TALKING METS BULLPEN: Vic Black, Jeurys Familia, Cory Mazonni, Jeff Walters, Chase Huchingson, etc.


Frank Francisco Motivational PosterBobby Parnell ended up having back surgery, and there has to be some worry with him. LaTroy Hawkins, who closed for us when Parnell went down, has moved on to Colorado, not being able to resist the Rocky Mountains and fabulous school system. Maybe all of this explains why we kept Frank Francisco around last September. Now that Frank Frank is healthy, do you think we will sign him to a minor league deal?




I’m learning these days that anything is possible in Queens. But seriously, it looks like the Mets might just throw Vic Black in the deep end to see if he can swim.


131365C_LThe price is right! Not sure about that particular role for him — he just looks like a big guy who can throw hard to me — but he should be, as Terry loves to say, “in the mix.” But as a matter of policy, this is a team that should start throwing guys in the deep end. Sooner or later you’ve got to take off the orange swimmies.


It is worth remembering, too, that Jeurys Familia was back and pitching in the Arizona Fall League. He could be a nice cheap bullpen option next year. I also see no reason why Jeff Walters can’t be given a legitimate chance to make the 2014 staff.


Yes, though nobody seems too enthused about Jeff Walters, he certainly merits a look. It’s now or never. He just turned 26, setting records at AA means bupkis. Might as well go for it. Especially if the policy is, “What the hey! Let’s see what sticks!” I know that sounds mocking, but I actually think that’s a reasonable approach to the modern bullpen. Even the “known quantities” vary widely in effectiveness from year to year.


Another guy that I would be looking at for the 2014 bullpen is Cory Mazzoni. I saw him pitch in both 2012 and 2013, and on both nights his stuff evaporated after four innings. Until then, though, he had an above average fastball and a decent curve. In one and two inning spurts I could see Mazzoni doing very well.


I saw him in Binghamton last year, too, and had a similar perspective. He was smooth and refined — he looked like a pitcher up there — but just not, well, a starter to get excited about. The day I saw him, he got a lot of strikeouts with off-speed stuff in the dirt, not sure if that translates to Flushing or not.


I’ve never seen Leatherisch, but all those walks concern me.


I saw him, very excited about that first glimpse, and came away unimpressed. For what that’s worth.


I’m dubious. I did see a lefty specialist that I liked in 2013, Chase Huchingson. Not overpowering, but a funky delivery.


Webelos_Handbook_225x3421I believe Huchingson has been suspended twice for violations of “a drug of abuse.” Not counting on that. Look, overall, this should be a strength of the Mets farm system. Over the years, I’ve loved the way the Atlanta Braves have created a pipeline of homegrown bullpen talent. Not just failed guys, either, but real talent. In order to achieve that, you’ve got to steer some of the interesting young arms in that direction. Based on articles I’ve read, they got into Familia’s ear, he’s all in. In the end, sure, you need a variety of arms, a veritable buffet of possibilities, in order to make an effective bullpen. You add, discard, swap in and out as needed. Importantly, for crying out loud, let’s see if these guys can help the big club. Enough with winning merit badges with the Webelos.





But the entire pen can’t be up in the air, with guys who don’t have major league experience, don’t know the ropes. The club needs it’s ace reliever, for starters. That should be Bobby Parnell, but I’m concerned about that injury. Hawkins was going to be a key, in my eyes, for his leadership and experience. As I said with the catcher position, I value veteran presence on the roster. The role of mentor. Interestingly, Ron Darling has been advocating for that in the starting rotation, too.


Yes, I agree. I would think that is coming, those signings came late last year. Atchison, Lyon, Hawkins, they were all signed very late in the process. I expect some similar signings later this offseason.

Overall we need so much in other areas, and Parnell is expected back.

The key to a good pen for 2014 needs to be these young guns. With annual low payrolls starting to look like the new normal in Flushing, spending on the bullpen is a luxury that cannot be afforded.



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  1. Just for the hell of it, here’s some info regarding the Colorado School System. I hope Mike Hampton has been happy with his experience out there.

  2. PeeKay15 says:

    Chris Young, eh?


    • Chris Young signed a minor league deal with the Nationals. When it comes to reclamation projects, Alderson holds a trump card: Opportunity. Last year we held Wheeler down to give starts to Aaron Laffey. We held Harvey down the year before that. This year, signals are that we’ll hold Montero and Syndergaard down in favor of “a body,” any “body.”

