In the 2011 season the Mets’ bullpen racked up an ERA of 4.33, good for 3rd worst in all of baseball. Last night Sandy Alderson took measures to greatly improve the effectiveness of the team’s late-inning pitchers. Alderson traded Pagan for a replacement as well as a new reliever Ramon Ramirez, while he also signed the likes of Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch to compete for the closers’ role much like they did last season in Toronto.
- Jason Isringhausen is now a free agent, after giving the Mets 46 innings of 4.02 ERA relief last season. At this point he is very unlikely to be resigned.
- Ryota Igarashi is also off the team after being “good enough” for a 4.66 ERA in 38 innings last year.
- Francisco Rodriguez threw 42 innings for the Mets with an ERA 3.16 before being traded away late last year.
- Finally, DJ Carrasco will possibly be off the squad (although nothing is official yet), with his 2011 ERA of 5.91 in 45 innings of bullpen work.
- Ramon Ramirez shined in 68 innings last season with an ERA of 2.62. The best part about Ramirez is that there’s no sample size issue – he has pitched with ERA’s less than 3 for four straight seasons and is an absolute workhorse averaging close to 70 innings per season over that stretch.
- Frank Francisco‘s ERA of 3.55 in 50 innings last season is somewhat pedestrian for a part-time closer (17-21 saves), but he usually gets the job done. For the record, the 2-year $12MM contract is about market value for an average closer.
- Finally, plagued with some late-season knee issues, Jon Rauch posted a 4.85 ERA in 52 innings pitched. It was probably the worst season of his career, and more likely than not if healthy that ERA will drop near or below 4.00 in 2012. Rauch racked up 11 saves in 16 attempts, which probably helped him get $3.5MM out of the Mets. The contract seems like a bit of an over-payment, but if Rauch can get back to form, which actually has good odds, it will be justified.
Overall, the moves made should increase the bullpen’s effectiveness and stability in 2012. In addition, last year Pedro Beato looked overworked much of the season, and a fresh start will hopefully help him to have a better year. Bobby Parnell had an on-and-off year in 2011, but with his natural talent has a real shot at a more solid year in 2012. I’m not quite sure how many leads the Mets will have by the 6th or 7th inning given the mediocre starting staff, but when they do expect better results than in 2011.