Monday, April 11, 2011

Mets Bullpen Falters with Arizona Discards

The Diamondbacks had one of the worst bullpens in recent MLB history last year. Two of the pitchers they let go in an attempt to overhaul that bullpen were Blaine Boyer and D.J. Carrasco, who combined to give up six runs for the Mets Sunday.

The Mets' front office "dream team" is supposed to be able to sniff out cost-effective talent. But new D-Backs GM Kevin Towers has a great reputation as a bullpen builder, getting most of the credit for putting together the top-rated Padres' pen on a low budget. When Towers joined the D-Backs this past offseason, he willing to re-sign Aaron Heilman for one year at $2 million. Boyer and Carrasco, though, did not figure in Towers' plans.

Carrasco had actually pitched pretty well for the D-Backs after coming over to them in the middle of last year, endind up with a 3.18 ERA and .217 batting average against in 22 innings. Towers might well have been trying to save money by non-tendering him, since Carrasco ended up getting a two-year, $2.4 million deal from the Mets.

But the Mets are trying to save money as well. And while Boyer was originally signed to a minor-league deal and was easy to drop, it's hard to imagine the Mets letting go of Carrasco anytime soon with that two-year deal. Carrasco's contract, by the way, cost almost as much as the one-year deals for Chris Young and Chris Capuano combined.

At least Carrasco was pitching pretty well before Sunday, though he now has given up runs in two of his five appearances and has a 4.76 ERA.

The Mets have now lost four of five and their pitching staff has allowed 38 runs in those five games. The Mets have the next-to-worst ERA in the National League so far this year.

When Towers took over the D-Backs, one of the first things he did was to replace the Arizona pitching coach. Alderson decided to keep Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen. If the Mets' pitching failures continue, that's another thing on which to judge the front office.

Perhaps Warthen's loudest supporter in the offseason was Mike Pelfrey. Now Pelfrey's a mess and most of Warthen's other pitchers are struggling.

The season is still only nine games old - too early for any conclusions. But that won't stop fans from making them anyway. I just got an email from the Mets saying that all weekday April games are now 50% off.

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