So with K-Rod barely over his tour of Citi Field, he gets a sidekick: J.J. Putz, whose name is pronounced “puts.” As in “puts down Phillie farragos, Brave brouhahas, Marlin mischief and Nat nastiness in the eighth.”
Unless he screws up, in which case it'll be pronounced the way I assumed it was pronounced until I first saw him on national TV.
The downside? It's that Shawn Green is back. Ha ha, no, it's SEAN Green we get, a sinkerballing righty who was a bridge to Putz last year for a while before both he and Putz seemed to lose their way. (In other words, they both got demoted a rank.) Green II is a middle reliever; so we'll throw him against the wall of the season with the rest of the bullpen spaghetti and hope he sticks. Oh, and from the Indians we got Jeremy Reed, a so-far-failed outfield prospect.
Gone are Aaron Heilman, Endy Chavez and Joe Smith, along with brief Met Jason Vargas, positionless now-not-a-future-Met Mike Carp and two minor-leaguers, Maikel Cleto and Ezequiel Carrera.
A change of scenery and simple regression to the mean will probably mean a much better year for Heilman, and may the baseball gods bless him for it. While the stats said he'd be better just by pitching his way out of statistical noise, everything you know about New York and New York fans suggested that too many bad things had happened for him to ever get a chance to pitch without spectator noise. Heilman is far, far better off — for his own sake as much as ours — as somebody else's problem or, quite possibly, somebody else's nice comeback story.
Endy? If I ever cross paths with him in a bar I'll of course buy him a beer and ask how he ever jumped that high, but as a hitter he was a heck of a defensive outfielder.
Joe Smith, like Sean Green, is a middle reliever.
K-Rod's strikeouts have declined and Putz stumbled through injuries last year, true. But come Opening Day K-Rod will be 27 and Putz will be 31. In the last two years they've accounted for 152 saves. The bullpen killed us in '08; now, it would take a remarkably pessimistic Met fan to deny it's been resurrected.
K-Rod and Putz won't serve as our missing starting pitchers, man the two corner outfield spots and kidnap Luis Castillo. But it's a heck of a start, ain't it? We should remember that even with this upgrade, our bullpen will cause us sleepless nights. That's what bullpens do. But for tonight, at least, we can sleep more soundly.