There have been some solid long relievers in the history of the New York Mets: Don Cardwell, Ray Sadecki, and Terry Leach all come to mind. A good performance by a team’s primary long reliever is a mixed blessing. A significant contribution by a long reliever (just like a team’s primary pinch-hitter) can be beneficial to a team’s winning percentage but could be the result of a lack of quality, health, or stability with the team’s starters.
Last year, Carlos Torres appeared in 33 games for the New York Mets. Overall, he hurled 86 innings for the major league squad but 158 total innings on the year. He went 4-6 with a 3.44 ERA. He’s 31, throws right-handed, stands 6’1″ and weighs 185 lbs.
He filled the gap in the club’s starting rotation after Matt Harvey went down and started nine games. His 2013 statistics include a 7.82 K/9 compared to only a 1.77 BB/9. His WHIP ended at 1.112.
A point of concern is that out of the 79 hits he gave up, 15 of them were HRs. A second issue of note is that he is out of options which means that if he doesn’t make the major league roster out of Spring Training, the Mets would need to let him pass through waivers before assigning him to Las Vegas.
Another possible choice for the team’s long reliever is John Lannan. He was signed to a minor-league contract but will be looking to make the team out of Spring Training. He is coming back from injuries and only pitched 74 innings last year. He throws left-handed and is two years younger than Torres. However, if Lannan does perform well, the team would rather see him compete for the fifth starter position.
During this off-season, a lot has been written about the shape of the team’s starting rotation and short relief. Which rookies, if any, will force their way into the rotation? Who will be the club’s closer on opening day? At this point though, it does appear that the Mets are planning on using Torres as their man in long relief.
And as for me, I’m hoping Torres has a good showing (…but not too good…) this year.