How the Mets Bullpen Has Turned Team Into Baseball’s Laughingstock

June 18, 2019 - 5:12 pm

(WFAN) -- Watching the Mets get destroyed by the Braves Monday night was essentially watching a minor league team face a major league team. The club was absolutely embarrassed in every facet of the game, and their atrocity of a bullpen put the icing on the cake. They fell to 8.5 games back in the NL East as the Braves continue their sizzling June.

A day after seeing Chris Flexen lose a game that was tied in the 8th inning, the Mets trotted out Jeurys Familia Monday night, who got rocked yet again. Then they put Drew Gagnon in, who isn't a major leaguer, to get clobbered as well. Everywhere you turn in the Mets bullpen, it gets ugly. Whether it's Gagnon, Flexen, Tyler Bashlor, Daniel Zamora (Bashlor and Zamora have already been sent to Syracuse), Wilmer Font, Robert Gsellman, Familia and now even their closer Edwin Diaz, they will find a way to lose games.

From the actual names the team has to choose from, to how the bullpen has performed, it's been a true horror story for the Mets once their starting pitchers exit the game. It starts up top with GM Brodie Van Wagenen, who failed miserably to address pitching depth. There is no starting pitching depth if anyone goes down, which has happened multiple times, most recently with Noah Syndergaard now on the IL. More importantly, he has put together a bullpen made up of minor leaguers and rejects. They all stink, just how Mickey Callaway described his team's performance Monday.

Hey Brodie -- trading for Brooks Pounders isn't fixing the problem. Getting Wilmer Font isn't addressing the issue. Tossing Chris Flexen out there for a millionth time to get rocked is handing your team losses. Continuing to throw Familia out there just to get torched is losing games, just like it did when he blew a lead and got hammered Friday night. None of it works.

Trying the likes of Flexen, Gagnon, Zamora, Font, Corey Oswalt and the rest of the All-American rejects has turned the Mets into baseball's biggest laughingstock.

The Mets have a 5.48 bullpen ERA, which is second-worst next to the Nationals' 6.27 bullpen ERA. They have the worst bullpen ERA in June. They have blown a MLB-leading 16 saves.

Mets using minor leaguers left and right:

Chris Flexen (10.80 ERA)

Drew Gagnon (7.65 ERA)

Tyler Bashlor (5.40 ERA)

Wilmer Font (4.98 ERA)

None of these options have worked. None of them have shown any consistency or ability to get outs. These are all triple-A/AAAA pitchers. They just aren't good enough to get big outs in the big leagues. They are guys that should only be pitching in mop-up duty, but yet have been getting the ball in big spots. It's even trickled down to Gsellman, who has a 4.89 ERA. Seth Lugo has been the only reliable reliever on the Mets with a team-leading 2.36 ERA.


Jeurys Familia - 7.81 ERA, still has 2 years, $22 million on contract after 2019


Jeurys Familia reacts in the dugout during the ninth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field.
USA Today Sports Images


The Mets thought they would have a terrific closer turned setup man. Instead, they signed quite possibly the worst reliever in baseball right now. No lead is safe, no deficit is safe and no tie game is safe when Familia enters. It's unwatchable. It's hard to just outright cut him with that contract, but Callaway can not continue trotting him out there. You have to either demote him to the minors, have him take some time away or maybe pray that some team will give you a low-level prospect to take him. That would take some kind of miracle and a whole lot of praying, because it ain't happening.

Edwin Diaz - 1.64 ERA on 5/28, 3.77 ERA on 6/18

Diaz has seen his ERA jump two runs over the past three weeks. He got demolished in Los Angeles, blowing a three-run lead and giving up four runs to lose it for the Mets. He then gave up three runs over two days in the suspended game against the Cardinals. He found a way to blow the game twice. That's never happened. Of course, Callaway made no sense using him in the 10th inning of a tie game the next day after he just gave up two runs to blow it the night before. We all know Callaway should have been canned by now. That's a whole other story that I wrote about weeks ago. Nothing has changed under his pitiful in-game managing.

It's as simple as this. The Mets need help. They can not keep going to the scrap heap hoping they catch lightning in a bottle. Pounders isn't turning into Mariano Rivera. Justin Wilson isn't going to come back off the IL and save the bullpen. This team can't go on the rest of the season having every team destroy them in the last three innings of games. The Mets are better than this. There's talent offensively and they have had good starting pitching (at times at least). They can't keep hoping there's an answer in-house or coming from the IL, because there isn't.

Van Wagenen has to go out and make a deal. He needs to go trade for someone like Will Smith (2.20 ERA), Greg Holland (1.99 ERA), Brad Hand (0.88 ERA) or Ken Giles (1.08 ERA). Those are all impact relievers that can at least be paired with Lugo to set up games for Diaz. Then you hope Wilson returns from the IL and lives up to the two-year, $10 million deal the Mets gave him in the offseason. If nothing is done, this season will continue to slip away and the Mets will finish below .500 and in 4th place yet again.

Summer isn't officially here yet and the Mets could already be finished by the time it arrives this weekend. The dog days are coming. It's your move, Brodie.

By Jake Brown