I feel like the talk on this board is a bit too caught up with big trades for sluggers. I think the first step towards playoff dreams is building a bullpen. Remember when Omar rebuilt the bullpen before 2006? Guys like Darren Oliver, Duaner Sanchez and Chad Bradford basically came out of nowhere and dominated, and if Sandy can find arms like those for the pen next year that would be a major improvement. They were throwing absolute garbage out there last year, guys like Acosta, Ramirez, Batista and Rauch. Our shaky bullpen is what broke us in 07 and 08, and since then the pen has been awful every year. I honestly think that the dumbest decision Omar ever made was signing Schoeneweis and Mota instead of bringing back Bradford and Oliver.
I believe that investing in the bullpen will help us more than getting a guy like Justin Upton, mainly because it could potentially be much more cost effective. Its possible to go from having one of the worst bullpens to having one of the best without even spending 10 million. Rather than bringing in scrubs like Acosta, get guys with upside who could step in and perform at a high level. Get a guy like Darren O'Day in the Rule 5 draft, and instead of letting him go back to his old team after a week and watching him become one of the best relievers in baseball (thanks again, Omar...another brilliant decision), keep him and reap the benefits.
It definitely won't be easy (I'm pretty sure the best bullpen decision the Mets have made since 2006 was signing K-rod, and that's really not saying much), and Sandy made a terrible call by giving Francisco a 2 year deal, but the front office needs to worry more about bringing in quality relievers than making some fantasy trade. The Mets bullpen was a FULL 2 RUNS PER 9 worse than the best bullpen in the league last year, and even getting closer to average would add a lot of wins, especially with the solid rotation they have. I say we should worry about that before we worry about offense.
<<"I believe that investing in the bullpen will help us more than getting a guy like Justin Upton, mainly because it could potentially be much more cost effective"
I've been told by several posters that Alderson can't be blamed for signing and trading for bad relievers because it's the hardest thing to do. You just look at past stats and cross your fingers.
I'm not totally convinced that is true, but just in case it is, I think its best to not go down that road again. The Mets should probably just invite a bunch of guys to ST and hope they get lucky.
I think Alderson should concentrate his remaining money and efforts on areas that have a better chance of success than relievers.
(a bit of sarcasm)
I don't blame Sandy for Ramirez. No way on earth anyone could have predicted that he'd have his worst year ever for the Mets. In fact, for the right (low) price, I'd take a flier on him again, and hope that he rebounds to something like his career numbers.
Rauch and (especially) Francisco, though, were terrible deals at the time, and are still terrible now. There was really nowhere for either pitcher to go but down. Sandy definitely deserves the blame for these two.
And, yes... I'd very much like the Mets to see to fixing their bullpen as their top priority. Of course, I've been saying this ever since 2006...
Here is your favorite chart.
edit: now before everyone goes... NO YOU'RE WRONG LOOK AT KC. Yes you need to look at SP too.
Strong pitching all around wins games.
The 2006 bullpen was one of our keys to our success. Our starting pitching was not too good but we had a great bullpen, plus our lineup was pretty sick.
Ramirez was a great pick up last year but did not work out. For the most part, Rauch was good last season, but if he was off...he could not get an out. Only problem building is a bullpen is that relievers are not always reliable. I agree that if we had Oliver and Bradford in 07, we probably would have made the playoffs that season. Our bullpen fell apart in September and Wagner's injury did not help at all.
~~~ Actually replacing Francisco as the closer (i.e. trade him anywhere for anything) and adding a solid lefty to the mix plus what we already have may be enough. ~~~
I agree. I like the potential of our bullpen. Parnell looks ready to close games, Rauch was pretty good, and I believe Ramon Ramirez will bounce back. Elvin Ramirez & Josh Edgin have shown a lot of potential.