Tag: Blaine Boyer

New York Mets Try To Get Creative With Final Bullpen Spot

It appears we have a new twist in the race for the final spot in the New York Mets bullpen.

After speculation for the past few weeks about who will get the coveted 25th spot on the Mets roster between right-handers Blaine Boyer and Jason Isringhausen, the Mets are reportedly pulling out all the stops in an attempt to keep both of them.

According to David Waldstein of the New York Times, the Mets have asked Jason Isringhausen to remain in Port St. Lucie for extended spring training for a week or two in order to build more arm strength.

Isringhausen has not pitched more than 43 innings in a season since 2007, and the Mets want reassurance that his arm will be durable enough to last a full season if they bring him north.

Isringhausen had reportedly been against the idea of staying back in extended spring training but is considering the possibility. Although he was signed to a minor-league deal after a tryout, he will either retire or ask for his release if the Mets attempt to send him to Triple-A Buffalo.

The 38-year-old righty has been one of the best stories in camp, as he attempts to make a comeback from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

If Izzy accepts the Mets idea to stay back for a week or so, that means the Mets will be able to carry an extra pitcher on their active roster when they break camp and begin the regular season on April 1st.

That could very well mean that Blaine Boyer is safe, and the Mets will delay their decision on who to keep for at least another week, hoping the surplus sorts itself out.

However, this story has one more M. Night Shyamalan twist. 

Sources also say that the Mets have had internal discussions about asking Boyer to accept a minor-league assignment so they can stash him in the minors and open up a roster spot for Manny Acosta.

The Mets have not yet formally asked Boyer to do this, but it would be a bold move. Boyer has pitched lights out all spring, but can opt out of his contract on Thursday and become a free agent.

If the Mets want to keep Boyer, they either have to give him the final bullpen spot or take a big risk and call Boyer’s bluff that he won’t opt out and try to latch on with another team after Opening Day.

Personally, I think it would be somewhat of a heist if the Mets are able to stash Boyer in the minor leagues and keep him waiting in the wings as depth. He’s pitched like a major league reliever, and I don’t think it’s far-fetched that he could find another team immediately.

Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog thinks that the Mets might be justified in asking Boyer to stick around:

“As for Boyer, let’s be honest, he can leave, but where is he going? At this point, after weeks of camp, most teams likely have their rosters set, or at least have a plan and people in place. So, if he leaves, he’s likely walking in to the exact same situation he’s in now. At least here, with the Mets, he knows they are fans of his, and know what he’s about.”

I’ll say this: There’s no harm in asking. I’d expect the Mets to speak with Boyer as early as Tuesday morning to discuss their plans with him.

If Boyer accepts a minor-league assignment, that would allow the Mets to hold onto right-hander Manny Acosta, who is out of options and would be exposed to waivers if he does not make the team.

I have contended all spring that Acosta would likely not make the team, and the Mets evidently do not think he’ll clear waivers—otherwise, they would have placed him on waivers earlier today with Nick Evans, Luis Hernandez and Pat Misch.

If Boyer does accept a minor-league assignment and Isringhausen stays behind in extended spring training, that would allow the Mets to keep all three of them, at least for another week, as Isringhausen fine-tunes his game.

The Mets clearly like Izzy, as he would bring experience and leadership to the table. The former two-time All-Star closer has looked reborn this spring, even touching 92 mph in his last outing.

Buckle your seatbelts Mets fans—this is about to get crazy. Or at least, as crazy as a battle for the final bullpen spot on a major league baseball team could get.


You can read more Mets news, notes and analysis on TheSheaFaithful.com, and you can follow me on Twitter @metsjetsnets88.

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New York Mets: Which Reliever Will Capture the Last Spot in the Bullpen?

For the upcoming 2011 season the Mets have decided to carry seven relievers in the bullpen.  With only a few days left until opening day the Mets have six of the spots secured by Francisco Rodriguez, Taylor Buchholz, Bobby Parnell, Tim Byrdak, D.J. Carrasco and Pedro Beato.

The competition for the final spot has seemingly become a two-headed race between the former All-Star closer Jason Isringhausen and the journey man reliever Blaine Boyer

Before writing this I was dead set on the Mets bringing on Izzy, but now I am not so sure.  Both pitchers didn’t make it any easier by throwing a scoreless inning in today’s game against the Cardinals.

One major factor Izzy has over Boyer is the experience. 

Izzy has pitched in the playoffs on five different occasions even making one World Series appearance in 2004.  In postseason play Izzy has logged 26.2 inning and gone 1-1 with 11 saves in 12 opportunities in 23 games with a flashy 2.36 ERA. 

Experience is one thing you can not teach to someone and Izzy has already felt and succeeded in those moments when it feels like the weight of the world is one your shoulders, while Boyer has yet to experience postseason play.

Even with all his credentials most people, as I know I did, did not think too much of the move when the Mets invited Izzy to spring training. I saw just another older injury-riddled player trying to get lucky and latch on to a team. 

Izzy has shut up all the doubters pitching to the tune of a 1.29 ERA despite struggling with his command, walking three and striking out just three.  His success is mostly due to giving up just two hits. 

The negative side of his spring, Izzy has already had to be shut down briefly with a sore elbow. Not a good for someone who has already undergone three Tommy John surgeries.

His counterpart, the 29-year-old Blaine Boyer, was brought into camp on a minor league contract with an invite to spring training after a mediocre season with the Diamondbacks who had claimed him off waivers the year before. 

Despite the low strikeout totals Boyer is equipped with a nice fastball that averages 94 MPH that enables him to get a lot of ground balls averaging 56 percent GB for his career and 66 percent last year.  If you are looking for a reliever to come in and try and get that ground ball double play that the Mets have been missing since Chad Bradford then Boyer is your guy. 

Boyer has shown a lot this spring giving up just one run in 10 innings for a 0.90 ERA while walking three and striking out seven.  While he has shown good command so far in spring, over the last two seasons he has a 49:58 K:BB. That’s not a good number for someone coming out of the pen who could come in with runners on base and need to get a big out.

Isringhausen has already stated he will not accept a minor league assignment so the Mets will lose him if he does not make the team.  On the other hand Boyer has an opt out clause in his contract for Thursday.  This essentially means if he does not make the team he has the opportunity to opt out instead of going to the minor leagues.  The odds are the Mets are going to lose the pitcher who does not make the team.

While both pitchers have pitched admirably, if I was Sandy Alderson I would be taking the guy who has been around the block a few times with me on opening day.  Marcel projections have Boyer pegged to pitched slightly better in 2011, but it is the intangibles that Izzy brings that give him the edge. 

It is a bit of a risk to take Izzy because his elbow could give out any day now, but it’s a risk that has a good enough of a reward for me to take.  After the way Boyer has pitched, I would not be disappointed if the Mets decide to give him the last spot, however, he is also a talent that I think could be replaced with a AAA call up or a pitcher who is DFA.  This is a great position for the Mets to be in having too many arms for the pen after trying to piece pens together for the last couple of years.  And come on, who wouldn’t love to see Izzy succeed in a Mets uni after all these years?

//**If you liked this article find more like it at Mini Mets Pipeline**\\

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