Joe Beimel or Will Ohman: Who Is a Better Fit for the New York Mets?

Phil HoopsCorrespondent IFebruary 20, 2009

With all of the Mets roster having reported to Port St. Lucie to begin workouts, the Mets find themselves still searching for one more left-handed pitcher to pitch out of the bullpen.

In all likelihood, Omar Minaya will look to resolve his bullpen woes from the roster pool of players that he already has. But, if the deal is right, I wouldn’t put it past him to sign another left-hander to compete for the last spot in the bullpen.

The two relievers still on the market that fit the bill are Joe Beimel and Will Ohman.

joe_beimelBeimel, 31, is coming off three very good years with the Dodgers in which he pitched at least 62 games and maintained an ERA under four. Last season was arguably his best; the reliever went 5-1 and had an ERA of only 2.02.

Even more impressive, Beimel did not allow a single home run all of last year and only gave up one in 2007.

Beimel does not come without his flaws, though. While many sports analysts are quick to label him as a left-handed specialist, his numbers tell a different story. In his career total of 462 innings, left-handed hitters have a batting average of .266. This is in not terrible per se, but certainly shows that Beimel does give up a number of hits to lefties.

Lastly, Beimel’s resistance to lower his contract demands have also hurt his value to teams, including the Mets. Beimel, who made $1.925 million last year, is still seeking a large raise after coming off a career year.

If the three top baseball projections—Bill James, CHONE, and Marcel—are correct, than this is understandable. All three projections show that Beimel’s 2009 ERA will hover somewhere in the realm of 3.95. While that certainly isn’t a bad number, it isn’t close to replicating his 2008 performance.

05-03-23 092Ohman The other reliever the Mets have had their eye on comes to the MLB by way of Frankfurt, Germany. His name is Will Ohman, and he is widely known by the Internet community for his impersonation of Harry Caray.

Ohman, like Beimel, is a left-handed specialist and had a very good season in 2008. He, too, is 31.

Last season, Ohman appeared in a career-high 83 games, producing a 4-1 record and a 3.68 ERA. Even better, he showed he could work the strikeout pitch and was able to strike out 53 batters in 58 innings.

Like a true left-handed specialist, Ohman was able to hold opposing lefties to a .200 average in 2008.

The main disadvantage of signing Ohman is the fact that he is coming off a career year, and will most likely be seeking a contract somewhere in the ballpark of $2.5 million.

So far, only three suitors have emerged for Ohman (Pirates, Padres, and Marlins) and have made offers of a one-year contract worth less than $1 million.

There’s no doubt that Ohman is the better choice for the Mets. He is able to strike out far more batters than Beimel and can also get lefties out better. If he can be had for a one year deal worth a little over $1 million, than Omar Minaya would be foolish for not signing him.