Sandy Alderson confirms Mets' interest in Joel Hanrahan
Sandy Alderson succinctly summed up his opinion of the Mets' bullpen:
"When we throw eight shutout innings" -- as the relievers did in Sunday's 14-inning victory over the Braves -- "you feel pretty good," the general manager said Monday afternoon. "When you give up four home runs in three innings, you don't feel as well."
Given that level of inconsistency, Alderson said the organization has explored acquiring more pitchers, and free-agent reliever Joel Hanrahan is an option. The Mets reportedly were among several teams that scouted the righthander, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, when he worked out last week.
"Bullpen has been an issue for us for a while," Alderson said. "[Hanrahan is] out there and available, so why shouldn't we take a look at him?"
Hanrahan, 32, pitched in nine games for the Red Sox last season, posting a 9.82 ERA before injuring the elbow and having surgery in May. If healthy, the former All-Star closer with the Pirates could bolster a Mets bullpen whose 4.55 ERA ranked 21st in the majors entering Monday night.
"We had seen him before and he's definitely made progress from the last time we saw him," Alderson said of Hanrahan, who had 36 saves and a 2.72 ERA for the Pirates in 2012 after recording 40 saves and a 1.83 ERA in 2011.
Alderson addressed the state of the bullpen while at the Harbor Healthcare Hospital in Manhattan, where he and Dillon Gee spoke to military veterans. Alderson is a former Marine Corps officer.
The Mets' bullpen roles have changed since closer Bobby Parnell suffered a partial tear of a ligament in his elbow and had Tommy John surgery this month. Jose Valverde struggled after replacing Parnell as closer, and on Sunday, manager Terry Collins said Kyle Farnsworth will assume that role.
"We'll see how it goes with Farnsworth," Alderson said, "but I like the variety of options. In my view, we've got a lot of guys who are sort of on par . . . It's really about having enough good pitchers in the bullpen, and I think we're moving in that direction."
Farnsworth, 38, got his first save as a Met in Monday night's 2-0 win over the Cardinals. He threw a scoreless 10th inning Sunday before Valverde pitched a scoreless 14th to earn the win in the Mets' 4-3 victory over the Braves.
"He was a completely different pitcher [Sunday] because he was throwing off-speed stuff instead of pumping fastballs all day," Alderson said of Valverde. "That's where he is in his career. That's where Farnsworth is. They can't just throw gas and expect to be successful."
Alderson also addressed the Ike Davis trade, which sent the first baseman to the Pirates on Friday for reliever Zack Thornton and a player to be named.
"We got into the first part of the season and got a look and sort of reconfirmed what we had thought for several months -- that we would try to move Ike and keep Lucas Duda," he said. "There wasn't any reason to continue the competition or the tension."