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Bullpen Help

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With the Mets' rumored intest in Cardinals' free agent reliever Julian Tavarez, let's take a look at some of the available arms -- including Tavarez -- and see whether any of these guys are worth pursuing.

Julian Tavarez: Tavarez turns 33 in May and has really only been a full-time relief pitcher for the past three seasons, having started almost exclusively prior to that. He spent the past two seasons with the Cardinals and is an extreme groundball pitcher. He has benefitted greatly from the Cardinals' exceptional infield defense and, while the left side of the Mets' infield is strong defensively, the right side -- depending upon what they eventually do at second base -- is not as competent.

Tavarez' walk rate is very good, allowing just 2.66 and 2.60 BB/9 in each of the past two seasons. His strikeout rates are not as good (6.72 K/9 and 6.44 K/9) but his homerun rates are outstanding (0.11 HR/9, 0.14 HR/9 and 0.88 HR/9 over the past three seasons). He is reportedly looking for a four-year deal, which is ridiculous. I wouldn't even give him three years, though that may be what it takes. It should be noted that Tavarez has a bit of a history of temper tantrums, though he seemed to keep them in check last year.

Rudy Seanez: Seanez turned 37 in October, but he had a phenomenal year in 2005 with the Padres, with peripheral rates of 12.53 K/9, 3.28 BB/9 and 0.60 HR/9. His carrer walk rate is 4.60, or just over one walk every two innings. In other words, not great. It's possible that he solved some control problems last year, though it's just as likely that his 2005 season was an outlier and he will return to his crummy walk rate in 2006. I'm a sucker for big strikeout guys, so I would definitely endorse giving Seanez a one-year deal with an option for 2007.

Antonio Alfonseca: Alfonseca will turn 34 in April, and it's not really clear why anyone would be that interested in him, save the fact that he has 12 fingers and 12 toes. His homerun rates have been very good, but he doesn't strikeout enough batters and he walks too many batters. There's no reason to believe that he'll be any better than Heath Bell or Juan Padilla, so I'd take a pass.

None of these pitchers were offered arbitration by their former clubs, so the Mets could sign any or all of them and not have to forfeit any draft picks