Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Future of Bullpens

It's no secret that I think the Mets should sign K-Rod. I like him. He's young. He's a proven closer.

However, I've also come to think that the Mets should also sign/trade for a guy like Huston Street or Chad Cordero or even Trevor Hoffman in addition to K-Rod.

Here's why.

I think the closer position in baseball will experience the same change that the running back position is currently going through in the NFL. Previously, in the NFL you needed one marquee running back for your team to be successful. Think about it. You had Barry Sanders, Walter Payton in past decades. You have Clinton Portis, Tomlinson and Sean Alexander in more recent years.

But look at the position now. Now teams are finding success by have a core group of RBs (at least two) that can split carries and be inserted based on the situation that best suits their strengths. The NY Giants have proven this to be successful based on their Super Bowl Run last year and current winning streak this year by using a 3-headed running back tandem of Jacobs, Ward & Bradshaw with Jacobs being the central back.

Even Tomlinson is splitting carries with Sproles for the Chargers. Look at the Titans with LenDale White and Chris Johnson. Or the Jets with Thomas Jones and Leon Washington.

This is what I think is going to happen over the next several years with the closer position. You will no longer have one closer who carries the load for your team. Instead you'll have multiple relievers with closer-type mentalities and velocity who each bring a different advantage.

That's why the Mets should be looking at getting multiple closers. The old rule used to be that you can't bring in your closer until the 9th inning. But what if the heart of the order is up in the 8th inning of a tight game? Why not bring in K-Rod to pitch the 8th and then have a guy like Huston Street come in and close out the 9th?

This would allow managers to play the lefty vs. lefty/righty vs. righty game and throw some surprises at opposing teams as they can't be certain who will be coming in to pitch the 9th so they can't save that righty specialist pinch hitter because the Mets might wait and bring in the righty closer to pitch the 9th.

This new scenario would also cut down on some of the pressure of the closer and the mid-relievers as you're now asking your mid-relievers to just get you through the 6th & 7th and then your closers can take over the 8th & 9th.

No one has really tried it yet, and with the bullpen struggles the Mets have faced over the past two seasons I think it's time for the club to try something different because what we currently got ain't working.

1 comment:

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