Saturday, November 26, 2005

Mets Miss Ryan Express

The most valuable reliever on the market has been scooped up by J.P. Ricciardi's Toronto Blue Jays. Bummer.

I'm not of the opinion that the closer "position" is of vital importance to a team with championship hopes, but dominant relievers are nice to have. Braden Looper, for all his velocity, never was one, but in 2004 he had a career year control-wise and did a very nice job.

If he had come back last year and shown that he had indeed taken his game to the proverbial next level, I wouldn't be anxiously following the Wagner-Ryan sweepstakes... but he didn't, so I am.

Ryan was the play, having been mayor of the next level for the past two years. He hasn't had the career as a closer that Wagner has, but it's hardly his fault that the Orioles kept going to Jorge Julio in the 9th for as long as they did. He's younger and healthier than Wagner, and his stuff is at least as vicious. He also gets bonus points for looking like the corn-fed Pittsburgh closer at the end of "The Natural."

It's not the end of the world, but even if Omar does manage to land Wagner, it's probably going to be with a much longer contract than would be prudent. I've said it before, I don't mind the idea of a Bell-Padilla 8th-9th. Middle relievers can pitch in the 9th. I've seen it happen time and again.

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