Sandy Alderson fetches great return with his recent bullpen trades

At one point it was a running joke here that Sandy Alderson made so few trades that he was a semi-active GM. And while no one will ever confuse him with Whitey Herzog at the 1980 Winter Meetings, Alderson has pulled the trigger on deals for big bats, or hoped for big bats, at the trade deadline the past two years.

But what flies a little bit under the radar are trades that Alderson has made to fortify the bullpen. Three guys who are playing prominent roles so far in the 2017 pen came to the Mets thanks to deals pulled off by Alderson. Here they are in reverse order of how they appeared in yesterday’s 5-4 win over the Phillies:

Addison Reed – The former White Sox and Diamondbacks closer had fallen on hard times and was even sent to the minors during the 2015 season. But after his recall to the majors, Reed allowed just 3 ER in 16.1 IP. That strong stretch prompted Alderson to acquire him for minor leaguers Miller Diaz and Matt Koch just in time to be eligible for the postseason roster. In parts of three seasons with the Mets, Reed has a 1.86 ERA and a 0.938 WHIP, with 114 Ks in 97 IP.

Fernando Salas – He did not have anywhere close to the pedigree that Reed, a former number-one pick, too, had but Salas had been an effective reliever for a number of years before struggling with the Angels in 2016. Alderson picked him up the last day of August in 2016 and Salas did a complete 180 with the Mets, posting a nifty 2.08 ERA with a 0.635 WHIP in 17 September appearances. It’s more of the same this year, as Salas has yet to give up an earned run in six games. Alderson traded 2014 13th-round pick Erik Manoah to get Salas.

Jerry Blevins – Unlike the previous two, Alderson did not get Blevins for a stretch drive. Instead, he acquired him in a deal near the end of Spring Training, swapping reserve outfielder Matt den Dekker to the Nationals in 2015. Blevins got off to a great start that year but ended up missing most of the year due to injuries. He returned to become a valuable part of the 2016 pen. It’s more of the same this year, as Blevins has yet to allow a run in his first five games. In parts of three seasons with the Mets, Blevins has allowed 13 ER in 50 IP.

While den Dekker would have helped the 2015 club, Alderson has picked up three critical pieces for very little and deserves praise for these moves. He also pulled the trigger for Tyler Clippard in 2015, who played a key role in the club making the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Clippard did not have a good run in the playoffs and was allowed to leave in free agency. Also, Alderson may have paid the biggest price in getting Clippard, as he swapped Casey Meisner for him. At the time of the trade, Meisner was 10-4 and already had a midseason promotion under his belt. But last year Meisner had a poor season, going 1-14 with a 4.85 ERA and it’s been more of the same in a tiny sample this year.

Alderson also traded for relievers Ramon Ramirez and Alex Torres in previous years and those two didn’t work out too well. Ramirez had an uncharacteristically poor season for the Mets and Torres fell out of favor because he had the audacity as a lefty reliever to perform better against RHB. Torres, and perhaps Ramirez, too, could have performed better with a different utilization.

Regardless, it’s hard to be anything but impressed with the results Alderson has received from his recent bullpen trade pickups.

9 comments for “Sandy Alderson fetches great return with his recent bullpen trades

  1. April 13, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    I still shake my head at the fact we picked up Addison Reed for peanuts.

    • Chris F
      April 13, 2017 at 3:23 pm

      It helps offset the cost of paying for Frank Frank and Rauch!!!

      • Jimmy P
        April 13, 2017 at 3:31 pm

        Both Reed and Salas have great mound demeanor. Those were two excellent and necessary moves. Blevins, too.

        They have that air of taking care of business.

    • Name
      April 13, 2017 at 5:38 pm

      Reed had about the ~30th highest RP salary when we traded for him, ~30th highest RP salary last year, and 10th highest RP salary this year.

      While the cost to acquire in terms of prospects was minimal, we’re paying top dollar for him and he’s certainly no bargain

      • April 13, 2017 at 6:08 pm

        On the list of things to complain about, this is pretty ridiculous.

        Reed’s getting paid what he is because he’s been outstanding. As a fan, I consider what the team is paying Reed as money well spent. I’d much rather have Reed than Brett Cecil, who’s getting paid the exact same amount.

  2. Pete In Iowa
    April 13, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Reed was the team MVP last year. Hands down.

    • Chris F
      April 13, 2017 at 6:13 pm

      Droobs Pete…Droobs

  3. Name
    April 13, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    I’m not so sure.

    There are so many random surprises / comebacks / rejuvenation in the bullpen these days that I don’t know how much “credit” the GM deserves. I mean, we also had guys like Oh no completely fall flat on his face, Niese wasn’t able to find second life in the pen, and while not trades, reclamation projects like Henderson and Tim Stauffer not turn out to be hidden gems.
    You look at most teams and you can pick out 2 or 3 of those guys in the last few years who went from relative obscurity (traded for or signed cheaply) to playing an important role in the pen.

    Braves : Jim Johnson, Grili
    Phillies: Gomez, David hernandez
    Marlins: McGowen, Bryan Morris
    Nats: none recently

    The bullpen game is really like a game of darts. You just keep throwing them until something sticks. And while something may stick for a little while, it may fall off quickly and you have to find more darts to throw.

  4. Jim OMalley
    April 13, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    Actually, darts is more complicated than it looks. You have hot streaks, cold streaks, doubles and triples to consider, You have to look at the skill level of your opponent, and what the best mathmatical chances of getting out are based on the darts in your hand.

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