For the fan in enemy territory

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mets bullpen woes will help Beimel

As February comes to an end, we can take a look back at the present condition of the New York Mets after an interesting month. Upon examining the ball club closer, the Mets have the potential for a solid bullpen. However, just as the stadium is falling apart, so may that bullpen be as well. This is an area of the club that I have broken down previously, but there are several stories emerging that may cause another look.

First, the dynamic closer Francisco Rodriguez. He has pink eye and is quarantined from the rest of the team for the time being. It will heal, so as long as he doesn't spread it, this is not a concern.

Next, on the agenda, is Hisanori Takahashi. He is throwing impressive sessions down in Florida, which is fantastic news. The problem here is that his work visa hasn't come through yet, which is troubling news, but not the worst thing to hear.

Last week, it was reported that Kelvim Escobar has a 'weak arm'. It has been discussed how he could affect this bullpen due to his experience. Recent reports from New York Mets spring training, have stated that not only is his arm weak, but it is also behind schedule and will most likely cause him to miss the opening of the season. It is this recent development, that the Mets should be concerned with.

This announcement causes a stir in the franchise that will force the Mets brass to over spend to outbid another franchise searching for relief pitching. This announcement puts players like Joe Beimel in an advantageous position. He goes from demanding a job, to being in demand. He can now wait for the bidding war to be over.

Make no mistake, there will be a bidding war. The Cubs, among other teams who are getting injured players, are in need of bullpen help. That is why Beimel decided to wait, instead of jumping on an offer this late into the winter. He did the same last year and ended up with Washington.

This begs some important questions. Why? Why does the franchise have to get into this prediciment in the first place? Why would a franchise that has the type of revenue and the willingness to spend it, waste money on a injured pitcher that hasn't shown health in more than two years? This is a franchise that has just had possibly the worst injury season in the history of baseball, maybe sports. Then, they sign a pitcher who had credibility, but too many questions.

The answer may be harder to hear than most fans would like to admit. The reputation of the Mets is getting steadily worse. Perhaps, the free agents that are worth having, wouldn't return any of Omar Minaya's phone calls, until they are out of options. Is it possible that the franchise has sunk so low into embarrassment that players would rather sign with the Nationals than the Mets?

I seem to remember a few players, just this offseason that wanted to come to New York. Even they went elsewhere, either by lack of aggressiveness on the part of the Mets or by choice. The point is, there was a time when being a sports franchise in New York came along with a welcomed challenge that players wanted to embrace.

Now, they would rather play somewhere else. While there is nothing wrong with the Royals, Nationals, Marlins or Brewers, still they are not in New York. The fan base is far smaller and the teams do not have the type of revenue to consistently improve around those free agents just signed. I am not advocating for gloom and doom.

The truth is that there is enough depth in this organization to replace Escobar, without question. He may,also, come in late and be a real impact. There still is hope, that's what March is all about, hope. The reality is that the season hasn't even started yet, and the Mets have a pitcher they signed just for the purpose of strengthening the bullpen, whose injuries leave that same bullpen weaker. We've heard that word before haven't we?

1 comment:

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