Weathering the Storm

Supposedly there is still baseball being played this month — in Philadelphia no less! Can anyone confirm the rumor? Hard to believe anyone in the Northeast would be attempting to play ball in this cold, wet, windy weather.

david_weathers_met.jpgAnyway … with the typhoon-like conditions and snowfall sweeping through our area, I can’t help but pay attention to the weather. And then think about the weather. And somehow the name David Weathers comes into my mind.

Actually, that’s not entirely true … loyal MetsToday reader and commenter “sincekindergarten” tickled my intellect with this quip:

I saw on MLB Trade Rumors that David Weathers might be available. Yeah, he’s 39, but he might be able to give some counsel to some of the other members of the pen, a la Roberto Hernandez to Aaron Heilman in ’06. A year at, say, $3 mil, with a $3.5 mil option . . . ? Is my brain suffering from some sort of pre-freeze by thinking about getting Weathers again?

Tell you what, either I’m also suffering from pre-freeze, or I agree that Weathers would be a welcome addition to the bullpen. Before the naysayers start screaming “no! he’s old and fat and ugly and he stinks!”, please read on for some reasons this could make sense.

First, we’re not suggesting that Weathers is the end-all, be-all, fixitup solution for the bullpen. It’s a START toward improving the ‘pen. By no means should we believe that bringing in Weathers will be a lights-out setup guy, nor that he is the answer to fill the vacant closer role.

But, now that we’ve mentioned it, there’s one reason to bring him in. Weathers does have closing experience, and was pretty decent in that role. Not great, but decent. Again, not suggesting he should be brought in to close, only suggesting that it can help to have him around as a backup plan. As recently as 2007, he saved 33 games and blew 6.

Further, I like where “sk” is going with the counseling aspect. For the past few years, Billy Wagner was the de facto leader of the bullpen. He won’t be around, and despite what fans may think of his public persona, bottom line is that other relievers went to him for advice and looked to him for leadership. That leadership needs to be replaced, and the tough, cool, no-nonsense, and well-experienced Weathers would be an ideal replacement. In his last tour of duty with the Mets, Weathers had a positive effect in the development of Dan Wheeler. He could be a calming influence and mental guide for youngsters such as Eddie Kunz. His knowledge and preparation would be an asset particularly if the Mets decide to find a closer from within.

In addition, there’s the fact that Weathers can still pitch. As mentioned, he saved 33 games in 2007, and last year he posted a 3.25 ERA, with 19 holds, in 72 games. He has a rubber arm, he and experience pitching in every situation — mopup, setup, closing, you name it. We know he’s not going to panic, and we know he can handle New York. We also know he has some chutzpah, something this club can use a bit more of. He won’t blow anyone away, and he’ll give up hits, but he will throw plenty of strikes — and isn’t that something that was a big issue from Mets relievers last year?

Finally, Weathers should come cheaply. Last year he made $2.75M, and I doubt he’d require a huge raise over that. Perhaps he’ll hold out for a two-year deal, but who will offer that to a 39-year-old righty?

If the Mets can bring him in on a cheap, one-year contract, I say do it — but don’t stop there, make it a first step.

Count me in as a “Weathers man”.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. debmc October 29, 2008 at 2:21 pm
    I’m not as opposed to old guys in the bullpen as I am to old guys elsewhere on the roster for reasons that are obvious to most of us, and should be obvious to the rest…but no matter.

    Weathers was fine for us until he became another in the long line of many of the overused guys in the Mets bullpens of the past 5-10 years. As long as he has a defined role, and is used in that role, and not overused in that role, or misused in another role (all of which are huge concerns considering the usual mindset of the Mets), I think he would be an ok addition, but I’m not doing cartwheels or anything over him.

    And I don’t think he’s appropriate for the role of closer. The more I think about the closer role, the more I like the idea of developing someone from within, a young guy with his best years ahead of him.

  2. Micalpalyn October 29, 2008 at 4:39 pm
    agreed. Weathers is a guy we wanted back for a while. Not he is not a closer. But he is a bridge to the late innings and a good ‘experience/clubhouse’ guy. He is also a ‘rubber arm’ ala the Turk.

