Manny Acosta-Pedro Beato switch helps settle Mets’ pen

On July 23rd, Pedro Beato gave up 4 ER in 0.1 IP as the Mets dropped their second straight extra-inning game. From the 10th inning on in those games, the Mets were outscored, 11-0, and the bullpen looked like it has pretty much all season – in shambles. The following day the Mets demoted Beato and called up Manny Acosta, which had the feeling of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

However, in six games since Acosta has been back in the pen, the team’s relievers have a 3.06 ERA in 17.2 IP. In that span they have allowed just 10 H and 1 HR. They have surrendered a few more walks than you would prefer (9) but have compensated by striking out 21 batters for a 10.7 K/9. It adds up to a 3.14 FIP, right in line with their actual results.

Acosta is tied for the lead among relievers in innings since his recall and he has not allowed a run. Here is the breakdown for the bullpen in the last six games:

IP ERA
Manny Acosta 3.1 0.00
Josh Edgin 3.1 0.00
Ramon Ramirez 3.0 0.00
Tim Byrdak 1.0 18.00
Jon Rauch 1.2 5.40
Elvin Ramirez 3.0 9.00
Bobby Parnell 2.0 0.00

Given how heavily the bullpen had been used prior to this stretch – and how many innings needed in the last six games – this is a nice innings pitched breakdown. Additionally, no one has been used in more than back-to-back games and the Mets head to San Francisco with no one unavailable out of the pen.

Terry Collins has come under scrutiny for his bullpen deployment but perhaps now he finally has a group he can somewhat trust. Elvin Ramirez is the weak link and undoubtedly will be sent down if/when Frank Francisco is ready to return. When the Mets get their closer back, they can move Byrdak back to his one-or-two batter per game role. It is clearly the most effective usage for him and they might actually have the depth to pull it off now.

Even with his horrific game against the Dodgers (1.2 IP, 5 ER), Ramon Ramirez has a 3.38 ERA in 12 games since returning from the DL. I do not agree with how Collins is using him but he has for the most part done a good job soaking up innings and along with Edgin gives the manager two options for guys who can go multiple innings when a starter gets knocked out early.

Acosta is third in line for the multi-inning outing, which is better than counting on him as the primary long reliever. While he was very good in Triple-A and unscored upon in his first three outings back in the majors, Acosta needs to work his way back to higher-leverage innings. Still, he can provide value keeping things close in the middle of the game and it would be a boon to the pen if he could come back and be the pitcher with a 3.22 ERA, like he had for the Mets in 2010-11, rather than the guy who had an 11.86 ERA before he was mercifully sent out of town earlier this season.

If Francisco can come back and be the closer he was earlier – 1.26 ERA in his last 14 games before hitting the DL – then the Mets could finally have a normal pen. Collins will likely use some combination of Byrdak/Rauch/Parnell to cover the 7th-8th innings to get to Francisco. It’s not exactly Mariano RiveraJohn Wetteland but it could work.

Ideally, Collins works Acosta, Edgin and Ramon Ramirez into more valuable roles the rest of the season. It is easy to see Edgin evolving into the primary 8th-inning man – perhaps not this year – and he might become a closer in 2014. My goal would be to have the other two be the ones vying for work in the seventh inning along with Parnell. However, it does cause a problem for Collins as Rauch is not capable of being a multiple-inning reliever and Byrdak is stretched to go a full inning.

Perhaps Collins could use Byrdak/Rauch in close and late situations through the end of August. Then once rosters expand the Mets can add a couple of relievers to use in multi-inning roles. This frees up Edgin and Ramirez to be slotted into higher leverage spots in place of Byrdak/Rauch without requiring either of the demoted relievers to go more innings than they are capable of providing.

Then in 2013 the Mets could have Francisco, Edgin and Parnell as their primary relievers. Acosta and Ramon Ramirez should be brought back if their performance dictates it and the price is right. If both return, then they would only need to get a LOOGY and a long man to fill out their pen. That’s a far cry from last offseason, when the Mets added a closer and two guys who figured to battle it out for the 8th-inning role.

9 comments for “Manny Acosta-Pedro Beato switch helps settle Mets’ pen

  1. Ron
    July 30, 2012 at 11:04 am

    There is no way that Acosta or Ramirez will be back next year. Neither has been reliable or consistent all year …. basing Acosta’s return on he last 3.1 innings is ridiculous. With Ramirez, his horrific game against the Dodgers has been the norm, hasn’t it? Why would you discount it so easily when that is what he has been much of the year …. this bullpen sucks and needs another major overhaul …. bringing back most of the same garbage will not fix it.

    • July 30, 2012 at 11:32 am

      Hi Ron – thanks for reading and commenting.

      In no way, shape or form do I advocate bringing back Acosta based on 3.1 IP. In case you missed it, here’s what I actually said: Acosta and Ramon Ramirez should be brought back if their performance dictates it and the price is right.

      As for Ramirez, his performance against the Dodgers has been the extreme outlier in his outings since returning from the DL. He’s a reliever with a history of pitching well and I think his 3.38 ERA in the last 12 games (which included the Dodger blow-up) is much more in line with what we should expect than the 4.78 ERA he had before the DL trip.

  2. NormE
    July 30, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Recent history has shown that relief pitchers are an inconsistent commodity from year to year. I like your article because it shows that the Mets could have a somewhat decent bullpen in the next year or two. I do think that Rauch and possibly Byrdak may not be part of that future.

  3. July 30, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Edgin, Parnell, Byrdak and Francisco should be part of the 2013 bullpen.
    Elvin Ramirez should probably be in AAA.
    Ramon Ramirez and Rauch really shouldn’t be back.
    Acosta has to go.

    They really ought to take on some additional salary for an established-reliever with a multi-year contract before the deadline so they can build for this year and next. I’m not advocating wonton spending, but don’t be so cheap Lincoln cries.

  4. David Groveman
    July 30, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I still believe that Acosta is a solid bullpen arm and believe he has a future as a solid MR for multiple teams in his future. I think that the Mets would be wise to retain Acosta if they could keep him affordable.

  5. Chris F
    July 30, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. I think that summed it up best. I look out there and and get the queasies. I like Edgin. Beyond that…here comes the iceberg.

  6. steevy
    July 30, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Well,Kevin Burkhardt thinks that no moves are coming at the deadline so we sink I guess.I don’t want to platoon Bay,I want to bench him.(since we can’t get rid of him outright)

  7. July 31, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Brukhardt is also surmising on Twitter that TC will announce Edgin as closer until Francisco comes back up.

    • steevy
      July 31, 2012 at 8:32 pm

      That would suit me fine as Parnell can’t even convert half his chances for saves.

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