HomeTeamsMetsHow Sound Will The Mets Bullpen Be This Season

How Sound Will The Mets Bullpen Be This Season

While the excitement of Sunday’s Super Bowl 58 is still palpable, Baseball is Back!  The Mets officially welcome pitchers and catchers Wednesday on Valentine’ Day. Edwin Diaz, new Met Sean Manaea, and staff ace Kodai Senga have all already been working out at the complex in Port St. Lucie, FL. Those three pitchers having good seasons is of critical importance if the team has designs on a playoff run in 2024. It’s good to see them back in action and raring’ to go.

Everyone talks about the starting pitching but what about the Met bullpen?

Even casual fans know that the Mets sorely missed Edwin Diaz in 2023. His season and in some ways the team’s season was scuttled after celebrating a win for Puerto Rico in the WBC in March. His teammate Francisco Lindor could only watch in horror and ‘cried a lot’ afterward.  David Robertson gamely took over the closing duties and was very good for the first two months of the season. Then came June, a 7-19 record and team-wise it all came tumbling down. The collective weight of having to cover the loss of the best closer in baseball in Diaz became too much for the Met bullpen to bear. Now Sugar is back, Timmy Trumpet is warming up and the 9th inning should not be a nerve wracking as it was in 2023. Good news, right?

Maybe. For the Mets getting there might not be half the fun. Of the Mets five or six starting pitchers (a six-man rotation is possible if not even likely), none of them should be expected to regularly pitch deep into games. That’s not necessarily unique in today’s MLB. What it does do is put added pressure on the entire bullpen. Once Senga, Jose Quintana, Manaea, Luis Severino, Adrian Houser and Tylor Megill exit the game likely in the 5th or 6th innings, new manager Carlos Mendoza will not have household names to whom he will be handing the ball.

Robertson was traded away late season, did not do much with the Marlins, and now will set up for the World Champion Texas Rangers. Brooks Raley returns off what was a very solid debut season for the Mets. After that it immediately turns uncertain. Adam Ottavino returns after all, since he at first declined his $6.75M player option only to find no suitors in the free agency market willing to pay him more. He took $4.75M to return to the Mets and he says he’s happy to be back but can’t be with the way things turned out. Ottavino’s 2023 was better than many Met fans are willing to admit, but it was not nearly as good as his 2022 season which fans remember better. Ideally Ottavino will be a 6th or 7th inning pitcher with Raley playing setup man for Diaz more often than not.

Before Diaz, who?

Who else might be used in a set up rule besides the left-handed Raley? If not Ottavino then the Mets might be hoping off-season free agent Jorge Lopez rediscovers the stuff that made him an Oriole all-star in 2022. The rest of the bullpen including newly signed Shintaro Fujinami, is even a bigger question mark. Is this the year Drew Smith finally figures it out? Don’t we say this every year? The Mets believe in his stuff which is why Smith is still around. Michael Tonkin (Twins and Braves) and Phil Bickford (Brewers and Dodgers) have had some success with their former teams. Jake Diekman, Sean Reid-Foley, Austin Adams and Joey Lucchesi all will be in camp vying for innings. There’s no clear option at this time and it will probably take the first month of the season to sort it all out.

A primary criticism of the 2023 Met bullpen was that the pitchers as a group were all too similar in their pitch preferences and deliveries. Primarily right handers throwing sweepers and sliders spotting a fastball around them. The organization led now by POBO David Stearns realized that was a weakness and at least on paper, the relievers on the 40-man roster are not as homogenous as they were in 2023.

When it comes to the bullpen in 2024 Met fans keep your fingers crossed

The takeaway is that the 2024 Met bullpen is likely to be taxed with a heavy burden. The bullpen’s overall ability to deliver consistent quality innings might be the singular difference between a team that wins 78 games and a team that wins 84 and competes for a playoff spot.

Mark Kolier
Mark Kolierhttps://mlbreport.com/
Mark Kolier along with his son Gordon co-hosts a baseball podcast called ‘Almost Cooperstown’. He also has written baseball-related articles that can be accessed on Medium.com, Substack.com and now MLBReport.com.


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