      OTOH, there’s the other scenario: They sign a Dice-K, give him steady work, and he performs well. Another piece we can trade. Oh boy! And yet . . . when we heard that Sandy’s focus was on draft and development, I didn’t realize that we’d become a developmental club for the rest of baseball. Now it’s sort of like, “Okay, try out with the Mets, get your innings, and if that works out maybe we’ll be able to get you a job in the Major Leagues!”

      Meanwhile, strong young arms wait for Super 2.

    • Michael Geus says:

      Depends what they do with him. He can defend, and at Citi, I think that is important. As a fourth outfielder he works for me.

      • I doubt that he’ll be a fourth outfielder. The real question is if the Mets really believe in moving Eric Young to 2B.

      • Patrick Boegel says:

        Need to see how much of the precious kitty this guy consumes. I am having a dread moment that he is at least getting his last year cut. That would be an awful move given circumstances.

  3. PeeKay15 says:

    And Chris Young, the outfielder just signed a 1-year deal with us this morning. =)

  4. PeeKay15 says:

    Agreed, MG.

    ….maybe some Mike Cameron-type production – but I can’t say I’d be thrilled with him as a starting corner outfielder.

    Not expecting all that much, considering he’s:

    – not a spring chicken
    – stands to take a hit, offensively — in coming to hit at Citi Field; and
    – is likely going to be relied upon to play regularly in our outfield, presuming good health….otherwise, he’d almost certainly be elsewhere.

    The good thing about the situation is: you can at least hedge your bets a little bit more, across the outfield….specifically, looking at CF – provided Lagares regresses at the plate in his sophomore season. (Young’s tools do play very well as a part-time starter.)

    Beyond curious to see what the financials are.

    • Safe to say the price was right.

      Quick story: My wife’s grandfather was a great old guy, used to drive around in a beat-up car, batty as a loon, and some days he’d just show up at our apartment (at the time). Often it was after food shopping, when we was out and about. After his visit with us, he’ll pull a package of sliced ham out of his suit jacket — he did this twice, amazingly — and hand it to me. A gift. This is for you. I’d look and it was a half-pound of sliced ham, purchased at the supermarket. And I’d be like, “Wow, thanks Grandpa Sal. We’ll all be eating ham sandwiches tomorrow!” Because what else are you going to say?

      That’s sort of how I feel about Sandy Alderson right now.

  5. At least Faithful Reader Eric got his wish: Sandy went out and signed a guy he LIKED and WANTED. Proactive, baby!

  6. RAFF says:

    I hope they got an option with Young for 2015. If he has a bounce back, it would be nice to take advantage of it. I like the signing. This gives them “interesting” positional flexibility coupled with Eric Young Jr. … Perhaps this is moving the Mets into a position to Make a trade.

  7. Eric says:

    Jimmy—Thanks for the Samich!!!!!!

  8. One more Grandpa Sal story, apropos of nothing.

    His most common expression: “Here’s another guy trying to put the screws into me.”

    For example, the mechanic at the garage who tells Grandpa Sal he needs new tires. The insurance companies. The doctors. The bankers. The neighbors. Wherever he turned, whomever he encountered, Grandpa Sal was wary and distrustful. I can still here him muttering . . .

    “Here’s another guy trying to put the screws into me.”

    God, I love that expression. He’s the only person I ever heard use it.

    Whataworld, whataworld, what a wicked world in which we live.

  9. Michael Geus says:

    Upon further review, at that price Young will be at least a platoon guy. In isolation, the deal looks fine.

    Personally, all of this stuff just feels like what I used to pity the Royals fans for annually. It’s tough living in this tiny New York market, but that is the breaks.

    With the current commitment from ownership I doubt we can win this decade. I laugh at the idea of sustained success. I dare the Wilpons to be bold and make me eat my words, and have no fear they will make me do so.

    It is what it is, not much to analyze if the plan is to hope and pray. I can still be a fan and root for miracles.

    There is always that, and teams do come out of nowhere.

  10. IB says:

    I like the Young move too. More speed, D, some pop and best of all, bench strength. Good teams need guys like this. They still need a cleanup hitter, but I’m betting alderson gets this done one way or another.

    I can see this team playing great D and stealing 150 bases next year. Good staff. That could be exciting.

