By Joyce Mandelkern
Here is my disclaimer - I don't do well with change. I like the status quo. I'm comfortable with things that work. Chad Bradford out of the bullpen worked. I'm no longer comfortable.
I am going to venture a guess that it wasn't the money but the length of the contract that made Omar balk (no pun intended). And I can't really argue that point. Three years is a long time for a closer who is essentially a specialist. Still, I'm worried. If worrying were an Olympic sport, I would gold medal in it.
So this would be my plan. Make sure your starting pitchers can take you past the 5th inning. Make sure they can take you past the 6th inning. I would love it if they could take you through 7 innings. Remember the good old days when starting pitchers actually pitched complete games and on short rest (now I'm showing my age). I digress. Last year our bullpen was our saving grace and I feel that a strong bullpen is an absolute must in this day and age. However, we MUST strengthen our starting rotation and not rely so heavily on our bullpen especially now that we are not bringing everyone back.
We must hope that Sanchez comes back as strong as before the accident. We must hope that Heilman makes peace with that fact that the Mets see him as a relief pitcher and that he will never be moved into the starting rotation as long as he wears the orange and blue (and black). And it goes without saying that Billy has to stop giving me heart failure every time he comes in to pitch.
I trust Omar. I know he has plan. We have arms in the minors that he can bring up. There are deals yet to be made and our bullpen is far from being solidified. The thing is that change can be scary and this particular change can have very scary ramifications.
And for the life of me I don't understand why anyone would want to leave the Mets to go to the Orioles! What was he thinking???? I know, I know! He was counting, not thinking!