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.
No, not the confrontation between the one-time reserve infielder and goofball teammate Rey Ordonez.
Luis Ayala is indeed in uniform No. 56. Not clear is what jersey they give to Juan Lopez, identified on the Mets’ roster as the “bullpen pitcher” — as low a rung of coachdom I will recognize here. So like they tell terrified passengers on the subway: If You See Something, Say Something.
Eddie Kunz was demoted to make room for Ayala, you probably knew that already too.
Sorry for the lack of updates last week: I had a story about the bullpen woes and Omar’s future on the unemployment line loaded and ready to blast a week ago, but then they started accomplishing good things, and I decided maybe it was best to give it the “no-hitter treatment” while it lasted.
But the forthcoming addition of Luis Ayala to the Met scrolls, and Billy Wagner‘s latest setback, are noteworthy enough to briefly interrupt my winning streak silence.
Though Ayala has been worked pretty hard — he’s in Heilman/Feliciano territory as far as appearances are concerned — I like this deal if only because anything could help and he came so cheap.
One only needs to look at the uni numbers to see Anderson Hernandez had no future here. As a late-season callup in 2005 and opening day starter at second-base in 2006, Anderson wore No. 1, but he was stripped of that by the time the Mets acquired Luis Castillo and reappeared in No. 4. That number was subsequently issued to Robinson Cancel, and then to Argenis Reyes: Losing two numbers, to three guys, in less than a year, is a condition rarely recovered from. As for Ayala, he’s No. 56 with Nationals: That uni currently belongs to Mets’ bullpen pitcher Juan Lopez.
The update we didn’t record was the unsurprising demotion of Carlos Muniz for John Maine last Wednesday.