Results tagged ‘ Frank Francisco ’

Frank Franc or Bust?

“We want Rauch! We want Rauch!”

Frank Francisco stepped to the pitcher’s mound in the top of the ninth inning only to be bombarded by boos and even demands that Terry Collins replace him with Jon Rauch. But Terry has said that he is sticking with Francisco as his closer.

“He wanted to be in there bad tonight,” Collins said after the game, “I thought I should give him that opportunity.”

While Francisco did go on to record his ninth save of the season, he was not able to preserve Miguel Batista’s shut out as he gave up a run, two hits, and a walk in his outing last night. Francisco’s numbers haven’t helped his case either: 14 ER in 14.2 innings pitched and that 8.59 ERA don’t look pretty compared to closers throughout the league. But then again, 14 closers have lost their jobs this season due to ineffectiveness.

Francisco is just the latest in a lineup of Mets closers that have made fans squirm in their seats during the ninth inning. Even two of the game’s greatest left-handed closers, John Franco and Billy Wagner were unable to keep fans from covering their eyes during the ninth. Do I even mention Armando Benitez, Frankie Rodriguez and the Bobby Parnell experiment of late 2011?

This offseason, Sandy Alderson’s main priority was revamping the bullpen. The offensive pieces, whether we liked it or not, were all there. The starting pitching was there. So Sandy turned to the bullpen, depleted by the trade of K-Rod, who had been doing some good work for the Mets, but not without typical Mets cringe-worthy ninth inning moments. We acquired Ramon Ramirez from the Giants, and signed Rauch and Francisco with the spending money that ownership and the Mets provided for payroll. And then they went quiet for three months. Sure, we signed a few players to minor league contracts, but we didn’t make a big splash by magically coming up with the money to re-sign Jose Reyes, or get another starter like Mark Buerhle.

We signed two closers in Francisco and Rauch, but Rauch has mainly been relegated to eighth inning work. There are other options in our bullpen, including Rauch, Parnell, Ramirez, Manny Acosta, and even Tim Byrdak. But it looks like Terry is going to continue to go to Francisco in ninth inning save situations, whether we like it or not. Here’s an iea; maybe if the Mets took a four run lead into the ninth, Frank Franc wouldn’t have to be used for the save. Just a thought. Let’s go Mets.

A Baseball Chick’s Scouting Report: Bullpen

Welcome back to another happy installment of this baseball chick’s scouting report! In honor of John Franco, we take a look at the projected 2012 Mets bullpen. Some of these guys might make the bullpen, and some might not. But they’re projected to be there, so we might as well take a look at what we’ve got.

Manny Acosta: In my opinion, after the Mets traded Fransisco Rodriguez, Manny Acosta was the most reliable reliever we had. We saw him more in the 8th/9th inning, but this season, I’m looking to see Acosta more in the 7th/8th inning with the addition of Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch. Acosta has pitched more innings for every year he’s been a Met; I just hope Terry doesn’t pull a Jerry Manuel and burn him out.

Pedro Beato: Beato was a Rule 5 pick who had to stay on the big league roster last season, but he earned his spot. Last season, Beato didn’t give up an earned run until the first Subway Series. Rumors swirled this offseason that Beato might crack the rotation. With all of our farm fresh talent, I see Beato staying in the bullpen, maybe as a long reliever, maybe as a set up guy. That’s TC’s decision to make this spring.

Tim Byrdak: With Jason Isringhausen probably not coming back, Tim Byrdak becomes the veteran reliever in the bullpen. Last season, Byrdak compiled a 2-1 record and a 3.82 ERA in 37.2 innings pitched. Byrdak might once again be a situational reliever, pitching to one or two hitters and then coming out. But apparantly, he’s the funniest guy on the team so he can stay.

D.J. Carrasco: In the 2010 offseason, D.J. Carrasco was the only player to recieve a multi-year contract from Sandy Alderson. He responds with the worst season of his career (1-3, 6.02 ERA in 49.1 IP). Going into the 2012 season, I figure Carrasco will have to fight for a spot in the bullpen, but at the same time, I don’t see the Mets wasting the rest of Carrasco’s contract by benching him or sending him down to the minors. Carrasco doesn’t have the most to prove, but he’s got 2.5 million reasons to get his act together.

Frank Francisco: In one of our few moves this offseason, the Mets signed Frank Francisco to a 2-year contract. Francisco fills the closer’s hole that K-Rod and his swinging fists left. Last season for Toronto, Francisco compiled a 1-4 record with a 3.55 ERA and 17 games saved. Considering he was playing for another hard luck team in the Blue Jays, I’m intrigued. I still think Terry might platoon between Francisco and Jon Rauch in the 9th, but will the team’s luck in the 9th inning change?

Daniel Herrera: Herrera cleared waivers and remained with the Mets as a non-roster invitee to spring training. He only played 2 games for the Brewers in 2011 before he became the player to be named later that we got for K-Rod. In 16 games as a Met last season, Herrera pitched 8 innings and allowed 1 run. I see Herrera staring off in AAA, but he could come up to the Mets if someone gets hurt, or, quite frankly, sucks.

Bobby Parnell: If Bobby Parnell never closes a game for the Mets again, I will be a happy camper. Just because he has a 100 MPH fastball, it doesn’t mean he’s a closer. He appeared in 60 games last season. He had 12 save opportunities and blew half of them. Parnell, at best, is a situational reliever. When the team is ahead. By a lot.

Ramon Ramirez: The Mets acquired Ramon Ramirez as part of the deal for Angel Pagan. To Mets fans, he’s better known as the guy who punched Shane Victorino to start the Phillies/Giants fight. But he’s also a pretty decent reliever, compiling a 3-3 record with a 2.62 ERA in 66 games, 4 of those games counting as saves. And maybe he’ll provide some desperately needed fire in the clubhouse.

Jon Rauch: Jon Rauch is best remembered by Mets fans as a reliever for the Expos/Nationals. But truth is, Rauch is playing for his sixth different team. He’s had some good years statistically and some bad years, his best year being with the Nationals in 2008. Last season for Toronto, Rauch had a 5-4 record with a 4.85 ERA in 52 innings pitched. So it seems like Rauch and Frncisco will be platoon mates again. Hooray for reunions!

Josh Stinson: Besides from Daniel Herrera, Josh Stinson is the other guy I see starting the season in the minors, only because he has options. Last season for the Mets, Stinson had a 6.92 ERA in 13 innings pitched. The upside with Stinson is that he’s only 23-years-old and he can greatly improve on those numbers. Plus, I always like to pull for a guy who is a homegrown product. Maybe he’ll get another Spetember call up. Maybe he won’t. That’s baseball.

And there you have it folks! Our 2012 bullpen doesn’t look that bad on paper. It’s improved enough to not be the giant gaping flaw that we have. Next week, I take a look at our projected bench players and mourn the loss of Nick Evans. I need a new milk carton boy and it might come from this group.

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