The Ones That Got Away
- Updated: November 4, 2012
Not much going on in Met-land lately, so lets discuss one of the biggest weaknesses on this team since 2007 – the bullpen. Bullpens are a tricky thing because relievers in todays game are a tricky thing. Other than Mariano Rivera and a few others, it seems like relievers can be lights out one day, week, month, or year and horrible the next. The names I’ll be discussing are basically guys who in recent years were a part of the Mets roster and then let go either by trade or released or simply just lost through waivers. I won’t criticize the moves whether deserving or not. I’m just compiling a list of guys that had they been kept in the Mets bullpen and had they pitched the same way as recently, would’ve contributed big time to the team. Who knows, maybe the Mets could have even contended further had they kept some of these guys!
*List is in no particular order
1. Joe Smith (RP) – 28 years old
Mets Career: Joe Smith played his age 23 and 24 seasons with the Mets and appeared in 136 games and pitched 107.2 innings with a 3.51 ERA. He had 42 BB and 97 SO.
How’d He Go?: Smith was part of the three-team deal in December of 2008 that brought relievers Sean Green and J.J. Putz along with OF Jeremy Reed to the Mets in exchange for Aaron Heilman, Endy Chavez, Joe Smith and 1B Mike Carp. Green was awful and Putz was unfortunately always injured and the team declined his 2010 option making him a free agent.
Post Mets Career: Joe Smith has since with the Indians pitched 208 innings with a 2.90 ERA to go along with 76 BB and 160 SO.
2. J.J. Putz (RP) – 35 years old
Mets Career: J.J. Putz played in only 29 games and pitched 29.1 innings for the Mets in the 2009 season to a 5.22 ERA. He had 2 saves.
How’d He Go?: Brought in to be the dominant set-up man to compliment the then newly signed closer Francisco Rodriguez, Putz spent most of the 2009 season on the disabled list with bone spurs in his elbow. The ordeal became quite the controversy when after leaving NY, Putz revealed that the Mets didn’t even give him a physical when the deal was made. It turns out Putz had been told by doctors the previous year in Seattle that he had bone chips in his elbow. Dios mio! The team declined his 2010 option and he signed a one-year deal with the White Sox as a free agent and then pitched for the D-Backs for two more years.
Post Mets Career: Since leaving the Mets, Putz has 80 saves, 191 SO, and a 2.60 ERA in 166.1 IP.
3. Darren O’Day (RP) – 30 years old
Mets Career: Darren O’Day, then 26, was selected in the 2008 Rule 5 draft off of the Angels organization. The submariner only appeared in 5 games pitching 3 innings and allowing no runs.
How’d He Go?: Two weeks into the 2009 season the team designated him for assignment in order to make room for the journeyman pitcher Nelson Figueroa.
Post Mets Career: O’Day spent three years with Texas pitching 134.1 innings with 117 SO, 31 BB and a 2.41 ERA. In his 2012 season with the Orioles he pitched 67 innings with 69 SO, 12 BB, and a 2.28 ERA. He had a 3.09 ERA with 13 SO in 11.2 IP in his two stints in the postseason with Texas in 2010 and Baltimore in 2012.
Those are the three bullpen pitchers that the Mets have had in their system since 2007 that were lost one way or another and could have really contributed to the terrible bullpens the Mets have had since. Care for some
honorable laughable mentions?
- Oliver Perez
The Mets finally released Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo in 2011. His horrible contract and performance HAD to go. But in 2012 Oliver pitched in relief for the Mariners in the minors. He was called up in June and really excelled in his new relief role. His 2012 pitching line? A 2.12 ERA in 29.2 IP with 24 SO and 8 BB. Right handed batters hit just .204 against him. His new found bullpen success got him another one-year deal with a $1.5 million price tag.
- Luis Ayala
Ayala was horrible with the Mets (5.50 ERA), Twins (4.18 ERA), and Florida (11.74 ERA) between 2008-2009. In 2011 he signed with the Yankees and had a stellar season pitching 56 innings with a 2.09 ERA. In 2012 he joined the Orioles and pitched 75 innings with a 2.64 ERA. He finished both years with a 1.27 WHIP.
One more guy I want to mention and who the jury is still out on is Josh Stinson. The 24 year old made his major league debut with the Mets in 2011. He didn’t do all that well pitching 13 innings, allowing 14 hits and 10 ER. He did have one save but finished the season with a 6.92 ERA. He was waived in the Spring of 2012 and was picked up by the Brewers. Although he only pitched 9.1 innings out of the bullpen for the Brew Crew he was way better than he had been in a very similarly small sample size with the Mets. He had a 0.96 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. This is a guy drafted in the 37th round and who did fairly well for himself all through the minors and deserves a shot to prove himself out of a major league bullpen. I hope he does well with whoever he sticks with. It’s way too early to gauge what kind of pitcher he’ll be due to the very small sample sizes, but you never know, he might become the next guy we can add to the Mets’ “Ones Who Got Away” bullpen list.