Normally, when a player leaves the Mets, I like to take stock of all the good things they did with the Mets. With Eric O’Flaherty it’s near impossible.
When the Mets acquired him, I thought he was the missing piece to the Mets bullpen. He was going to be the LOOGY the Mets needed. Instead, O’Flaherty was just terrible. He had a 13.50 ERA and a 2.654 WHIP. Honestly, I’m not even sure he was that good. To put it in perspective, his ERA+ was 29. TWENTY-NINE! While I could say that there are no words to describe how poorly he pitched with the Mets, I think saying 29 describes it perfectly.
To be fair, there was one good thing that came from the O’Flaherty trade. The corresponding move was the Mets designating Alex Torres and all his hats for assignment. For that, Mets fans do owe him a little bit of gratitude.
Now, he’s off to Pittsburgh on a minor league deal. I’m sure now that he’s completed his post-Tommy John season and his being under the tutelage of Ray Searage, O’Flaherty will return to the effective LOOGY he once was. I’m positive hell revert back to the guy that has a 1.69 career ERA against the Mets.
In any event, O’Flaherty is a Pittsburgh Pirate ending his reign with the New York Mets. I think I speak for everyone when I say that’s best for everyone.
Going into last year, the Mets were well noted for their organizational pitching depth. It wasn’t just the pitchers that were in the majors, but it was also the pitchers on the way. The thought process was the Mets could select the pitchers to keep to help the rotation and trade the others for a bat.
Well, the Mets are going into the 2016 season, and their depth isn’t the same as this regime seems comfortable jettisoning this team’s pitching depth. A large part of the reason was the unwillingness and/or inability to spend in the offseason last year. Here is the list of pitchers gone from the Mets organization:
- Greg Peavey
- Randy Fontanez
- Cory Mazzoni
- Brad Wieck
- Casey Meisner
- John Gant
- Robert Whalen
- Michael Fulmer
- Luis Cessa
- Matt Koch
- Miller Diaz
- Dawrin Frias
- Jack Leathersich
- Jon Niese
- Matthew Bowman
This list doesn’t include Logan Verrett, who was selected in last year Rule 5 draft and returned. It also doesn’t include Tyler Clippard, Bartolo Colon, Eric O’Flaherty, Bobby Parnell, and Alex Torres because, at least in theory, they all could return to the Mets next year. In any event, that’s a lot of pitchers gone and/or potentially gone from the 2014 Winter Meetings and the 2015 Winter Meetings.
After losing all these pitchers, the Mets only have two . . . TWO . . . players on their 2016 major league roster resulting from these moves: Addison Reed and Neil Walker. Also, the Mets still need a fifth starter and possibly bullpen help. You would think after losing 15 pitchers in a year, you’d be in a better position.
Now, the important caveat here is not all of these pitchers are of the same caliber. For example, Peavey and Fontanez were selected in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. Also, I did defend the trade that brought in Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson. On the flip side, I did not like the trades which brought in Clippard and Yoenis Cespedes.
I’m not in the crowd that justifies these deals due to the Mets winning the pennant. You win the World Series, you’re untouchable because you did what was necessary. However, the Mets lost all that pitching and still fell short. Think of it another way. Do you think the Tigers would’ve traded winning the AL East for John Smoltz‘ career?
With all that said, the Mets still deserve some credit here. Even though they lost all that pitching, they still have good pitching prospects like Robert Gsellman. I just wish they spent more money last offseason and kept some of those pitchers to give them more options to make deals this winter or this upcoming summer.
Keep in mind that sooner or later losing all this pitching will eventually catch up with them. I’m not looking forward to the day that happens.
Mets and Blevins still have mutual interest in reunion; same with Bartolo in swing man role. interest in bringing him back.
— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) December 6, 2015
Yoenis Cespedes may not be a true CF, but he’s got power, and he’s shown he can thrive in New York. Daniel Murphy may not be the best defender, but he’s versatile. He also comes up big in the big moments. There are roles for these players even if they are not perfect players. What’s Colon’s role?
