The New York Mets should create a new “relief rotation”. It could save their bullpen and create a new trend around baseball.
The New York Mets bullpen has blown two games in the last week, probably due to overuse. The Mets have used their bullpen a lot in 2018 with four relievers already over 10 appearances in the first 20 games of the season. It’s time for a change in thinking.
Jason Vargas is returning from the disabled list soon and when he returns, the starting rotation should look something like this:
1. Jacob deGrom/Robert Gsellman
2. Noah Syndergaard/Matt Harvey
3. Zack Wheeler/Steven Matz
4. Jason Vargas/Seth Lugo
Yes, they should go to a four-man rotation, but with long relievers attached to each starter. The long relievers have all been starters in their careers so they can go multiple innings. Each long man will get six to nine outs every appearance and only pitch when the starter they are paired with pitches, thus creating a “relief rotation”.
This would accomplish two things. It could take some pressure off of the starters, knowing they have a pitcher behind them who has started before and it also saves the bullpen. In this situation, the pitchers in the relief rotation are supposed to get six to nine outs, and since most starters in today’s game go six to seven innings in good starts, then the relief rotations finish the game, thus saving the bullpen.
The rest of the bullpen will only be used when necessary — in short starts or extra innings. Essentially, the Mets would use eight guys every four days and the other four or five relievers only when it’s absolutely necessary.
The guys who are struggling as starters — namely Steven Matz and Matt Harvey — could end up being more aggressive, not having to worry about pacing themselves. They could focus on getting through the batting order once rather than having to worry about an entire game. It would be a change in thinking, but one for the better for the New York Mets.