Sandy Alderson looks to avoid 2012 mistakes

Despite having a terrible bullpen, last year at the All-Star break the Mets were 46-40. Shortly after the break, on July 14th, Dan Stack noted that the Mets “rank last in bullpen ERA (4.94), 28th in WHIP (1.48) and 27th in batting average against (.267).” The bullpen is one of the easiest areas to improve around the All-Star break because teams out of the race are willing to deal bullpen parts.

Among others – Francisco Cordero, Justin Germano, Brandon Lyon and Brett Myers were all traded around this time. But the Mets did not make a move, the offense went into the tank, SP went on the DL, the bullpen continued its awful pitching and the Mets’ season was shot.

Fast forward to the present and we see that the Mets have added Lyon as a reliever for the 2013 team. Hey, better late than never! Last year Lyon had a 3.10 ERA and a 1.246 WHIP. Since 2006, the now 33 year old has averaged a 3.59 ERA and a 1.301 WHIP.

It seems safe to say that the Mets would be happy if Lyon could deliver 62 IP of 3.59 ERA this year out of the pen. That would essentially replace the 57.2 IP of 3.59 ERA that Jon Rauch delivered in 2012. The extra bonus is that Rauch was paid $3.5 million for those numbers while Lyon will pull down $750,000 plus roster/performance bonuses that will not exceed $1.55 million.

In 2007, Lyon pitched 74 innings, had a 2.68 ERA and a 1.243 WHIP. He followed that up in 2008 with 4.70 ERA in 59.1 IP and a 1.483 WHIP. You never know what you’re going to get from a middle reliever year to year, so you are definitely better off signing one to an incentive-laden deal like Lyon, rather than guaranteeing money to one like the Mets did last year with Rauch, which worked out better than they had any right to expect.

Was Lyon the best reliever available in free agency this offseason? Probably not. Yet because he was patient, Sandy Alderson picked up a guy who will likely replace one of the team’s top relievers from 2012 and saved money, too. This is the type of move we expect from Alderson. It’s a 180 degree turn from how he assembled his bullpen in 2012 and if we’re lucky, the results will be just as different at the end of the year.

In addition to Lyons, Alderson has made low-cost pickups in Scott Atchison, Greg Burke and LaTroy Hawkins. Aaron Laffey might get some bullpen consideration, too. Those four, combined with Lyon, give the Mets some options and did not cost eight figures in salary, like the 2012 bullpen additions did. So, here’s a tip of the cap to Alderson for seemingly correcting his giant mistake from last year.

Plus, if he can get 175-200 quality innings out of this group, it will likely make up for indulging Terry Collins’ habit by bringing back injured LOOGYs Tim Byrdak and Pedro Feliciano. Please, oh please – may Collins use Josh Edgin simply as a reliever this year!

5 comments for “Sandy Alderson looks to avoid 2012 mistakes

  1. Name
    February 20, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    The bullpen is all about a numbers game. You want to have as many as you can and hope that enough will hit so that you will have a decent bullpen. I like most of the names we picked up, and also liked that we have quite a few addition by subtractions.
    Still the odds are against them succeeding with TC at the helm, god help them. How can Collins look at anyone in the pen in the face? Especially the lefties.

  2. February 20, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    My concern is replacing R.A’S 200+ innings. Too many if’s in the starting rotation. Can Johan stay healthy. Can Niese can continue to mature while moving up to the 2 spot? Can the bull pen close games on a consistent level? If yes, then the team has an outside shot at a wildcard. They have nothing to lose with such low expectations.

    • February 20, 2013 at 10:26 pm

      No one pitcher has to replace Dickey’s innings. My opinion is the Mets will wind up with more IP from their top 4 SP than they did a year ago.

  3. Metsense
    February 21, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Sarcastically speaking, Sandy has already solved his biggest mistake of 2012 when he did absolutely nothing to improve the team when they were sitting in 1st place in June 2012. He has assembled the 2013 team that apparently will not be in that position.
    Last year the bullpen was the disaster, this year it is the outfield. His procrastination on Hairston lost him. Granted Hairston is only a 4th outfielder, but if you look it up, he and Wright were the only two players above average for their position offensively and defensively on the team. I already think that Sandy’ 2013 mistake is the outfield and his procrastination in aquiring any good defensive outfielders this winter will hurt the 2013 squad.
    Sandy is putting together a future team that should be competitive, hopefully by 2014.This year’s bullpen aquisitions seem like the best way to assemble a bullpen but I would try to even add another established veteran on the cheap.

  4. Vinny
    February 23, 2013 at 6:19 am

    Met sense, I hear you. The loss of Dickey and Hairston hurt. But the addition of all this bullpen help WILL improve the last 3 innings. Johan, Niese, Gee, Marcum and Harvey, with Wheeler in the wings, are exciting to me. If Santana, Gee, and Harvey grab 550 innings, then they make up for Dickey. Add Niese and Marcum’s 380 IP, and Wheeler for insurance, then the starters are BETTER THAN LAST YEAR, while the bullpen needs 50-100 less IP throughout the year, negating the need for the Manny Acostas of the league.
    Looking at offense, the infield is set, healthy, and happy. buck/darnaud is a big upgrade at C..and the outfield, I believe is going to platoon it’s way to average production. I see the OF batting 260 collectively

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