So the Mets are trying to address a ghastly bullpen and today announced they’d signed Neil Ramirez to a contract and he’ll be in uniform tonight — No. 55 — as they face Arizona.
The extent to which Neil Ramirez can be the “answer” is a matter of some debate — he’s been released by two clubs already this year and has yet to match a short stretch of success he had as a Cubs rookie a few years back — but I’d agree it’s time to do something. This bullpen in particular is churning up memories of 2008 when similarly disappointing returnees and a merry-go-round of cheap acquirees (Luis Ayala, Brandon Knight, Tony Armas, Scott Schoeneweis, and so on) seemed basically infected with a strain of lost confidence.
And while the bullpen pitchers are ultimately at fault, some of the blame needs to go to old Terry, whose use of the pen reeks of his lack of confidence in some guys and over-confidence (and overuse) among others; and to the rotation, whose poor efforts require more help than the club has been able to offer (and who repeatedly commit the sin of giving back every run the club scores as soon as possible); and to the offense, who, especially early on, made every game a do-or-die bullpen situation by failing to support the starters or give them any breathing room. Good teams simply cannot allow themselves to have their fates determined by 12th or 13th best pitcher on them (or the best relievers working to protect 5-run leads) and the way to do that is to make better starts and hit the ball harder.
It could be, the best move for the bullpen would be to turn Curtis Granderson and Jose Reyes into pinch hitters; get Robert Gsellman two weeks of starts in Las Vegas and got get Zimmo and Cecchini already.
But for now, the best move is Neil Rodriguez.
After a solid half-season rehabbing his career in AAA, the Mets rewarded Tony Armas with his first big-league appearance of the year. Tonight’s start in St. Louis (off to a shaky start as I write) is designed to provide a bit of rest for a stretched-out rotation, after which it is expected Armas will stay with the club filling the long-relief role previously filled by Claudio Vargas, Nelson Figueroa and Jorge Sosa. Armas appears tonight in No. 44 — the same jersey he wore this spring that was later issued to Brady Clark when Clark when the trip north and Armas did not.
Leave it Greg Prince of Faith & Fear in Flushing to point out the last time No. 44 appeared on the back of a Mets pitcher it was the Mercury Mets and Jason Isringhausen — who made his last appearance for the Mets wearing that jersey in July of 1999. That and a lot more.
Meantime, MBTN reader Paul C., aka King Of All Screen Capturers, delivers the above image of Isringhausen’s unique Mercury Mets look — condensed fonts don’t exist in the future, doncha know.
To make room for Armas the Mets designated infielder Andy Phillipsfor assignment — easy come, easy go — and are gambling a short bench won’t bite them in the butt before Moises Alou makes a return. Yes, they’re counting on that again. Yes, the Met offense is collapsing under the anticipation of his return once again.
Talkin’ baseball: Join me in Flushing this coming Monday, July 7, as I appear along with Greg Spira, co-editor of Meet the Mets, in a discussion about the Mets, baseball, books and anything else. We will have books for sale and/or signature (including Matt Silverman’s Mets Essential and 100 Things), and afterward, I’ll be happy to join you for a beer to watch the Mets-Phillies game.
Details: 6 p.m., Monday July 7 at the Queens Library — Flushing , 41-17 Main Street, (718) 661-1200.
The Mets this evening announced they have invited greying, heavyset ex-Dodger Olmedo Saenz to spring training with the idea he could become the right-handed power threat and backup to Carlos Delgado the lineup would seem to call out for. Saenz last appeared in No. 8 with Los Angeles.
Also invited to camp is veteran washout Tony Armas Jr., who’ll compete for a rotation slot and secretly root for injuries until its time to report to New Orleans. Armas most recently appeared in No. 36 with the Nationals and could easily appear in it again given Willie Collazo‘s own grip on a roster slot.
Update: Mets.com reports Wednesday that Armas will suit up in No. 44. Thanks Jason for the updates.