My player projections continue with key members of the bullpen:
In an otherwise slow offseason, the Mets made several moves to bolster their bullpen. They signed two free agents, RHPs Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch, and acquired RHP Ramon Ramirez from the San Francisco Giants (along with OF Andres Torres) in exchange for OF Angel Pagan.
Francisco figures to be the team’s closer, with Rauch covering the eighth inning and Ramirez roaming the sixth and seventh. This gives the Mets some depth at the back end of the bullpen, which was dreadful following the trade of Francisco Rodriguez in July 2011.
In addition, should the Mets be out of contention by the trade deadline, all three of these relievers are movable, since they didn’t sign for outlandish money. And they’d be all valuable to a contending team.
The Mets will likely carry a left-handed specialist, however that job is up for grabs following Tim Byrdak’s injury, which will reportedly keep him out 6 weeks. Byrdak thinks he can get back sooner, but then again, he has also been known to put on yellow tights and a feather boa.
Here are the numbers:
Frank Francisco RHP
The 32 year-old Francisco has been steady over his career, posting a lifetime 3.72 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. He’s been used primarily in a setup role, but has served as a closer for the Rangers and Blue Jays.
This camp, Terry Collins has been concerned with the fact that he “doesn’t throw over” to hold runners on. Well, as long as he doesn’t allow any baserunners…
Projection: 62 G, 3.67 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 29/35 SVO
FanGraphs: 56 G, 3.37 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 27 SV
Jon Rauch RHP
The 33 year-old has been a horse throughout his 8-year career. While with the Nationals, he appeared in 85 games in 2006, and 88 in 2007. Since then, however, his highest total was 75 in 2009. He had a career high 4.85 ERA in 2011, while his WHIP remained a Rauch-like 1.35. He also saved 11 games for the Blue Jays.
Projection: 55 G, 3.96 ERA, 1.36 WHIP
FanGraphs (ZiPS): 55 G, 393 ERA, 1.27 WHIP
Ramon Ramirez RHP
If past history is any indication, Ramirez will be the workhorse of this bullpen. He has a 162-game average of 68 appearances. He has performed well with pitching-rich Boston and San Francisco. In 2011, he posted a 2.62 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. At age 30, he is still in his prime. Should Francisco or Rauch falter, Ramirez may even get a chance to close.
Projection: 72 G, 2.81 ERA, 1.18 WHIP
FanGraphs: 64 G, 2.92 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
Manny Acosta RHP
Acosta was as consistent as any Mets reliever in the second half of 2011, which may speak more to the weakness of the bullpen. However, he has been pretty consistent in his career, but he’s had trouble staying on the field. His career high in appearances was 46 with the 2008 Braves. He has appeared in 41 and 44 games, respectively, with the 2010 and 2011 Mets. If he stays healthy, he should be a contributer.
Projection: 50 G, 3.41 ERA, 1.37 WHIP
FanGraphs (ZiPS): 58 G, 4.31 ERA, 1.45 WHIP
Bobby Parnell RHP
Parnell is still fighting for a place in the bullpen, but is all but assured to start the season in Queens. He throws a hard, straight fastball, and has inconsistent secondary stuff. He’s been working on his slider this Spring in order to make his fastball appear even faster. Parnell spit the bit as Mets closer last year, but still has a world of potential if he can learn to harness his stuff.
Projection: 64 G, 3.31 ERA, 1.41 WHIP
FanGraphs: 60 G, 3.30 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
Next up: the reserves