As part of Mets 101's offseason position reviews, we have taken a look at how each unit of the New York Mets performed in 2012 and what changes (if any) can be expected in 2013. We will wrap up our position reviews with a look at the most beleaguered unit on the squad, the bullpen.
2012 Year in Review:
The 2012 Mets bullpen was an unmitigated disaster. The unit blew leads early and often, coming into tight situations and throwing gasoline on top of a fire. Chief in the unit's struggles were the club's three high priced offseason acquisitions. Ramon Ramirez, who was acquired in the Angel Pagan trade, struggled with his consistency all season long. Jon Rauch, the expensive free agent signee, led the group with seven losses. Frank Francisco, the closer, started out hot but melted down on the mound and in the clubhouse. The failure of the big three impacted the rest of the relievers, who had to clean up excess messes and pitch a lot more than necessary. The bullpen's failures early in the year set the stage for yet another second half collapse.
The Mets bullpen will be a markedly changed unit in 2013. Four different relievers (Rauch, Ramirez, Tim Byrdak, and Manny Acosta) are all expected to be pitching somewhere else in 2013. After a winter's worth of high priced signings failed, Sandy Alderson has stated that the Mets will not be spending big money on the unit. Francisco will return in the closer's chair as he looks to wrap up a two year deal on a high note, but the improving Bobby Parnell will be next in line should Francisco falter again. The Mets have a pair of promising young lefties, Josh Edgin and Robert Carson, who will be competing for bullpen spots right out of spring training. The Mets are expected to be seeking a couple of veteran relievers in free agency, including a lefty to ease the load on Edgin and Carson. The bullpen, for now, is expected to remain on the back burner as the Mets figure out how to handle R.A. Dickey and address their outfield needs.
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