FREE HEATH BELL!!!
I'm officially starting the FREE HEATH BELL!!! movement.
They've already risked $182 million. That's a big gamble. Trading Petit is smaller than that.
Although Petit has shiny numbers (10-3, 138 strikeouts in 95 innings in the minors in 2004), he's no Baez, who's saved 55 games the last two years.
"Petit's a good-looking prospect. He can pitch. But I'd be surprised the Devil Rays would trade Baez unless they got [more than that]," another AL executive said. "He's a first-division reliever."
If the Mets won't do that, they need to do something. If they do nothing, they'll watch their bullpen sabotage a promising thing.
Heyman suggests that Petit should be dealt and an AL executive thinks it should take more than Petit (I wonder if that AL exec was Chuck LaMar?). To me, one of the top Minor League pitchers would be more than enough, but a move that should not be made. Why even think of trading when all of the in house options were not examined first? To me, spending a lot of money this off season does not mean they should dump their prospects for middle relievers just yet.
Heath Bell could turn out to be a first rate set-up man, and he could not, but maybe he should be given a shot. Right now, Felix Heredia is usurping a roster spot and he is destined not to see any pressure situations. He is just sitting in the pen, waiting to be put into a blowout. The Mets had promising results from Roberto Hernandez early on with Heath Bell, Scott Strickland, Bartolome Fortunato, and Orber Moreno bullpen options now and later. I'm not ready to give up on what they have in house right now and panicking is not the right thing to do. Despite all the heat Aybar is taking and DeJean has took, I'm not so sure they won't be good working parts to a deep bullpen. Should they be the primary set up men? No but if they are your fourth and fifth options, then you are pretty deep.
The Mets have a young core. Keeping their top prospects, and one such as Petit who could be ready to pitch this year is vital. Giving away more youth when the Mets are trying to build a foundation for sustained winning may be not be the best idea. They got Beltran and Pedro to be a part of a winning team, but they will be around for longer than 2005. Keeping your eye on the long term prize is important. Brining up Heath Bell is step #1 to improving this bullpen without giving up anyone. Give the kid a shot and let him show everyone if he can handle it. The idiocy of even having this discussion with a potentially viable option in your hand is blatant.
Though far from a glamour name, the 27-year-old reliever projects to give the Mets a lift where they sorely need it — in the bullpen. Lacking big-name relievers to support closer Braden Looper, many have fretted that the Mets may struggle to bridge the gap between the starters and the ninth inning this season. Bell, along with fellow no-name Bartolome Fortunato, has the performance record to portend success — if used in regular roles.
If Baseball Prospectus put a middle reliever in their 5 players to watch in 2005, that says a lot about him. What does it hurt? I do not think there is any doubt he will be up at some time, but what are they waiting for? Find out what you have sooner rather than later so you can truly assess you needs, if any.
Bannister, who yielded just three hits and struck out six in six innings, improved to 2-0 this season and has yet to allow a run in 11 innings. He has struck out 15 and allowed just five hits and two walks in two games.