He’s not the fifth starter. That spot is being presumably held by Jon Niese until Zack Wheeler‘s rehab is complete. Why would the Mets make him the long man? Carlos Torres and Sean Gilmartin are much cheaper alternatives who have succeeded in that role. What’s his role?
Do we really want to see him back with the Mets? Do we trust Terry Collins having him in the bullpen? Collins has already showed an over reliance on him over younger and better relievers. Put that all aside, do we even know if Colon at the age of 43 can manage being a reliever? Is this really the best use of the Mets resources?
It’s time to move away from Colon and sign a player that can fulfill an actual need.
Yesterday, the Mets announced the players they are putting on the taxi squad: Eric Young, Jr., Anthony Recker, Logan Verrett, Eric Campbell, and Bobby Parnell. I think we can separate the remaining players into three categories: (1) players definitely on the roster; (2) players who are in consideration for the roster; and (3) players who are just being sent home. The players definitely on the roster has already been addressed. Here’s the other two categories:
Players under Consideration
Juan Uribe – the Mets want him on the roster, but it does not appear he’s healthy enough to play. I hope that August 23rd pinch hitting appearance was worth it.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis – he seems to be the front runner for Uribe’s spot. He plays all three OF positions, has speed, and has some pop in his bat. He’s had a rough year, but he’s had some big hits since returning to the Mets.
Dilson Herrera – he’s the Mets best defensive infielder even if he only plays 2B. He’s got potential offensively and defensively. He has not realized his potential yet, but he’s still a right handed bat with pop going into a series with good left handed pitching.
Erik Goeddel – he seems to be a favorite to get a spot in the bullpen if Matz can’t pitch. In limited time, he’s shown a great splitter which has helped him with a 9.2 K/9. He could help with a strikeout in a big spot.
Sean Gilmartin – he’s been the long man, but he has reverse splits with a series with a series with huge left-handed bats. His spot is tenuous mostly with the presence of Colon, Niese, and possibly Matz on the roster.
Players Done for the Year
Johnny Monell – the Mets made their choice with Recker as the third catcher.
Carlos Torres – he took the ball whenever he was asked until he got hurt. He had a skill that helps in the regular season, but he has no room on the playoff roster.
Dario Alvarez – when he finally got a chance to pitch, he was effective. He got a huge strikeout of Bryce Harper back when the division was still in doubt. He go hurt, fought his way back, and he was ineffective.
Eric O’Flaherty – there’s not enough words to describe how bad he’s been, so I’ll keep it short. He’s horrendous.
There are still important decisions to be made. I know a lot of it hinges on Matz. I anticipate this will be a tight series, and these final choices may have a real impact. I hope they pick the right players.
If rumors are correct, the Mets will go with the four man rotation of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, and Steven Matz. I put them purposefully in that order because that’s how the Nets intend to line them up in the playoffs.
These four pitchers have had zero postseason appearances. In fact, as a group, they have less than five years of experience. This just highlights the total lack of postseason experience for the entire Mets staff. Overall, there are only three pitchers on the Mets who have any playoff experience:
- Bartolo Colon (10 starts) 2-4, 3.70 ERA, 58.1 IP, 1.389 WHIP
- Tyler Clippard (3 appearances) 0-0, 1.50 ERA, 6 IP, 0 SV, 0.667 WHIP
- Eric O’Flaherty (1 appearance) 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 IP, 0 SV, 2.00 WHIP
Unless his back prevents him, Clippard will be on the postseason roster. I believe the Mets will find a spot for Colon even if he isn’t starting. There’s no shot that O’Flaherty makes the team.
I’m not concerned at all. This was the case with the 1991 Braves rotation,nand they went to the World Series. The same goes for the 2003 Marlins. The 2008 Giants had a young core of starting pitchers they relied upon to win their first World Series in San Francisco. K-Rod burst on the scene on the 2002 Angels World Series Championship team. There’s another, better example for Mets fans. 1986.
In 1986, the Mets had Dwight Gooden (3 major league seasons), Ron Darling (4 major league seasons), Bobby Ojeda (7 major league season), and Sid Fernandez (4 major league seasons) make starts. Combined they had more than triple the major league experience of this current group of pitchers. However, they were still young and had zero postseason experience. The lack of postseason experience didn’t hold them back. The reason was their talent.
