The New York Mets have been given many complaints from doubters and fans about how they did not use enough resources in the off-season. Fans continue to blame ownership’s financial issues for the reasons the Mets went 77-85 in the 2011 season. But the fact is, many different areas of the Mets team could be referred to as the goat for the 2011 season. Their worst asset was their bullpen which ranked 28th in the league in runs allowed.
The Mets bullpen has had many ups autor de ucdm and downs in the past decade. In 2006, when the Mets made the NLCS, the Mets bullpen was stacked with over-achieving cheap relievers. After a “down” season in 2007, the Mets brought in Francisco Rodriguez (coming off of a season record in saves) and JJ Putz a dominant closer for the Mariners to set up. This bullpen seemed set to excel in the immediate future. But with injuries to Putz’ throwing arm, it ended up that K-Rod was the only member left. K-Rod, Pedro Feliciano, and patched up bullpens continued to bail out the Mets through the 2010 season in order to try and stay competitive. But injuries continued to plague the Mets bullpen chances of establishing multiple late-inning relievers.
In 2011, the Mets continued to struggle with cheap investments and losing Feliciano to the cross-town rival Yankees. With outside issues involving K-Rod, and the team simply out of the playoff hunt in 2011, the Mets dealt K-Rod to the Milwaukee Brewers in order to try and get some compensation for the pricey reliever. After K-Rod’s departure in 2011, the Mets ‘pen struggled mightily. The team relied heavily on young flame-throwing reliever Bobby Parnell, who can hit triple-digit MPH on his fastball. Parnell did not take advantage of his opportunity and seemed to not be up to the test at the young part of his career.
But to show you how much they have turned over their bullpen, Parnell has been told he is not guaranteed a spot come 2012. With his great fastball, Parnell is a likely member to make the team but that goes to show you the changes that the team has made this off-season.
The Mets newest additions to their bullpens seem to be a possible 7th, 8th, and 9th inning combo that could scare opposing teams. The Mets added two relievers through free agency, while also trading center fielder Angel Pagan to the San Francisco Giants for their centerfielder Andres Torres and young reliever Ramon Ramirez. Ramirez a youngster with closer stuff is known for his slider which is one of the best in the game. Ramirez seems to be an addition that upper-management feels could be the closer of the future. The closer and set-up guys were signed in free agency, just as back in ’08.
The Mets signed one of the most consistent strikeout relievers in baseball. Over the last three seasons, Francisco has struck out 170 batters over 152 2/3 innings. But his key element is his masterful control. Francisco’s strikeout to walk ratio is 8th amongst relievers with at least 100 innings during that three year span. Their other signing was intimidating right-hander Jon Rauch. Rauch stands at 6-foot-11 and is arguably the most intimidating pitcher in the league. Rauch struggled last season and then had to get surgery on his knee during the end of the season. Rauch is ready and excited to prove he still has the stuff to pitch in the late innings.
So not only is this a chance for the Mets to improve as a team and as a bullpen, but this is also a chance for multiple relievers to prove their worth. Just as Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson have said, “Everyone on the roster has something to prove.” Well the downside to the 2011 Mets could be their strength come 2012.
The New York Mets season was awful with a record of 70-92, 22 games under .500. This was a team that was in the NL East division race the last few years – even though the Mets collapsed late in the season. The Mets were a terrible road team with only 29 road wins on the year. Granted, the Mets had many injuries on the year which made it seem as if the Mets were playing their minor league line-up. Just because the Mets are a New York based team doesn’t mean they are guaranteed success – but it should increase their chances.
Jeff Francoeur lead the Mets with 15 home runs and 76 RBI – yes, he LEAD the team with 15 home runs and 76 RBI. David Wright had a very poor season with only 10 home runs and 72 RBI – all career lows. 40 year old Gary Sheffield best days are behind him. For the Mets Sheffield only hit 10 home runs and 43 RBI. Carlos Beltran only played in 81 games, hit 10 home runs and 48 RBI.
Pitching wise the Mets didn’t fair much better then their hitting. Johan Santana lead th Mets with 13 wins. No other Mets pitcher had double digit wins with a winning record – next closest was Mike Pelfry at 10-12. The Mets couldn’t get their starting pitchers any innings pitched – Pelfry pitched the most innings for the Mets at 184.1 which ranked 31st in the NL.
2010 could be possibly another bad season for the Mets. The Mets couldn’t hit home runs and the pitching was well below average. The were many errors in the field and the Mets seem to be a tribe without a leader to follow. When a team loses to – perhaps the worst team in the major leagues in the Washington Nationals – it really is time to look at next year and the possibilities.