Damn these Mets.
I had a good piece about finally seeing the Mets in hi-def 1080p this past weekend, and they had to go and blow it. Instead of writing something fun about a team that won 4 of 5, now I have to contend with a squad that lost three in a row, including two blowouts in Chicago.
The Mets, who were showing signs of life last weekend by beating up on an injured Phillies team, are now back to the .500 mess we all feared they could be. And the problem isn’t with injured players or quiet bats. It’s this bullpen. Period. So, rather than hypothesize about magical turnarounds, let’s think of ways to fix this pile of crap before this team is staring up at the rest of the league.
1) Jorge Sosa must go
This one is a no-brainer. Two offseasons ago, Omar Minaya had us believe that a bullpen combination of Sosa and Ambiorix Burgos (remember him? Brian Bannister sure does…) would dominate the weak NL East. A year and a half later, and Burgos is nothing but a trivia question, while Sosa continues to load bases, then clear them systematically. His fastball is average, and his slider only breaks right over the heart of the strike zone. Release him so he can go ruin another team’s day, week and/or season.
2) Promote Ruddy Lugo
Names aside, this guy has been a solid, if not spectacular addition to the New Orleans squad. He throws hard, and thus far has only given up 8 earned runs in 25 innings. Give this guy a chance to start (moving the solid Figueroa into the ‘pen), or at the very least, move him into Sosa’s role until an opportunity arises. Some would say to promote Tony Armas, since he already has major league experience, but anyone who’s played in DC can tell you that there’s nothing major league about it. Lugo throws hard, has decent movement, and his name is Ruddy. Wins on all counts.
3) Trade Scott Schoeneweis
But, Brad — Schoeneweis is finally coming through and pitching well! Why give him up? Because it’s not going to last, that’s why. While I’ve admittedly been cheering for this limp-armed hump to succeed, I think we all know he’s one missed fastball away from reverting back to the festering turd we know him to be. Let’s unload him while his value is a bit higher, get a young AA arm, and let’s give another young guy a chance. Joe Smith isn’t the only valuable young arm in the system, my friends. If we lose Schoeneweis, we can create an opportunity for a guy like Brian Stokes or Carlos Muniz — two guys I would much rather see in a pinch than Double S.
4) Keep going to Heilman
Aaron’s been awful. His fastball is flat and his slider hasn’t been effective on lefties. He’s given up massive home runs, and a good portion of his self-esteem. But, unlike Schoeneweis’ success, Heilman’s failures are temporary. This guy’s name was on the top of everyone’s trade list this past offseason, and with good reason. He makes me cringe lately, but rest assured, he’s a keeper. We just have to keep letting him work out the kinks…at least until mid-May.
5) Use Wagner…Save or no save
This is important. I think it’s clear that the Mets aren’t going to be in a lot of 2-1 nailbiters. They score too many runs on good nights, and throw up bagels on the bad ones. Billy’s billion dollar arm is atrophied out there. Let the man come in for different situations so he becomes a more valuable asset than a tired Pedro Feliciano. The Mets’ pen has become so predictable…so overused, that it seems like opposing teams are already prepared for whatever Willie wants to throw out there. If Wagner becomes more versatile in the later innings, and the Mets allow youth to replace dead weight, this team’s biggest detriment will become an asset.
Otherwise, we’ve got problems, true believers. Problems that bats can’t fix.