Mets Paying For Billy Eppler’s Bullpen Plan
When we discuss the New York Mets bullpen, it always need the caveat that the Mets are without Edwin Díaz. Naturally, not having the best closer in baseball is going to severely impact your bullpen and how it is constructed.
For example, David Robertson was signed to be the eighth inning set-up man. That means he steps up to closer with everyone filling in behind him. That naturally weakens the bullpen even with Robertson being almost as good as Díaz was last season.
Now, if the Mets had Robertson and Díaz, they would have the 8th and 9th innings completely locked down. However, they would still have issues with the earlier innings. That was always going to be the place, but for some reason, that was always going to be the plan.
The Mets are suffering from that plan. Putting aside the plan, here are who the Mets key set-up relievers were supposed to be, and here is how they are performing this season:
- Adam Ottavino 0-2, 4.38 ERA, 96 ERA+, 4.79 FIP
- Brooks Raley 1-1, 3.10 ERA, 136 ERA+, 4.52 FIP
- Drew Smith 3-2, 3.74 ERA, 112 ERA+, 4.03 FIP
Raley and Smith have been alright, but they have not been dominant. Ottavino has struggled. What is really concerning with this trio is when you look at their FIP, they are over performing how they are pitching. The last thing the Mets can afford is any of them to regress, and from the looks of it, all of them are due for a regression.
Past them, it’s been a revolving door of relievers. The flavor of the week is Jeff Brigham and Dominic Leone. Previously, it was Jimmy Yacabonis, Denyi Reyes, Dennis Santana, John Curtiss, etc. The only conclusion to be drawn from these names is Billy Eppler and the Mets purposefully opted for relievers who can go back-and-forth instead of one or two more established arms.
The end result of all of this is a bad Mets bullpen. Their 4.17 bullpen ERA is 10th worst in the majors and fifth worst in the NL. The 4.51 FIP is sixth worst overall and third worst in the NL. Overall, the bullpen is just plain bad even with Robertson being dominant.
It needs to be reiterated the Carlos Correa deal fell through. That left the Mets with money to spend on the bullpen, and they didn’t. They instead wanted to go with a bunch of journeymen like Tommy Hunter. Again, this was the plan.
With that being the plan, we should not be surprised the bullpen has not been good. Chances are, it will get worse, at least from what we see with the team FIP. While the Mets didn’t plan on this being the case, that is the end result of their plan, and frankly, they should not be surprised by these results.