If you’ve read this site before chances are you know my position on LOOGYs. To me they are one of the worst things about baseball in the 21st Century. Because they pitch so little, they create a drag on the rest of the bullpen. And to make matters worse, managers operate to maximize the success of their LOOGY, putting everyone else at a disadvantage in order to do so. Why on earth should you manage your pen to make the guy who pitches the least the most successful? It’s just insane.
Adding to the craziness is the Mets’ insistence on carrying *two* LOOGYs. Terry Collins has never been shy about this preference and the Mets seemingly brought in every lefty reliever available on an NRI in order to make this happen. If you do the math, you can see how having two pitchers in your bullpen who combine for fewer than 80 IP means an intolerable work level for the remaining relievers.
Let’s put aside the insanity of this idea and instead focus on at least carrying the right relievers for the role. After all, there’s no sense to compound the problem even more by carrying a guy who will stink in the role, too. Which brings us to Robert Carson.
With the news that Pedro Feliciano will begin the year in the minors in order to build up arm strength to be able to pitch in back-to-back games, it appears that Carson will join Josh Edgin as lefties in the pen on the Opening Day roster. But what has he done to deserve being in the majors? Let’s take a look at his body of work.
2013 Spring Training – 12.2 IP, 5 HR, 4.97 ERA
2012 majors – 13.1 IP, 2 HR, 4.97 ERA. Against LHB a .286/.375/.500 line
2012 minors – 51.1 IP, 3.86 ERA, 1.597 WHIP
2011 minors – 128.1 IP, 5.05 ERA, 1.629 WHIP
2010 minors – 135 IP, 5.67 ERA, 1.644 WHIP
Forgive me but it’s hard for me to see how any of this shouts out –- Make room for me in the majors! To be fair to Carson, he was pretty good in rookie ball in 2008. What that says about his chances for success in the majors in 2013, it’s difficult to see.
Those who believe in Carson see a 6’4 lefty with a big fastball and think he only needs time to put it all together and be effective. In the majors last year, he averaged 94.7 mph with his fastball. But his overall lack of success makes me think the best place for him right now is in the minors.
It should be pointed out that Carson did at least have a little success in the minors in 2012. He was terrible in Double-A Binghamton (4.79 ERA, 1.682 WHIP in 35.2 IP) but was effective in 15.2 IP in Triple-A. Why the 15.2 IP in Triple-A would trump the 13.1 IP in the majors last year and/or the 12.2 IP in Spring Training this year is beyond me. But it’s there and at the very least it’s worth something.
Still, it seems to me the Mets should send him back to Triple-A to see if he can shake off the disaster of his MLB and ST experiences. Essentially, make him earn his spot in the majors rather than giving it to him gift wrapped with a shiny bow on top like it appears the Mets are primed to do.
If Terry Collins’ extension somehow guarantees him two LOOGYs on the Opening Day roster, consider Scott Rice, instead. At least he’s pitched half decent this Spring, with a 3.18 ERA, a 1.147 WHIP and not a single HR allowed in 11.1 IP. Of course, Rice (like Feliciano) is an NRI and carrying him instead of Carson would require making another move to the 40-man roster.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Mets just took the best relievers, regardless of what hand they used to pitch? The pen could be: Parnell, Lyon, Hawkins, Atchinson, Familia, Edgin and Burke, with Edgin just used as a plain reliever instead of a LOOGY. Both Burke and Familia – the two guys most likely to be sent down to give an undeserved spot to Carson – are on the 40-man, too.
Instead, the Mets have it set up so they can carry two LOOGYs all year. Carson gets the first shot. If and when he implodes, Feliciano is ready to step up and take his place. And if somehow Feliciano cannot hack it, by then old pal Tim Byrdak should be ready. They can cut Carson to make room on the 40-man for Feliciano and if Byrdak needs to come up than Feliciano gets dropped from the 40-man.
It’s both depressing and predictable.