(I've posted this elsewhere, so if you've seen it, I am not stealing it... just thought you guys would appreciate the idea.)
Does anyone think MLB teams need to seriously re-think how they stock their bullpens? Instead of having a bunch of specialists, why not fill it with guys like Figgy. Pitchers who can't start because they get exploited after 2 turns through the order.
Assuming you carry 7 bullpen guys like the Mets, here is how I would construct a bullpen if I were a GM:
You would have 3 late inning, "shut down" pitchers. For us, this would be Wagner, Sanchez, and Feliciano.
Then you would have 3 "second starters" (or "failed starters" if you must). These slots would be filled by pitchers who are effective for about 3-4 innings at a time, but once a lineup sees them for the 3rd time, they get hit hard. It is due to a lack of a 3rd pitch or just stamina/focus issues. Heilman would be perfect for this role. Figueroa would probably work. Heck, even Lima would be fine (he really was ok for 2-3 innings before imploding).
The last slot you could play with. Maybe you would have a LH specialist, especially if you're the Mets b/c you have the Phils and Braves in division. Otherwise, you could add another 2nd starter or shut down guy, depending on your needs.
My thoughts with splitting the bullpen are like so: with starters lasting roughly 6 innings, this gives you 4 innings per night the pen needs to pitch. If you had 3-4 guys capable of giving you 2-4 innings per appearance, you wouldn't need to throw guys every freaking day.
So, for example: Johan – 6; Heilman – 2; Wagner – 1. Ollie – 5; Heilman – 3; Wagner – 1.
A few more notes on the execution: You wouldn't want to bring your second starters into the middle of an inning if you didn't have to. This is why you have 3 shut down pitchers. Say Ollie is cruising along through 5 when things start to unravel in the 6th. Now he's gone 5.1 innings, and there are men on 1 & 2. You wouldn't want to bring a "second starter" into this situation. This would call for a shutdown pitcher (or what they used to call a fireman). So you would bring in Sanchez.
The problem is, this would require a whole new way of thinking for managers. Imagine Willie bringing Duaner into the game in the 6th inning? I'm not sure he could even make the phone call. This would require a whole lot of "thinking outside the box." (And this would apply to most managers, not just Willie, so I don't mean to pick on him.)