Thursday, September 16, 2010
Any of those comments about no trade making sense, we believe in who we have, were looking toward those returning, the waiver wire is very active and the youngsters will give us energy, is simply PR spin. This season was over July 31 at 4pm and for those who needed confirmation the waiving of Barajas and Francoeur should be enough.
I bring this up not to rehash a bad season that was poorly managed both on the field and in the front office, but to try and figure out what the Mets will do moving forward. If this team was in Cleveland, Toronto, Seattle or San Diego based on where this team is at this would be a rebuilding year, however; we keep hearing that this is NY and they can't afford to rebuild.
I think if there is any one component of the team that can give us an indication as to what direction the team will truly take it is the bullpen. Both the rotation and position players may not indicate anything, there are to many players who maybe unmovable or part of the solution while acquiring up grades might be difficult.
But on the other hand, the pen may tip the Mets hand as to what direction there've really taking. Lets take a look at the pen as it is currently constructed and I'll explain why I feel it will be an indicator as to whether it will be a youth movement rebuilding year or that they're going to try and be competitive.
Francisco Rodriguez, Hisanori Takahashi, Manny Acosta, Bobby Parnell, Pedro Feliciano, Oliver Perez, Elmer Dessens, Pat Misch, Royota Igarashi, Raul Valdes and Sean Green.
This bullpen has been surprisingly good but many of them could walk and as good as they have been they are still probably one top notch reliever away from being a playoff contender.
First lets drop the expansion roster relievers who aren't really a consideration in this discussion; Pat Misch and Raul Valdes. Sean Green is in his free agent year and this should be the end of the failed J.J. Putz trade.
If Oliver Perez is on this team next year I'm not sure what I or most other Mets fans will do.
Manny Acosta has shown me enough to return and while he's out of options he still is under control, I see him as a seventh inning guy. Royota Igarashi aside from his early season success, he has been ineffective but he has options and I'm guessing they will keep him around to see how he progresses next year.
That leaves us with the core pen and where I feel hints towards which direction will be shown. Francisco Rodriquez, Hisanori Takahashi, Pedro Feliciano, Elmer Dessens, Bobby Parnell, Manny Acosta and a free agent would be a solid bullpen.
Will Krod be back, if the beat writers have it right there is no way he's with the Mets next year, not only is this a morale issue but there are grumblings that many players were upset that incident occurred in front of their families. Without Krod the team has a huge hole to fill in the closer role, despite his struggles this year he is a premier closer and in regards to Takahashi/Parnell there is a huge difference between closing meaningless games and pennant race games. Now if Krod is healthy and legally cleared along with counseling, I find it hard to believe a team who is considering a guy like Backman as their manager with his checkered past, would be willing to just dump Krod. Unless they're rebuilding and this is about losing as much of his expensive contract as possible, while cloaking it in morality, it doesn't make sense to create such a huge whole. Of course this all depends on his health and legal status but they will never get fair value in trade for him nor will the union let them cut his contract.
Takahashi is the next question, he was pursued by several teams this off-season resulting in the Mets giving him a one year deal with an out clause, so despite being a rookie he's a free agent at the end of the season. Taki wants to start but the results just aren't there, however; as a reliever there will be competition for his services. While I have concerns about him closing full time I do think they should re-sign him. A left handed reliever who can close and get through the line-up twice is a very valuable asset. Will the Mets re-sign an expensive relievers contract or look to Mike O'Connor or Michael Antonini.
Elmer Dessens seems to be one of those guys who figures it all out with age and due to his experiences becomes unflappable. Not only does he deserve a contract based on his performance, I also see him having the same effect on the younger relievers like Bert ( Roberto Hernandez) did in 2005. It may take a major league contract to keep him and if the Mets are rebuilding there will be no room for a 40 y/o.
Pedro Feliciano is in his last year of control and it appears the years of over use are starting to effect him, in his third straight 80 appearance season his walks are up and if he gives up five more he will match a career high. Still his ERA is lower then it has ever been in a full season at 2.95, Feliciano would have a lot of value on the trade market but he's also extremely valuable to us if we plan to compete for a playoff spot next year.
Finally, I do believe Bobby Parnell will be a closer but I also think he's about a year away for taking that position. I think if he's the closer next year the results will be mixed, with him going through dominant stretches to going through bouts of confidence issues with his off-speed stuff and trying to over throw his fastball.
The Mets may have a guy like Dillon Gee in the rotation but that may be because good starters are so hard to come by and have no indication of the direction they are attempting to take. The positional portion of the roster may also look very similar but that may be due to unmovable contracts or they truly believe certain players are ready for the majors. But if Takahashi, Dessens, K-Rod and Feliciano are gone and instead of experience relievers brought in to replace them, then you will truely know that a NY team can have a rebuilding season.
Posted by Ed Ryan at 6:26 PM