We knew coming into this past off-season the Mets weren’t spending much though the one place they did spend and address was the relief corps. After seeing the end of games disaster that ensued after K-Rod (Francisco Rodriguez) left, relief pitching was where Sandy was going to throw a few dollars to.
Sandy ended up dropping 6 million a year for two years to Frank Frank (Frankie Francisco) to close out games. To round out the pen he acquired Ramon Ramirez in the Beltran deal and signed Jon Rauch as a free agent for 3.5 million.
The result to date? As a whole, it’s been pretty disastrous.
Frank Frank, great guy and all but is just not getting it done. In 16 games he’s pitched 13.2 innings with the following line: 20 Hits, 7 BB, 15 K, .328 batting average and .397 on-base percentage against, 8.56 ERA, 1.98 WHIP. NOTE: This is NOT counting Monday’s appearance verse Brewers. He got the save, but still gave up a run and made it interesting.
6 million a year for this?
Granted he has converted 9 of 11 save opportunities, but that really doesn’t tell the whole story. Both his implosions on Friday and Sunday didn’t count as blown saves where they should have. He officially, keyword ‘officially’, only has 2 blown saves, but feels like 10 already in this young season.
But honestly, you can look back at his career stats, and you won’t find anything there to justify handing this man 12 million for 2-years. Frank Frank has only once in his career pitched to an ERA lower than 3.50 with career totals closer to 4.00. High career WHIP for a relief pitcher, over 1.30. He’s given up almost a hit per inning and we’ve seen a steady decline in strikeouts per 9 innings over the past 4 years.
Ramon Ramirez, whom historically has been a pretty good relief pitcher, has seen some of his worse career numbers this season. He comes here with a .229 batting average against record, but closer to .300 this season. His line: 19 innings pitched, 21 hits, 10 ER, 10 BB, 16 K’s, 4.66 ERA, 1.60 WHIP. Not good.
Then you have Manny Acosta. Why is this man still in the majors? Yes he had a decent first year with the Mets in 2010. But you look as his career stats and you can say that year was a fluke. It actually was best year of his career. He digressed last year and this year is just disgusting. The line: 17 innings pitched, 24 hits, 18 ER, 10 BB, 14 K’s, 9.53 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, .338 batting average against.
No one could have expected the Mets to play as good as they have been to date. The team has been a comeback machine with increasing confidence on a daily basis. They should have had two more comebacks this past weekend but the bullpen ruined that, specifically Frank Frank and Acosta.
This tide has to turn. You cannot continue losing games with leads in the 9th inning. This will quickly destroy all the good this team has created so far.
We need relief pitchers who come in, pound the zone, and get guys out. When you have relief pitchers who consistently pitch from behind, walk lead off batters and put guys on, this weekend happens. If this continues, it will be detrimental to the psyche of this young team, who’s been telling off every analyst who picked the Mets to suck this year.
Change needs to happen, and it needs to happen now or risk a rapid downward spiral and season down the drain quickly. I can’t believe Terry decided to go back to Frank Frank after the 2 implosions. He lucked out with the save but got hit hard, still gave up a run, and escaped giving up more with the tie-in runs on base.
That said, it hasn’t been all bad. Jon Rauch and Tim Byrdak have been the few bright spots.
Jon Rauch numbers: 2.93 ERA in 17 games, 15.1 IP, 12 hits, 5 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, .207 BA AVG against and a .98 WHIP.
Byrdak line: 10.1 innings pitched, 6 hits, 6 ER, 3 BB, 16 K’s, 3.48 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, .171 batting average against.
Bobby Parnell? He’s been decent, not great. He’s given up too many hits but has had good control only walking 3 batters.
Parnell line: 16 innings pitched, 19 hits, 4 ER, 3 BB, 16 K’s, 1.25 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, .284 batting average against.
All this tells me that either Parnell or Rauch should be given the opportunity to close even though Terry went back to Frank Frank. They should share duties based on match-ups since we don’t have a lights out closer. Rauch has the experience and should be given some chances.
Unfortunately for this situation, Frank Frank makes 6 million per year so odds are he eventually continues closing until furthur implosions.