Curiously, Mets Re-Sign Tim Byrdak
Sometimes, good news comes early — such as in this case: the Mets have announced their first big free-agent signing of the offseason, by re-upping lefthanded one-out specialist Tim Byrdak.
To me this is curious news, for a few reasons.
First of all, after putting together a solid year, why wouldn’t Byrdak choose to hit the open market and go to the highest bidder? While there are many LOOGYs hanging around MLB, not many have been as effective as Byrdak this season — so one would think he’d do pretty well as a free agent. But, from what has been made public, Byrdak is happy in New York and is fond of security — i.e., knowing now where he’ll be next spring. That’s understandable, especially considering all the bouncing around Byrdak has done in his career.
But that leads me to my second question: why were the Mets in a hurry to re-sign a LOOGY, when it appears that a) they’re still having financial troubles and b) 2012 will be another rebuilding year? Why would a rebuilding team need a lefty specialist in the bullpen? Wouldn’t it make more sense to find someone young — ideally someone from inside the organization — who can retire batters on both sides of the plate?
Maybe the idea is to keep Byrdak around as a trading piece for next year’s July deadline — though I’m not sure how much you can get back for a LOOGY. Or maybe the Mets are thinking Byrdak will have another stellar year and turn into a Type A free agent after 2012.
We don’t yet know the terms of the deal, but people are already proclaiming it to be a “smart move”. I’m not so sure, as I don’t see the point, from either perspective.
The 2012 Met bullpen should be drastically different than this year’s. Byrdak would seem to offer some positives, such as reliability, continuity, a veteran presence and a low
price. The Mets could (and probably will) do worse.
FWIW, maybe they see him a veteran presence for various young arms, which people might think is crap, but whatever, they might think it. And, if he wants to stay, heck, it can’t be THAT bad here, right? Him making a special effort might also have influenced them somewhat.
If the Mets’ financial situation is better than I think, then why are they still hundreds of millions of dollars in debt?
That should be the title of this blog.
It’s pretty obvious why they kept him. He’s a good pitcher and was willing to sign for one year. The Mets need good pitchers and you should never sign relievers for more than one year. DJ Carrasco is an example of that.
“2012 will be another rebuilding year?”
I’m glad that you’ve come from the future so now I can stop wasting my time reading this blog. I mean, the Mets are rebuilding after all… who cares?
As for my rebuilding comment, I didn’t need to waste the energy of sending my hot tub time machine to the future — all I needed to do was have a hypnotist send me back two weeks into my memory, to bring back the quotes of the Wilpons and Sandy Alderson explaining that next year would be another rebuilding year. But I forgive you because I know you only read MetsToday for your Mets news and I haven’t yet covered that topic.
I think the Mets were quick to re-sign Byrdak after last year’s failure to re-sign Takahashi. I found myself on multiple in-game situations this year thinking that Taka would’ve been perfect for this kind spot.
I think Byrdak chose to re-sign for the Mets to ensure job security and to place himself in a situation where he is succeeding and making money in a location where he enjoys living.
I also think that Herrera’s emergence in the bullpen has given the Mets a respectable 1-2 punch from the left side in a division with fierce lefty hitters (Howard, Utley, McCann, Freeman, etc…)
Byrdak’s signing is a solid move by a great GM, Sandy Alderson. It’s one less issue he has to resovle.
Also, The sad point of this signing is to tell the casual fan that the Mets are doing something to combat the other power houses in the East. It’s a band-aid. They need to DO so much more to compete. I’m just hoping our future prospect pan out because if they don’t we’ll stink for along time (unless the Wilponzes sell).
Unless the Mets have more money to spend than I think they do, or Byrdak signed for under $1 million, it probably wasn’t a great move for the Mets. Hopefully it won’t be as bad a choice as Sandy’s decision to sign D.J. Carrasco to a 2-year deal last off-season.
I hate the idea of lefty specialists. I can see why a playoff contender might bring one in, but non-playoff caliber teams should definitely be trying to develop more versatile pitchers.
If the Mets had any chance at all of fighting for the NL East in 2012, then I sort of understand the importance of having a tough LH specialist for those big at-bats vs. Howard, Utley, Chipper, McCann, Heyward, etc. But right now they don’t look like a .500 team, much less a division contender — so shouldn’t they be more focused on bigger, more impactful parts?
My point is that adding a good LOOGY is kind of like buying a nice leather steering wheel cover when your car has no gas, a dead battery, and four flat tires. It’s nice, but, eh, what’s the point if all you can do is sit in the driveway?
It didn’t take much “focus” to sign someone who went out of his way to ask. There will be plenty of slots open to test new relievers. I don’t know what the big deal is that they signed one person who is much less of a question mark. It’s not like buying a steering wheel cover instead of that other stuff.
It’ s a trivial move and if this is the kind of “waste” they are going to do, fine. I can live with it.
What does hating the DH have to do with anything? I don’t follow.
We have been told — publicly — that the Mets’ payroll will be dropping by $20M to $30M or more. That said, every last million bucks counts. Refer to previous offseasons when the Mets handed out several “small” contracts to a bunch of stiffs like Alex Cora and Kelvim Escobar. They seem like minor signings in regard to the overall payroll but when you add them all up the sum figure could be the difference between signing or not signing someone like Jose Reyes. That’s what I mean by “focus” — if Alderson has planned a budget where he’s allotting a few million for a LOOGY, to me that is missing the big picture, because a LOOGY is a luxury that a contending team can use, rather than a necessity for a second-division club.
Further, LOOGYs — and relievers in general — are wildly inconsistent from year to year. Byrdak has been effective for three months this season. Why do people forget how awful he was in the first half? LOOGYs are a crapshoot. I would argue that the Mets would be better served next year by paying the MLB minimum to lefties currently in the minors — maybe someone like Roy Merritt or any of a dozen minor league free agents who will be available in the offseason.
Who knows maybe they’re envisioning some bullpen by committee approach next season and they Byrdak as the lefty part. But my argument isn’t about lefty vs. righty, because as long as you have someone who’s effective against lefties, it doesn’t matter if they’re a portsider or not. I am in favor of the pragmatic nature of the decision.
That being said, and on an unrelated not I’d like to see the Mets look at Broxton and Webb in the offseason. If they could one or both on heavily incentive-laden deals it would give them low-cost investments with huge upside-and possible trading chips at the deadline. Plus. Broxton will only be 28 next season.
He only pitched four innings in May and while not pitching great still managed a W and a couple of Holds.
Other than that he’s been really good in 2012 and far from awful in the 1st half. In fact, since 2007 he’s been very consistent and effective.
You say it’s not about lefty vs. righty, then identify a LHP as a “need” and also argue that “as long as you have someone who’s effective against lefties, it doesn’t matter if they’re a portsider or not”. I disagree, because you need pitchers who are effective against ALL hitters, regardless of which side of the plate they hit from.
My stance: a MLB team does not “need” a LHP in the bullpen. You can disagree with that opinion, and that’s fine.
And as for Byrdak being consistently effective since 2007, I’m assuming you are looking only at his ERA, which, again, is not an accurate measurement of a relief pitcher’s value. What I look at is the fact that in three of the past four years, Byrdak has allowed 1/3 of his inherited runners to score, and that’s too much for someone who faces one or two batters per appearance. Further, throughout his career he has allwoed a baserunner and a half for every inning he pitches (1.53 WHIP); again, that’s nothing special.