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Is Chad Bradford Gone?

Mike SteffanosTuesday, November 28, 2006
By Mike Steffanos


On ESPN.com, Buster Olney is citing reports out of Baltimore that the O's and reliever Chad Bradford are close to a 3-year deal that would, of course, remove Bradford's sidearm funk from the bullpen equation for 2007. This rumor comes the day after we've heard that the Mets and Bradford might be close on a 2-year deal. Baltimore is spending a lot of money on their bullpen so far this offseason, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if Jim Duquette wasn't committed to trying to hurt the Mets almost as much now as he did when he was the GM.

All jokes aside, losing Chad Bradford would certainly be a blow to the Mets terrific bullpen, but I don't think it's the end of the world. I freely admit that I wanted him to stay in New York for a couple more seasons. With the uncertainty of Duaner Sanchez returning from a pretty serious injury, it would have been nice to have Bradford's stabilizing influence. He may not be tremendously effective against lefties, and doesn't blow you away with his stuff, but he never seems to lose his composure out there on the mound - which I'm sure contributed significantly to his success at stranding baserunners.

The Mets have a kid in their system named Joe Smith who is the heir apparent to Bradford's sidearm funk. He was drafted in the third round last year, and pitched in Brooklyn for a while before the Mets pushed him up to Double-A Binghamton. He only has 32 innings as a pro, however, and is still learning the pro game. Although he could be one to watch for later in the season or in 2008, the Mets generally don't rush their prospects, and that's usually a good thing.

The Mets will definitely retain the services of closer Billy Wagner, lefty Pedro Feliciano, and the returning Duaner Sanchez. Juan Padilla, who was effective in 2005, is returning from injury. Everything else is somewhat of a crapshoot, although if the Mets feel that Aaron Heilman can accept another year in the bullpen I would think he would most surely be back. While I feel confident that one of Rick Peterson's strengths is coaxing solid years out of relievers, it would be nice if the Mets could have kept Bradford -- especially with all of the questions concerning their starters. Having said that, Bradford is a 31-year-old righty specialist, and the Mets haven't shown the inclination to go the route that the Orioles are taking and overpay for relief pitchers. You can't blame Chad for taking care of his family by accepting the best deal, but I'm not going to fault Minaya and company for letting him go, either.

Speaking of Starters
I mentioned a while back why I feel the Mets will not depend on their young starters for large inning contributions in 2007. It's important not to push developing young pitchers significantly past the workloads they have achieved in their short careers. SI.com's Tom Verducci has a long piece on this phenomenon on-line describing what he calls the "Year-After Effect":

It's based on a general rule of thumb among executives and pitching coaches: young pitchers should not have their innings workload increased by more than 25 or 30 innings per year. It's the same principle as training for a marathon; you get to 26.1 miles incrementally, not by jumping directly from a 10K. The body cannot easily withstand being pushed so far behind its previous capacity for work, at least not without consequences. Typically, those consequences occur the next season, not the year in which the body is pushed.

When I've looked at major league pitchers 25-and-younger who were pushed 30 or more innings beyond their previous season (or, in cases such as injury-shortened years, their previous pro high), I've been amazed how often those pitchers broke down with a serious injury the next season or took a major step backward in their development. (The season total includes all innings in the minors, majors and postseason. )

There is quite a bit of evidence that backs up this theory, and it's a good part f the reason why I would be more in favor of Mike Pelfrey and Phil Humber receiving mid-season call-ups rather than earning a rotation spot out of spring training.

A Good Cause
For the rest of you animal lovers out there, Hot Foot's Anthony De Rosa has some information up on what looks to be a very worthy cause.

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (8)

Is your picture gone? It was becoming a logo, like Buster Brown Shoes. A picture of Buster Brown and his dog Tide, with their jingle " Hi thats my dog Tide he lives in the shoe I'm Buster Brown look for me in there too". I am showing my age and it's to slow in baseball right now. Help me please with some rumors or trades.

I took it off the main pages, as I am no longer the sole writer of the blog, but if you look at the individual stories that I write it's there.

I haven't heard many trade rumors, but I think that will start heating up with the winter meetings taking place next week.

Mike:

1. Maybe its the new slant but this was a great post. I welcome your openess and hope to contibute at some point. I think you have broken new ground, but you may end up with more work and need a co-chair.

2. On Bradford . Bye and Thanks. Chad has left and with that comes two compensation picks (sandwich), from which pool a guy named Wright (and Jay Payton) once emerged. (!!!!!!!!). As I said earlier, Omar keeps finding arms. He will again. As Hotfoot(?) details Chad was the 27th most valuable reliever. Frankly though he was a huge asset (depth) he was not Denis Cook or Turk Wendell.

b. To nominate his replacement I lean to Joe Borowski, Tanyon Sturtze and Octavio Dotel.

3. On Humber/Pelfrey: Yes thats why I dont even advocate AAA, but the BP where Humber especially can build up arm strength and be fresher late and Pelfrey can work on his 3rd/4th pitches. I know you disagree...but being on the 40 man roster limits Omar's options in other signings..so they NEED to be options. As such if they can develop from the pen why not? Other arms that have come along similarly include Schilling. Others that started then relieved...Eck, Wagner, Izzy (& Heilman). If the price keeps going up Omar will HAVE to entertain this option.. (If he hasnt already).

He hasn't definitely left yet, Ed, although it seems likely if he really got a 3-year deal from J. Duke.

I've heard Borowski inists on being a closer (or being paid like one, anyway). Sturtze and Dotel both have to prove health, but a 1-year deal with incentives works for me on either.

I worry about Pelfrey relieving because he doesn't have major league off-speed stuff yet. I could see Humber in that role, however, and maybe even Alay Soler.

Looks like that 3yrs/10.5M was too good to pass up. I dont think J. Duke is hitting the HR, but he IS shortening the game but he needs better relivers. He is overpaying (X3) for Baez and Brad. The only worthy guy in the bunch is Walker.

I like Borowski. He has been lights out for yrs whether for the Cubs or Fish.

I REALLY like Pelfrey as a reliver. The reason is you can get by with one pitch never mind two. Its that 2nd/3rd time thru the order that gets you. Pelfrey was very successfull in his early innings (ala Aaron). He got into the most trouble in the 4th/5th.
Because the O's have only one 1st rnd pick (high)we wont get it. But, we will get a sandwich, no matter what.


I understand that Pelfrey is only going to need 2 pitches to relieve, but when will he develop the off-speed pitches he needs to start? He could get by throwing 85% fastballs and 15% sliders in the 'pen, but that's not going to help him down the road. He could be a top-of-the-rotation starter someday, but needs to throw all of his pitches to get there. That's why I think he needs to be a starter in New Orleans. Humber, on the other hand, already has all the pitches, and starting out as a reliever wouldn't hurt his development as much. Same with Soler, who probably is a reliever, anyway.

Mets will get a 2nd or 3rd round pick from Baltimore plus the sandwich pick.

Mike- I am really upset over letting Bradford go, he was a proven guy who can eat up the middle innings 98% of the time without incident.
How many quality middle relievers are there out there? What a bone head play letting go to Baltimore.

I hear you, Shari, but I can't really blame them for not giving Bradford 3 years. The market is just crazy right now.

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