needs to go. Although Mota still throws hard the quality of his stuff fell faster than the great stock market crash in 1929. Mota never had an era under 4 for a month all season. Aaron Sele, although he did not have a very successful season in terms of results, helped the Mets with a few innings whenever their starter did not pitch deep enough into the game. I would have no problem with Sele staying with the Mets next year, although I would not shed a tear if he was somewhere else come Spring Training next year.

Injured pitchers Juan Padilla, Ambiorix Burgos, and Duaner Sanchez should be given every opportunity to make the team next year out of Spring Training, but I would not want to entrust an important role to either pitcher without knowing how their stuff will respond to their respective injuries. So what do we do with the bullpen? Orlando Hernandez should be moved to the bullpen permanently. El Duque is too old and fragile to pitch 200 innings a year anymore, and I think that his effectiveness out of the pen could be an extremely valuable asset for the Mets next year. I would feel comfortable with El Duque in the eighth inning; I would still acquire another set-up man to assists with the eighth inning, as well as another left handed pitcher to ease the load on Pedro Feliciano. Although the names of potential suitors for the roles I detailed have not become clear yet Omar likely will have a large list of names to choose from.

Should Minaya follow my landscape the Mets bullpen could look like this next year:

Middle Relief 1: Jorge Sosa
Middle Relief 2: Mixture of Ambiorix Burgos, Joe Smith, Duaner Sanchez, and Juan Padilla
Lefty-Reliever 1: Pedro Feliciano
Lefty Reliever 2: Acquired by Minaya via FA or trade
Set-up Man 1: Orlando Hernandez
Set-up Man 2: Acquired by Minaya via FA or trade
Set-up Man 3: Aaron Heilman
Closer: Billy Wagner

That bullpen is much stronger than the Mets current bullpen, and it would only take Minaya a move or two to make the pen one of the strongest in the National League.

Tomorrow: Starting Rotation

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