The Mets bullpen has always been one of the question marks of the team. And this year is no different. The team comes into March with a closer coming off of injury and a ton of young talent competing for big league jobs.
Bobby Parnell has looked good in his limited time this spring and is set up to be ready for the season. Guys like Carlos Torres and Scott Rice have locked up bullpen spots, while guys like Josh Edgin were cut for lack-luster performances.
Then there is Vic Black. Black, who the Mets acquired from the Pirates in a trade last August, has emerged as the back-up plan if anything happens to Parnell.
Black spent little time up the big-leagues last year with the Mets, but is another guy who is a lock for the bullpen this year. And he is the key to the success of the Mets bullpen. While guys like Rice, Torres and Parnell are important, the development and growth of Black into a setup man/big league closer is what can make the back end of the bullpen solid and sound.
If Black can prove to be a solid to good setup man, with the ability to take over the closer role if need be, he will give Terry Collins another useful piece that the bullpen has been lacking over the past couple of years.
In the past Jon Rauch, Scott Atchison and LaTroy Hawkins have been in that role. Now a young, under-control pitcher can take over that 8th inning/back-up closer role which can give the Mets more flexibility for the season.
With Parnell’s health still a potential question and a lot of young talent making its way into the Mets system this year and beyond, it’s important for someone to develop and step into the role that the Mets have been lacking. Vic Black is that guy. If he can take that next step, he can turn the Mets bullpen problems into bullpen successes. And that will lead to more Mets wins, which makes everyone happy.