Its not the sexiest roster spot to ponder about but hey, theres not much left. So after rounding out the rotation and a complete bullpen overhaul the one more apparent hole is an additional lefty one-out guy.
A once lefty-rich 'pen is left with just Pedro Feliciano which probably won't cut it. Imagine what the late innings against the Phillies might look like if Feliciano were to miss time. Not to mention the fact that hes declined over the last 3 seasons.
Feliciano's ERA in the past 3 years has climbed from 2.09 to 3.09 to 4.05
And to make this analysis even more compelling it looks like Omar will be utilizing the "throw some junk against the wall and see what sticks" strategy to fill out this roster spot. And without any further ado, I give you the aptly named "junk"...
*#'s indicate splits against lefties over past 3 seasons
Casey Fossum - .304/.381/.463 over 270ab's
30yr old former (supplemental) first rounder in '99. His #'s are actually better against righties and its a fairly representative sample size.
Jon Switzer - .229/.298/.361 over 83 Majors ab's (.201 / 1.05 WHIP over 216 Minors ab's)
Another former top pick ('01 2nd round), this 29yr old spent '08 in the International League. Hes actually had some success in the minors and seems like he can handle lefties consistently. If I had to guess, I bet he wins out in ST and heads north with the team.
Tom Martin - .274/.359/.481 over 135ab's
This 38yr old former Met last pitched in '07, but his last (and only) good season was in '03. Era as a Met: 10.06
Valerio de los Santos - not enough Majors appearances (.238 / 1.11 WHIP over 136 Minors ab's)
Strange case. Hes 36, hasn't had significant time in the Majors since '05 but has had a couple of good seasons ('02: .211/.296/.332) which includes success against lefties. But that was more of the exception for him, not the rule.
Heriberto Ruelas - no professional statistics
Wow. 26yr old career Mexican Leaguer; view a summary of his hmm...strange career here. Looks like hes been pretty terrible since his debut in 2000 (though he was only 18) up until this winter (1.80 ERA in 35ip. 20 hits & 36 k's). Look for him on the Mexican WBC roster.
These guys are starters by trade and much less likely to fit the bill as LOOGYs:
Adam Bostick - (.276 / 1.45 WHIP over 450 Minors ab's)
Probably the most likely of the 3 starters to make the move into the pen with a career Minor League FIP of 4.62 and two straight seasons of getting hit hard in AAA. That's if he didn't have a 1.45 WHIP against lefties...
Michael Antonini - (.268 / 1.24 WHIP over 201 Minors ab's)
Jon Niese - (.240/ 1.27 WHIP over 325 Minors ab's)
Both Niese & Antonini are viewed as future options as starters, Niese in '09 & Antonini probably gets his shot in spring '10. We'd have to be pretty desperate for either of these guys to end up in the Mets pen going forward.
The FA pool of left-handed relievers still available but at this point unlikely options:
- Joe Beimel - .232/.274/.304 over 280 ab's
- Ron Villone - .194/.296/.329 over 258 ab's
- Dennys Reyes - .202/.265/.266 over 248 ab's
- Will Ohman - .194/.283./313 over 278 ab's
- Randy Flores - .297/.370/.427 over 239 ab's
- John Parrish - .298/.357/.450 over 151 ab's
- Tyler Johnson - .222/.313/.417 over 144 ab's