It's no secret: The Mets' bullpen in 2008 cost them a chance at the playoffs. There is nothing worse than jumping out to a quick 5-0 lead on a good team, only to see them creep back and eventually beat you because day after day, nobody could get the job done.
The problem the Mets had was that they had a bullpen full of specialists. If you look at the splits, players like Pedro Feliciano and Scott Schoeneweis were great against lefties but terrible against righties. Joe Smith and Aaron Heilman could get the righties out, but were awful against the opposite side of the plate.
Duaner Sanchez oddly enough had a 3.04 ERA against lefties, and a 5.40 against righties, which is just mind boggling out of a righty reliever.
You just can't have a team full of players who can only get their side of the plate out. When I would look at the Mets' box scores, I would constantly see five or six names after the starter, each going zero innings or 0.1. There's no doubt things need to change. So let's go through the current arms out there and decide if they should stay or go.
Brian Stokes - RHP No. 43
Stokes is a flame-throwing right-hander, who really only has his fastball. But being still reasonably young at 29, I say keep him and hope he can develop some control and maybe blossom into a Grant Balfour type for the Mets.
Joe Smith - RHP No. 35
One of the only decent seasons last year with a 3.55 ERA. It seemed down the stretch Smith was the only one doing his job. Though I don't want to give too much praise, that's not saying much out of this 'pen. Smith had his blowups, but all in all, considering his age and contract, I have no problem keeping him on as a righty specialist.
Scott Schoeneweis - LHP No. 60
Not bad numbers with a 3.34 ERA on the season, but absolutely brutal against righties. However, he is towards the end of his career and because of that, I say he can only go down, ditch him.
Pedro Feliciano - LHP No. 25
He gets the nod over Schoeneweis purely because of age. His numbers weren't as good as Schoeneweis's last year, but unlike Schoeneweis, it wasn't too long ago when he was an excellent left-hander out of this 'pen. I'm sticking with potential and age here; let Feliciano be the lefty specialist.
Duaner Sanchez - RHP No. 50
I still have faith in Sanchez. After the 2006 season, in which he established himself as a top-notch set-up man, he fell off much the rest with a 4.32 ERA. I think he needs more time to get his stuff back after his horrific injury, but I don't think anyone has as much upside as him out of this bullpen. A definite keeper, in my opinion.
Bobby Parnell - RHP No. 39
This guy doesn't belong in the majors right now. Demote him, let him develop, and we'll see later what he can become. Probably not much. Either way, he's not in the Mets' 'pen this upcoming year.
Brandon Knight - RHP No. 44
Players don't stay in the minors in their early 30s because they want to. This guy isn't the answer. Congratulations on the bronze medal in Beijing, but I don't think he can get it done in the majors, much less New York City.
Carlos Muiz - RHP No. 32
Who? Exactly. This guy's roster spot is a direct result of everyone else failing. No thank you, not in New York.
Luis Ayala - RHP No. 56
Probably the worst numbers of all the relievers in this bullpen, even thought most of them came with Washington. He will be a free agent this year, and what he will command remains to be seen. If it's reasonable, I say keep him. If some team gives him $5 million, let him walk.
I am partial to Ayala because it was not too long ago he was a reliable middle reliever. And he is one of the few guys on the Mets that can get both righties and lefties out. It may be questioned, but it's more of an upside pick. I say give Ayala another try.
Aaron Heilman - RHP No. 48
Heilman is my least favorite Mets reliever. An 8.19 ERA against lefties, for Heilman, it was more than just the numbers. This guy is the A-Rod of middle relievers, without any of the success. It seemed whenever the situation was big, he was the worst. Constantly blowing big leads and giving up big hits. He needs to go, no questions asked.
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