That’s right. For all the talk about what wins in the playoffs, we always forget the talent gap. This Mets rotation is the most talented in the NL, most likely all of baseball. If I have to choose between experience and talent, I pick talent every time.
It looks like the Mets are as well. Then again what choice do they have?
Well so much for the narrative that Noah Syndergaard can’t pitch on the road. He was so great tonight Keith was wondering if Thor was the best Mets pitcher.
Thor was consistently around 98 MPH. Not topping off at 98, consistently at 98. His final line was 7.2 innings, 5 hits, 2 ER, 0 BB, and 11 Ks. Thor wasn’t touched until the seventh and after his 100th pitch.
Curtis Granderson added his own three run homerun in the eighth to make the score 12-0. Granderson finished the night 2-5 with a double, the aforementioned homer, 2 runs, and 4 RBIs. Overall, the Mets offense had a second straight great night. Daniel Murphy went 2-4 with an RBI double and a run scored.
Tonight would’ve been a laugher except for Juan Uribe seemingly reinjuring himself. He was pinch hitting for David Wright, which was the right move. However, with these expanded rosters and a 12-0 score, it should’ve been Eric Campbell, who wound up finishing the at bat. Honestly, I don’t know why the Mets did it.
It was almost a laugher too because Eric O’Flaherty and Bobby Parnell had trouble getting the last out in the eighth. When Thor left the game, it was 12-1 with a runner on. By the time Parnell finally got the last out it was 12-4. Tim Stauffer gave up a ninth inning homerun and could t get the last out. This trio was so bad that Hansel Robles had to come into the game to end the nonsense and finally secure the 12-5 win.
With the Mets winning and the Nationals losing, the Mets can clinch tomorrow with Matt Harvey on the mound. It just seems fitting, doesn’t it?
When the Mets added Addison Reed right before the waiver trade deadline, the Mets had their sights set on a shutdown 7-8-9 featuring three closers. So far, each of them have performed extremely well.
You know what’s shocking? Even though the Mets have had the Addison Reed-Tyler Clippard–Jeurys Familia triumvirate together for three weeks, they only appeared together in the same game only three times. They’ve never collectively blown a lead, but the tandem has only resulted in one save. Like last night, it had more to do with the Mets tacking on eighth inning runs more than anything.
In any event, Mets fans can be confident the bullpen can hold leads and/or keep the Mets in a game. I also believe the Mets will ride this trio hard because the Mets starters go deep into games. Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey average 6.1 innings per start (average rounded down to nearest third of an inning). Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz average 6.0 innings per start (major league starts only). Bartolo Colon averages six innings per start. Jon Niese isn’t going to start in the playoffs.
If you’re starters are going at least six, you only need your triumvirate. If your starters are going less than five, you’re in trouble anyway. Even if you need to pull a starter early, there are viable options. Hansel Robles has been terrific, especially in the second half with a 2.60 ERA, 0.904 WHIP, 12.4 K/9, and a triple slash of .173/.250/.429. He’s been good enough to consider him as part of a 6-7-8-9 shut down bullpen.
In a do or die game, Terry Collins has shown he will manage accordingly. He will have a quick hook and trust his key bullpen arms. If he will lean heavily on these three or four guys that’s good news. Familia for one has shown the ability to go multiple innings. I imagine Collins is going to ride him like Joe Torre rode Mariano Rivera (calm down, it’s only a usage comparison).
For people worrying about the 11 runs allowed by the bullpen on Sunday, don’t. Robles had a hick up. He’s allowed. Eric O’Flaherty pitched in that game while the game was still in the balance. He won’t pitch in the playoffs. I’m going to discount this game especially with the rough Robles outing and the relievers that appeared in the game.
Overall, the Mets bullpen is in great shape heading into the playoffs. They can stretch out their main four guys in a do or die game. These guys can keep a game close or hold a lead. I’m even confident after the last Nationals series, Collins will deploy them properly and out them in a position to succeed.
Surprisingly, the bullpen is a major strength of this team . . . even if no one is saying it.
