Mets bullpen a work in progress


Is Manny Acosta a contender for the New York Mets closer spot? (AP photo)

Mets review, part II: The Bullpen

The New York Mets bullpen in 2011 was, well, not good. There were many people thrust into different roles throughout the year, and none of them seemed comfortable.

K-Rod was sent packing to the Brewers before the deadline last year. The Mets knew they weren’t going to keep him after the season, and they got what they could for him. Sandy Alderson came out and said the Mets closer for 2012 is outside the organization and he’s 100 percent right. Bobby Parnell couldn’t cut it. Jason Isringhausen is too old. Manny Acosta isn’t the answer at that spot. Two names to watch are Jonathan Broxton and Joe Nathan. Broxton is coming off of arm problems last year, as is Nathan. Both are low-risk, high-reward kind of signings and could give Alderson some value at the trade deadline if healthy.

The rest of the bullpen may be hodgepodge. Tim Byrdak will be back as the LOOGY. Danny Herrera, who was acquired in the K-Rod deal, may be the second lefty. Parnell (or Kyle Farnsworth 2.0) will be back, as well. His fastball is hard, but it’s straight and leads him to getting hit. Acosta will find his way back in. As a first year arbitration, he did pretty well for the Mets. And 2011 Rule V pick Pedro Beato will factor in, as well. He had a great start and tailed off down the stretch. D.J. Carrasco will factor in, as well.

Two interesting names to watch will be Taylor Buchholz and Josh Stinson. Buchholz left the team due to depression but was pitching well beforehand. If he decides to come back to pitching, he may be brought back. Stinson may be the only arm ready out of the system to help in 2012. Stinson recorded a save down the stretch and showed no fear facing big league hitters. He could be a guy to watch for next year as a sleeper candidate for the bullpen.

Expect the Mets to be very active and bring in people from outside the organization to fill roles. The pen blew plenty of leads last year but the 2011 Diamondbacks proved if you fix the bullpen, you have a chance to compete and even make the playoffs.

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