Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's a Set-Up: Mets Welcome New 8th Inning Guy

Back in the day, you'd never see a Major League team having a lavish, roll-out-the-red-carpet press conference for a newly acquired middle reliever.
But when that new addition is a closer one year removed from an All-Star season and his event follows one held for a superstar closer, it happens. Or, cynically, the Mets' introduction of new set-up man J.J. Putz could be seen as a way to appease and placate their disgruntled fans by saying, 'hey, we really did fix our awful bullpen!'
In any case, the tall standing short reliever with a surname that's Hungarian in origin and obscene in Yiddish made it to Flushing Wednesday, wearing a spanking new Mets pinstripe home jersey emblazoned with uniform No. 40. Mets fans can only hope the digits are the only thing Putz shares with the despised former Mets closer Braden Looper who failed miserably in that role earlier this decade.
Putz, who spent a significant portion of last year on the disabled list, throws a mean fastball in the mid-90s and a nastier split-fingered pitch that has neutralized American League hitters.
For more on Putz, click on this link to a New York Times story:
On paper, the duo of Putz and newly-signed closer Francisco Rodriguez looks strong.
Then again, baseball isn't played on paper.
So with the bullpen questions mostly answered, which starting pitchers should the Mets pursue?
Free agents like Derek Lowe, Randy Wolf or Oliver Perez?
Or ones like Bronson Arroyo who may be made available in a trade?
Weigh in now!

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