Friday, February 13, 2009

The Pen is Taking Form

The Mets spent the entire off season addressing the bullpen, today we’ll take a look at what it will actually look like this season.

Closing duties obviously go to the Mets $37 million man Francisco Rodriquez. The right hander who is coming off a record setting 62 save season with the Angels last year, K-Rod will definitely cement the 9th inning for the Mets. A career 2.35 era with, an almost 3 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio, and a pitcher known for his on field displays of emotion should be a great fit in New York for at least the next three years.

Setting up K-Rod will be newly acquired from the Mariners right hander JJ Putz. Putz who two years ago was the AL save leader had injury problems last year and only managed to throw 46.1 innings. A big time strike out pitcher with a heavy fast ball and sinker Putz well be taking Aaron Heilman’s role from last year. Putz who could close for most teams in the majors would be able to step in for K-Rod if he were to get hurt.

Acquired along with Putz from Seattle was another right hander Sean Green. Green who throw primarily a fast ball and slider is a groundball pitcher who should be helped out by the Mets infield defense. Look for Green to take the mound once every 2-3 days as he is a true gamer and won’t shy away from any situation. He should be able to handle the pressure of New York extremely well.

The lone lefty in the bullpen is Pedro Feliciano. Feliciano along with Duaner Sanchez are the only returning members of the bullpen from last year. As of now Feliciano will be relied on heavily to be the lefty specialist, especially against the lefties of the Phillies. Sanchez will likely have a diminished role this year after two consecutive injury plagued seasons in which he was unreliable when he was given the opportunity to pitch.

The last two spots in the pen are unclear as of now. One spot will goto a long man, most likely Tim Redding. Redding who has publically said he just wants to be on a winner and will do whatever he has asked, not to mention take a hometown discount, will be competing with Freddy Garcia and Jonathon Niese for the last spot in the rotation. Assuming Garcia is healthy he will probably get the nod, leaving Redding to take a spot in the pen, and Niese to start the season in AAA Buffalo.

The last spot in the pen is totally up for grabs as this point. Minaya has brought in numerous non roster invitees with relief experience. The lack of lefties in the pen should give any left a leg up in the competition. One such lefty is former Rockie Valerio De Los Santos. Another lefty Tom Martin, the former Dodger also may pop up on the radar. Martin who has dealt with some injury and control problems the last few years appears he may be ready to make a rebound. From with in the Mets system Bobby Parnell, Carlos Muniz, or Eddie Kunz, all righties, who got some work in the majors towards the end of the season last year are also possibilities for the last spot.

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