The New York Mets are in the midst of one of the worst ruts of the season, as they've won just two times in their past 11 games.
It's difficult to peg the struggles on one aspect: without Carlos Beltran, the lineup is pretty weak, and they've struggled to put big run numbers on the board. Yet, when they have scored a considerable amount, it hasn't been enough because the bullpen has struggled mightily lately. See: the 11-9 loss on Saturday, and Sunday's loss, after being stymied by Yovani Gallardo for six innings, Lucas Duda knots the game up at 2 with a two-run home run. But the good feelings of a rally were quickly smothered as the bullpen allowed four runs combined in the eighth and ninth innings.
So maybe that's why team officials and coach Terry Collins asked Mike Pelfrey if he'd be willing to be the closer next year. The New York Daily News' Andy Martino was the first to report the idea.
According to Martino, Pelfrey responded with "absolutely."
But the one person in the front office who has to give the final OK in order for such a roster move to take place, Sandy Alderson, is not a fan of the proposal.
Regardless of whether it takes place or not (and it appears that it will not), the fact this even came up is very telling. Pelfrey has flopped this season as the team's de facto No. 1 starter, with a 4.61 ERA and 1.41 WHIP across 154 1/3 innings. He has 85 strikeouts and a 6-10 record. His 4.56 FIP and 4.45 xFIP aren't too optimistic, either. In fact, his xFIP's over the past four years have been about what his mark is this season.
He has a $6 million team option that will most likely be picked up, and for a 28-year-old to-be, that's not entirely too much. And also, as Martino notes, Pelfrey has been durable, and will have started 30 or more games in four straight seasons. Over those four years, he hasn't pitched less than 184 1/3 innings, though with his struggles this season, it remains to be seen if he'll be able to reach that mark.
The other reason this comes is obviously because of the bullpen's struggles. Martino says that since July 25, a span of 26 games, the bullpen has a 5.95 ERA. And Pelfrey came out of the bullpen Aug. 16 for one batter and was firing mid-90s fastballs, so it was something for the team to dream on.
Add in the fact that Pedro Beato appears worn down, and fireballer Bobby Parnell can't seen to figure out a way to harness his stuff, and this was an interesting proposition.
To be completely honest, i'm not sure there's a better Mike Pelfrey out there. Alderson is a smart man, and should realize the same by watching him on the mound (a sub-5 K/9 mark) and looking at the stats. It's obvious, though, that he realizes Pelfrey's value comes from his health -- and his ability to be on the hill every five days.
If there's one thing that's for certain: the Mets' bullpen will certainly look different next season.