Tonight, Matt Harvey was brilliant for five innings. He allowed one hit and a walk in conjunction with seven strikeouts. As October is more important than Septrmber 20th, especially with a 6.5 game lead in the division, Harvey was lifted.
The Mets then blew the lead. Twitter blew up. Everyone acted like it was Harvey and Boras that was the reason the Mets lost. It wasn’t even close to the reason. Here are some of the bigger reasons why the Mets lost:
- Mets leave the bases loaded in the first.
- Mets only score one run off CC Sabathia, who came into the game with a 4.93 ERA.
- Mets only mustered five hits and struck out seven times against Sabathia.
- David Wright dropping a throw from Hansel Robles after an awful Brett Gardner bunt, which set up a big inning.
- Robles emulating Jon Niese after the Wright misplay.
- Mets committing four errors.
- Terry Collins pitching Eric O’Flaherty.
- O’Flaherty being O’Flaherty (allowing all three lefty batters to get on base).
- Erik Goeddel walking in one of the batters he inherited from O’Flaherty.
- The Mets bullpen in total allowed eleven runs.
The Mets lost this game because their bullpen was terrible. The Mets lost because their offense was terrible. They didn’t lose the game because Harvey was amazing for five innings.
So when the blame game starts tonight, let’s start with where it belongs, which is everyone but Harvey.
What is great about these pitchers is they can get both lefties and righties out. It eliminates the need to go to matchups late in the game. That’s important because you risk exposing a LOOGY to a right handed pinch hitter in a key spot in a game. Of course, I’m being optimistic here because I have no choice. However, this doesn’t address the need to get a lefty out in the fifth or sixth inning.
With the Dario Alvarez injury and the ineffectiveness of Eric O’Flaherty, the Mets are not going to have a LOOGY in the mold of Pedro Feliciano for the playoffs. In fact, that leaves the Mets with one effective lefty in the bullpen, Sean Gilmartin, who has reverse splits and is better suited as the long man. So where do the Mets go from here?
Let’s start with who’s not an option. We know Jerry Blevins is out for the season. I’ve also seen and heard rumblings from people for the Mets to look at Josh Smoker. There’s some problem with Smoker. First, he’s never pitched above AA. Second, his stats are deceiving. At 26, he’s old for that level thereby skewing his stats a bit. Lastly, he hasn’t pitched in over 10 days. His season is over, and I presume he shut it down. If so, he’s not ready.
So that leaves Hansel Robles to get the lefties out. Looking at his splits, he gets lefties out better than a LOOGY ever could. He is limiting them to .188/.250/.438. Sure, it seems odd using a RHP to get out a lefty, but I’m more interested in effectiveness than appearance. I wonder if Terry Collins will see it that way, or will he bring in Gilmartin to get a lefty out in a big spot?
After last night’s big homerun, I wanted to write a post about Kirk Nieuwenhuis‘ chances of making the postseason roster. I then realized such conversation is premature without first discussing who is definitely going to be on the roster, and what the roster needs will be.
- Travis d’Arnaud
- Kevin Plawecki
- Lucas Duda
- Wilmer Flores
- Daniel Murphy
- Ruben Tejada
- Juan Uribe
- David Wright
- Kelly Johnson
- Yoenis Cespedes
- Michael Cuddyer
- Curtis Granderson
- Juan Lagares
- Michael Conforto
- Matt Harvey
- Jacob deGrom
- Bartolo Colon
- Noah Syndergaard
- Jeurys Familia
- Tyler Clippard
- Addison Reed
- Hansel Robles
While typically an MLB team carries 12 pitchers, that number is usually reduced to 11 relievers. That means there’s three spots open for pitchers like Sean Gilmartin, Dario Alvarez, Carlos Torres (if healthy), Erik Goeddel, Logan Verrett, Jon Niese, and of course Steven Matz. Notice, I did not put Bobby Parnell and Eric O’Flaherty on the list. If all the position players make the list, there’s only room for 11 pitchers anyway.
The Mets have tough decisions to make. They have about a month of tryouts. So far, Gilmartin, Alvarez, and Nieuwenhuis have made their cases. Other players have their opportunities as well. It’s nice having this conversation instead of talking about next year.