    • Patrick Boegel says:

      The stolen base only becomes a positive risk reward weapon for very good offensive teams. If you look at teams that lead or were near the top of their respective leagues over several seasons, there are generally two truths. If that team was a strong offensive and pitching team it was a plus weapon and those teams made the playoffs. Then you have what happened in the NL last year, Brewers, Padres, Mets, Rockies.

      Overall it is a good piece to the puzzle but it rarely lifts a mediocre team to the level needed to really contend in any fashion. The last team to really take advantage of the stolen base as a primary offensive weapon was the St. Louis Cardinals. In the 1980s, and they were wildly inconsistent. Because their offense depended greatly on it.

      But in deference to my daughter and my friends saying can you just imagine for a second things being good for the Mets next year…

      Given the market and what teams might want to do trade wise to become a little more flexible:

      I submit the Jays might be motivated to move Jose Reyes on the cheap with salary relief to the taker.

      He is owed $86M for the next four years with his buyout which is a near given to be used. So, Reyes and $16-$18M for Tejada, Ike Davis and two prospects that is up to the Jays, but it would not be Syndergaard level.

      Mets can decide how they want to apply the money coming back, AAV wise they could go across board, that seems unlikely, or make Reyes as low as $6-$8MM player in 2014.

      Then I’d see what the market for Granderson really becomes, get the feeling he could be that type of guy who opts to reestablish his value in 2014. If so take advantage of that and go over the silly budget established for 2014.


      Maybe take a flier on Hart who could be in same boat as Granderson.

      Deal with pitching internally.

      At the end of the day. Alderson and the Wilpons can not accomplish what they set out to do without going over their budget. Even if they move a player like Murphy to “make room” financially. It makes the team worse.

  11. RAFF says:

    The Chris Young Signing is a good thing. To properly evaluate, we really need to Suspend disbelief, suspicion, and negative thoughts. (You can do it!!!) Bottom line: They signed a Professional Major League Baseball Player AT MARKET VALUE. Given their current makeup- This move has given the Mets some very valuable Roster Flexibility, and it provides the Mets with the ability to make a NEXT STEP in a trade (Murphy?) This will be interesting. For us- right now- Sandy is THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD…

  12. Eraff says:

    I like the Young Signing…and, don’t forget…

    …..The Relentless Passion to be Consistently Competitive!!!!!! MEANINGFUL GAMES IN SEPTEMBER!!!!!!

  13. I can see the logic of Chris Young for a small-market team. It’s a one-year deal. He’s a stopgap until . . . until . . .

    As an isolated move, for one year, he might turn out okay. But it’s a one-year deal, and doesn’t do anything to make the Mets into a really good team. Most teams have stopgaps, but what the Mets need are some building blocks, “core players” to use Sandy’s language.

    Chris Young is here for one year. If he’s good, he’ll walk. If he isn’t, maybe we can afford to keep him.

    At the same time, we’re reading now that an upgrade at SS seems unlikely. That the spending budget is at $25 million. (Yes, again, the increase in TV revenue this year was $26 million per team.)

    I actually feel a little sorry for Sandy today.

  14. Eric says:

    I said I Liked the Move…… One Move

  15. Eric says:

    The OBVIOUS “next moves”:

    Sign Choo— 5/105

    Trade Murph and Gee/Niese for Elvis Andrus

    Throw your “Kid Pitchers” out there on day 1

    SS Andrus
    C d’Arnaud
    RF Choo
    3b Wright
    1b Duda/Flores
    lf Young
    cf lagares
    2b Young/Flores

    p Niese/Gee, Wheeler, Syndergaard, Montero, “fill”


  16. Elvis Andrus? He’s signed until 2022 for $120 million, career .688 OPS.

  17. RAFF says:

    Andrus? A 9 year contract @ $125 million Guaranteed? ($140/10yr. with the vesting option) It would be an interesting discussion if his current deal was 3-4 years, or even 5 years. If you’re going to spend $10-15 mill annually on a shortstop, can’t you get the same or better production for a much shorter term with Peraulta or Drew? Doing so would also preserve the trade “pieces” you mention- all of whom you would keep or retain for trade elsewhere.

  18. Eraff says:

    BTW—-Brian McCann at 17 per— a STEAL as a 1b option…Gone. I don’t get it.

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