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Positional Battles: Mets Bullpen



By Mike Silva ~ February 18th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets.

The Mets bullpen could be the most crowded competition I have seen in years.

Locks: K-Rod, Sean Green, Pedro Feliciano, Ryota Igarashi

Competition: Kelvim Escobar, Bobby Parnell, Fernando Nieve, Pat Misch, Jay Marshall, Eric Niesen, Hisanori Takahashi, Figueroa, Elmer Dessens

Long Shots: Arturo Lopez, R.A. Dickey, Josh Fogg, Bobby Livingston, Carlos Muniz

Call Up Possibilities: Clint Everts, Eddie Kunz

Will Jerry Manuel go with two left handers? That is important as the Mets round out the roster. Personally, I would, but only if Eric Niesen, Jay Marshall, Hisanori Takahashi, or Arturo Lopez show value. Being left handed is not enough, especially since tough decisions have to be made. I still think Omar Minaya has missed the boat not signing a second lefty to complement Feliciano, especially when they play in the same division as the Phillies.

Much depends on the health of Kelvim Escobar. Being behind in camp with a sore shoulder doesn’t exactly exude confidence in his ability to contribute. Realistically five spots are locked if you believe Escobar will make the team. That leaves the final spot to a long man, Bobby Parnell, or a second left hander. If Nieve loses out to Figueroa, as I predicted in an earlier article, you may need to keep him as the long man.

The Mets seem to like “rubber armed” Elmer Dessens for his ability to eat innings, but last year’s success could very well be an outlier when you look at his career numbers. I just don’t see any room for Dessens or Japanese lefty Takahashi.

Former Montreal first round pick Clint Everts is one of the intriguing young arms this season after striking out more than a batter an inning and putting up an ERA well below two in the minor leagues. Also, 2007 first round pick Eddie Kunz may be at a crossroads with his career after a failed trial a couple of years ago. These are decent young arms that could step in if one of the veterans fails.

It will be interesting if Ryota Igarashi or Sean Green have terrible springs. Igarashi has a two year deal and Green is making just a shade under a million dollars. In the case of Igarashi they better be right or you will have an expensive mop up man out of the bullpen. Green is more expendable, but I liked what I saw with his “Chad Bradford type” delivery at the end of the year.

Prediction: Nieve and Parnell join K-Rod, Feliciano, Green, and Igarashi in the bullpen. Yes I am putting Escobar on the outside looking in because of his health. Who knows if he can contribute, but I believe Escobar needs to show that he is healthy and that doesn’t seem likely as of today. As much as I like to have a second lefty none of the options are appealing enough to let Nieve fall through waivers. Of course, if Nieve gets the fifth spot, then maybe Dessens, Figueroa, or the second left hander becomes a possibility. Ideally I would like to have two lefties out of the bullpen, and the young Niesen seems to have a live arm, but there doesn’t appear to be any room.. If any of the lefties impress then this might get interesting. Regardless, the Mets will have some tough decisions to make because ultimately they may have to risk losing Nieve or Figueroa to waivers. I am not sure that would be wise considering the question marks with the starting rotation.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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5 Responses to Positional Battles: Mets Bullpen

  1. GravediggerHebner

    When you state “Prediction: Nieve and Parnell join K-Rod, Feliciano, Green, and Igarashi in the bullpen” that’s 6 guys. I’m assuming based on past history and present needs the bullpen will be comprised of 7 guys.

    Do you really believe it will be just 6 or have I missed something in your article?

  2. david

    Everts will definately be in the mix with that devistating curve, look out!

  3. Mike Silva

    I don’t see them going with a 12 man staff personally. That would be 7 relievers and 5 starters.

    They didn’t last year to open the season and I doubt they do it this year, although its my opinion, not based on any information and fact. They went with 7 relievers only because Livan Hernandez started the year in the minors, if you remember. Maybe they do 7 and 4 again this year, but eventually its going to be six relievers I believe.

    I do remember being in favor of 12 pitchers last year, but was blasted for such a thought by some.

  4. R U Kidding

    11 man staff means a power bat (Jacobs?) on the bench. Which is more valuable a mop-up guy or a guy with some pop who can win a game in the late innings? Franco and Franco won some games that way. So did Valentin. For the old-timers Staub is a good memory.

  5. GravediggerHebner

    Thank you for elaborating Mr. Silva I appreciate it.

    I am thinking (based on no specific information from any source, just my opinion) that after the initial few games of the season once the early off days are out of the way the team will be 5 starting pitchers, 7 relievers, 8 starting position players and 5 bench players.

    I believe given the uncertainty of the starting pitching staff especially their lack of a proven ability (beyond Santana) to pitch into the 6th and 7th innings consistently that they would quickly burn out a 6 man bullpen.

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