    PS: I see Parnall in the BP but i see kunz as trade bait.

  3. sincekindergarten October 30, 2008 at 4:45 am
    Mic, I see Kunz as a future closer with the Mets. Apparently in the AFL, he’s done decently. If Parnell’s in the BP, it’ll be only for a year at most, a la Joba Chamberlain.
  4. isuzudude October 30, 2008 at 7:52 am
    Kunz has a 9.72 ERA over 8.1 innings in the AFL so far with 2 saves, 7 BB, 6 K, and a 2.40 WHIP. That’s anything but decent. Maybe the Mets are rushing him too much, a la Mike Pelfrey, so I think it’s still too early to say whether he’ll be a bust or a future closer. He has certainly been far from impressive, though. Likewise, I doubt any team wants to trade for a guy who has shown hardly any ability to be a top-flight closer, either in AA, the Majors, or the AFL. If he has the potential to develop into a solid relief pitcher, chances are he’ll do it as a member of the Mets organization.

    I like the idea of Weathers as a leader, but not as any type of bullpen stalwart. If he’s appearing in any more than 60 games for the Mets in 2009 if signed it’s not a good sign of a strong bullpen. He can be like what Seanez was to the Phillies this season – a little used veteran who can mainly mop up and fill-in for spot-duty when others are injured or fatigued.

  5. Schmidtxc October 30, 2008 at 8:13 am
    With relief pitchers it’s pretty common to see poor stats in the afl. They are working with new catchers and coaches, many of them from organizations who employ a different philosophy, and who are not familiar with a pitcher. The limited exposure these pitchers get isn’t enough time to establish a repoire with one of the several catchers they work with. That said, I don’t think kunz is ready for the majors yet. He was excellent in AA this year, but struggled in the big show and AAA. Much of that could be due to the length of the season or the amount of work he had, as he was a reliever in college. I’d like to see us keep eddie, as relief prospects generally don’t have as much value on the trade market as starters.

    I think weathers will probably want 2 years or more, so I think I’d be inclined to pass. If he only wants to take 1 year however, I’m all for the idea. He really sits in the same boat as luis ayala for me. It’s nice to have several of those types of guys on the team, but I wouldn’t want to be locked in long term, and it’s nice to supplement them with some different looks.

  6. joe October 30, 2008 at 8:26 am
    ‘dude, thanks for the stats on Kunz. However, I generally don’t put too much stock into numbers derived from such small samples — particularly for relief pitchers, whose numbers can be skewed by one bad outing. And if we look closer, that’s indeed the case with Kunz — he allowed one hit or less and no runs in 6 of his 8 appearances, but had one terrible outing of 7 hits and 8 ER. Similarly, I’m not expecting Dan Murphy’s .400 average to be replicated next summer.

    But toward your point, I agree in that the Mets are rushing him. Unfortunately, they don’t have much choice, since there isn’t anyone in the organization who looks closer to ready at this point. It still bugs me that they kept Jorge Sosa over Stephen Register. Bygones …

    Weathers : Seanez is a PERFECT comparison. Now if only Jerry Manuel can be convinced that he’s a nincompoop, maybe there would be a reliever who appears in less than 75 games.

    BTW my “bullpen blueprint” is now in excess of 70 double-spaced pages, and is revealing how remarkably abusive the Mets were with their bullpen last year. I’m hoping to get it done soon, but the damn thing keeps growing as I continue researching.

  7. Micalpalyn October 30, 2008 at 11:05 am
    THE KEY to having releivers not burn out again rests with the starters!
    a. pedro probably is gone, and Ollie is more likely gone thats two bullpen flammables that we dont factor for next yr. add a half way reliable 8th/9th inning………..
  8. joe October 30, 2008 at 11:16 am
    Mic, that’s only half the story …. and in fact, it’s not as simple as that.

    For example, the AZ Diamondbacks starters pitched more innings than all but 5 MLB teams — yet Bob Melvin managed to wear out his bullpen with a “strategy” nearly as idiotic as the Randolph/Manuel tag-team.

    Be patient, young dragon … the Blueprint will enlighten you in due course …