Commentary

Projecting the Mets' bullpen

With Feliciano and Takahashi gone, Amazins need others to take up slack in the pen

Updated: March 31, 2011, 9:36 AM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

Pedro Feliciano is with the New York Yankees, albeit with arm woes. Hisanori Takahashi is with the Los Angeles Angels. And other than Francisco Rodriguez and Bobby Parnell, the New York Mets' bullpen should have an entirely new look in 2011.

One decision appears to remain -- whether Blaine Boyer or Jason Isringhausen occupies the final spot:


FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ

Rodriguez
Rodriguez

Last year: 4-2, 2.20 ERA, 25 saves

Pro: After a tumultuous end to 2010, with his suspension by the team and a criminal plea bargain that includes 52 weeks of anger-management training, K-Rod appears a calmer individual off the field. He also has shown no ill effects from surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb, which he injured striking his girlfriend's father at Citi Field.

Con: Rodriguez's contract will vest for 2012 at $17.5 million if the closer finishes 55 games. That's a plateau he reached every season from 2005 through '09. His usage threatens to be a thorny issue that will be closely monitored by agent Paul Kinzer and the players' union.

Projection: 3-3, 3.01 ERA, 34 saves


BOBBY PARNELL

Parnell
Parnell

Last year: 0-1, 2.83 ERA

Pro: Parnell's fastball is among the fastest in the majors. He touched 102 mph last season, and averaged 96.4 mph. That, coupled with his slider, makes him the likely primary setup man to K-Rod.

Con: While Parnell limited his walks to eight in 35 major league innings last season, he did issue 46 walks in 88⅓ innings the previous season. His changeup can use polishing.

Projection: 2-3, 3.33 ERA


TIM BYRDAK

Byrdak
Byrdak

Last year: 2-2, 3.49 ERA

Pro: The southpaw handled lefty batters last season, holding them to a .213 average while pitching in relief for the Houston Astros. During his nine seasons in the majors, lefty batters are hitting .202 against Byrdak.

Con: Byrdak cannot duplicate the durability of predecessor Pedro Feliciano, who set consecutive franchise records with 86, 88 and 92 appearances the past three seasons. Not that Feliciano might be able to duplicate that durability with the Yankees, either, after experiencing left arm woes during spring training. At 37, Byrdak is at the age where injury risk could be a factor.

Projection: 3-3, 3.56 ERA


TAYLOR BUCHHOLZ

Buchholz
Buchholz

Last year: 1-0, 3.75 ERA

Pro: Buchholz was an elite setup man with the Colorado Rockies in 2008, when he was 6-6 with a 2.17 ERA and one save. He now has had two offseasons to recover from Tommy John surgery, giving him ample time to rediscover his past form.

Con: He's a Philadelphia Phillies fan, who grew up in Springfield, Pa. On a more serious note, Buchholz has yet to demonstrate his '08 form since elbow surgery. He actually has spent the past calendar year with four different organizations -- Colorado, Toronto, Boston and the Mets.

Projection: 3-3, 3.91 ERA


D.J. CARRASCO

Carrasco
Carrasco

Last year: 3-2, 3.68 ERA

Pro: Carrasco is capable of going multiple innings, as his spring training usage demonstrates. In his first six Grapefruit League appearances, he logged a combined 15⅔ innings -- setting himself up to be the Mets' long reliever/spot starter.

Con: Carrasco has a career 4.31 ERA in six major league seasons with the Royals, White Sox, Pirates and Diamondbacks. In his lone season as a starter, he was 6-8 with a 4.79 ERA with K.C. in 2005.

Projection: 1-2, 3.88 ERA


PEDRO BEATO

Beato
Beato

Last year: Did not pitch

Pro: Beato may be a find in the Rule 5 draft. Originally drafted by the Mets out of Brooklyn's Xaverian High School, he did not sign because the organization offered $750,000 instead of the $1 million he sought. When the Mets scouted Beato in Double-A last year with the Orioles, his fastball comfortably sat at 92 mph.

Con: As one Met pointed out, it is one thing to put up numbers in the minors or in the Grapefruit League. It's another thing to walk into a major league stadium with 40,000 spectators and produce. Beato has never appeared in a major league game.

Projection: 0-1, 4.11 ERA

Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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