Tag: ricardo rincon

Mets Sign Argenis Reyes, Tom Martin

Just in case Alex Cora breaks his leg, the Mets have signed Argenis Reyes as a backup plan. Reyes is expected to begin the season in AAA Buffalo.

Reyes flashed a decent glove, a lot of hustle, and not much else in his 49 games with the Mets in 2008. His most valuable asset — according to the SNY broadcast team — was his being “always in the middle of something.” High praise for a guy who hit .218 with a .259 OBP and .245 SLG (who knew it was mathematically possible to have a slugging percentage lower than your OBP?).

In addition, the team brought back another former Met, LHP Tom Martin. Martin would have been a great addition six years ago, when he had a career year with the Dodgers and had a 3.53 ERA in 80 appearances. He pitched in Flushing in 2001 and posted an eye-popping 10.06 ERA in 14 games. Hopefully he can improve upon that in his next go-around with the club.

Interestingly, Martin — who turns 38 in May — was released by LA during spring training last year and pitched five innings for the Long Island Ducks, striking out six. From my point of view, it’s a so-so signing — more paint on the wall.

Hopefully the signing of Martin will not block the return of Ricardo Rincon, who did an admirable job in 8 appearances last September.

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Bullpen is Not Done

Congratulations to Omar Minaya for shortening 2009 Mets games to seven innings. Indeed, the one-two punch of “K-Putz” has the potential to be the most effective since the Mariano Rivera – John Wetteland duo of 1996. However, there is still the matter of the innings one through seven.

The Mets didn’t get the innings-eating Derek Lowe to plug up the front end of their rotation, and as a result, it looks like another season of starters who struggle to get into, and through, the sixth inning. So even with K-Putz waiting to shut the door, Mets games will still be a crapshoot during the sixth and seventh frames. For one, Pedro Feliciano won’t suddenly evolve from his ideal role of LOOGY — been there, tried that, it didn’t work. Sean Green might be helpful, or he may be another Jon Adkins. Joe Smith is gone. Brian Stokes is back, but can he be as good through 65-70 games as he was in his two dozen appearances of last year? A couple of Rule 5 picks might have a chance to stick — Darren O’Day and Rocky Cherry. Connor Robertson — the guy the Mets received in return for Scott Schoeneweis — might be worse than Adkins. What all these names tell us most is, the sixth and the seventh innings are no more a slam dunk than they were last year.

Luckily, there is still time to rectify the situation. First, there are a number of intriguing free agent middle relievers looking for a new team. For example, Juan Cruz, Brandon Lyon, and Jason Isringhausen are unemployed. 2008 Mets Luis Ayala, Ricardo Rincon, and Matt Wise are waiting for an ST invite. Chad Cordero auditioned for a bunch of teams, and I’m stunned that Omar Minaya hasn’t locked him up yet. Most recently, the Red Sox DFA’d David Aardsma, a guy who I clamored for this time last year.

My favorites are Cordero, Rincon, Ayala, and Aardsma. Cordero because he’s a low-risk, high-reward type, with a strong competitive fire. I like Rincon because he’s just as good as any other available LOOGY, but will come at a fraction of the cost and will require only a one-year commitment. Ayala is another competitor who was misplaced as a setup man/closer last year, but would be perfect as a 6th/7th inning guy. Aardsma is a diamond in the rough, a late bloomer type in the mold of a Dan Wheeler.

Before you laugh about Aardsma’s 5.55 ERA last year, understand that he pitched 24 of his 47 games in Fenway Park, which can have a dramatic effect on a pitcher’s mentality, focus, and performance. Before you write him off, consider his numbers outside of Fenway Park — 23 IP, 15 H, 19 K, 13 BB, 2.25 ERA, 1.21 WHIP. Wow. That’s like, as good as Juan Cruz — and Aardsma did that in the AL East.

Obviously, the Mets’ biggest issue right now is located a #3 starter. But in the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt to pick up a few more cans of paint for the bullpen wall. Cordero would be a nice calculated gamble, and any one of the others would provide ample depth. What the Mets have done for middle relief, to this point, is change the names — that’s not necessarily the same as improving. As we know, change by itself is not always better. Picking up one or two quality arms will complete the bullpen overhaul, and make the ENTIRE relief corps a team strength.

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Say No To Dennys Reyes

According to Ken Rosenthal, free-agent lefthanded Weeble Dennys Reyes is “drawing interest” from the Mets (among other teams).

Please Omar, just say no.

Reyes is coming off the second-best year of his career (ironically, in a walk year!), and is poised to fall back to the bottom of the barrel. Other than the season past and an extraordinary 2006, Reyes has been a remarkably mediocre pitcher — no matter what role he’s been placed in. His career ERA is over 4 and a quarter, career WHIP one and a half. Yes he’s held lefthanded hitters to a .237 average but righties crush him to the tune of an .810 OPS. He’ll turn 32 shortly after Opening Day, so he’s not getting any younger, and he has a history of nagging shoulder and elbow problems — both of which are due to terrible pitching mechanics. His listed weight of 250 is probably closer to 275, and not due to “big bones” — if he was righthanded I might mistake him for Rich Garces. Considering all these factors, it’s absolutely laughable to hear that he was seeking a 3-year contract earlier this winter.

I’m on board with the idea of the Mets getting another lefthanded pitcher in the bullpen, if not a “crossover” than at least a LOOGY. But not this one. Why throw years and money at someone like this when you can get the same performance at a much cheaper rate from Ricardo Rincon?

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