Mets May Not Add To the Bullpen

Have you noticed that the Mets haven’t yet added any veteran big-league arms to the bullpen? There’s a possibility they don’t acquire one significant reliever — though, surely they’ll sign a few pitchers on minor-league deals. What do you think of that?

It’s true — there’s a fairly decent chance that the Mets will take their chances with what they have. And it may not be the worst idea in the world, considering where the Mets are in their rebuilding phase, their lack of payroll flexibility (some day, they hope to get out from under the heavy burden of the Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon contracts), and their plethora of young arms that need to be auditioned.

Here’s what they have, in no particular order:

Bobby Parnell
Vic Black
Scott Rice
Carlos Torres
Gonzalez German
Ryan Reid
Josh Edgin
Jeurys Familia
Jenrry Mejia
Jacob deGrom

I suppose Mejia and deGrom may have the opportunity to compete for the fifth-starter spot, but I’m including them here regardless. Personally, I see Mejia as an injury waiting to happen, and believe that if his dangerous mechanics will not be fixed, it would be best to limit his pitches as much as possible — not that that will necessarily prevent an injury, but throwing few pitches from the bullpen might hold off the inevitable a bit. But that’s another can of worms to discuss another day.

Here is what’s left on the market, in alphabetical order:

David Aardsma
Jairo Asencio
Scott Atchison
Luis Ayala
Andrew Bailey
Grant Balfour
Rafael Betancourt
Mitchell Boggs
Jeremy Bonderman
Tim Byrdak
Bruce Chen
Manny Corpas
Jesse Crain
Octavio Dotel
Zach Duke
Kyle Farnsworth
Pedro Feliciano
Frank Francisco
Chad Gaudin
Mike Gonzalez
Kevin Gregg
Matt Guerrier
J.C. Gutierrez
Joel Hanrahan
Rich Hill
Kameron Loe
Carlos Marmol
Nick Masset
Pat Neshek
Eric O’Flaherty
Darren Oliver
Juan Carlos Oviedo (a.k.a., Leo Nunez)
Oliver Perez
Fernando Rodney

If I’ve made a mistake on the relievers still available, or missed someone, let me know in the comments. Otherwise, it’s a fairly underwhelming list, isn’t it?

I’m thinking the Mets bring back Byrdak, for whatever it’s worth. We can more or less guarantee that Frank-Frank won’t be back, though Atchison and/or Feliciano could be. We likely also won’t see Aardsma returning.

As for the rest, I doubt highly that the Mets are in play for Balfour, Betancourt, or Rodney, and I don’t see a reunion with Oliver Perez — though, the irony would be mind-blowing. Hanrahan, O’Flaherty, Betancourt, and Bailey are coming off major arm injuries and/or surgeries, and not expected to return before June, so for now, cross them off the list. Darren Oliver is expected to retire. Here are the pitchers left, after those cross-offs:

Jairo Asencio
Scott Atchison
Luis Ayala
Mitchell Boggs
Jeremy Bonderman
Tim Byrdak
Bruce Chen
Manny Corpas
Jesse Crain
Octavio Dotel
Zach Duke
Kyle Farnsworth
Pedro Feliciano
Chad Gaudin
Mike Gonzalez
Kevin Gregg
Matt Guerrier
J.C. Gutierrez
Rich Hill
Kameron Loe
Carlos Marmol
Nick Masset
Pat Neshek
Juan Carlos Oviedo (a.k.a., Leo Nunez)

Ouch. Do you want to see any of the above in a Mets uniform in 2014? Will the Mets go after any of them?

Of course, there’s the possibility of out-of-the-box thinking, such as signing a former starter and converting him to the bullpen — such as a Jeff Francis, Scott Baker, Tommy Hanson, or Clayton Richard; the full list of available starters can be found on the ESPN free-agent tracker.

Short of the idea of converting a starter, I’m not seeing the Mets signing a prominent free-agent reliever prior to spring training. Maybe someone like Mitchell Boggs, Jeremy Bonderman, or Luis Ayala is mildly interesting, but considering they’re arguably the best of what’s left on the market, the Mets likely will have to overpay. And are any of them worth a guaranteed big-league deal? It appears to me that they’re best off signing a few to minor-league contracts, and/or adding some minor-league free agents to the mix.

What’s your thought? Am I missing anyone? Share your ideas in the comments.

Mets Item of the Day

Since it’s possible the Mets bullpen will be an exercise of Terry Collins playing the cards he’s dealt, I think a set of New York Mets Playing Cards is appropriate.

mets-playing-cards

13-14 Offseason

About the Author

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.

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