New York Mets

New York Mets reliever Antonio Bastardo hasn’t lived up to the hype.

When New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson inked Antonio Bastardo to a two-year deal, it appeared as if the team had solidified their bullpen.

Instead, Bastardo has been the lone disappointment in an otherwise over-achieving ‘pen.

Signed by New York in late January to a two-year deal worth $12MM, Bastardo was coming off of a trio of strong seasons between the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates.

In that span, he worked to a 3.18 ERA with 10.5 K/9, 4.4 BB/9 and 30.8 percent ground-ball rate in 164 innings of work. He held left-handed hitters to a paltry .167/.273/.295, and was plenty effective against righties, who batted only .204/.310/.314 against him.

Alderson, a candidate for National League Executive of the Year, had looked to guys such as Bastardo, Addison Reed and Hansel Robles to bridge the gap from the starting rotation to the team’s closer, Jeurys Familia.

But Bastardo has struggled immensely this season. With the exception of a tremendous outing in early May, in which the veteran reliever escaped a bases loaded jam in the eighth inning with nobody out, he’s been mediocre at best.

His ground-ball rate has increased to 37.5 percent, while right-handed opponents are now hitting .261/.404/.348 against him. He is utilizing his changeup more than ever before in his career, something problematic considering his prior struggles with the pitch.

With Josh Edgin tearing it up in the minors and Sean Gilmartin nearly perfect in the big leagues, one has to ponder the longevity of Bastardo’s tenure as a pitcher for the Mets’ major league team.

Just some numbers to contemplate: Bastardo has a 4.43 earned run average in 20.1 innings pitched. Edgin has a 0.00 earned run average in 7.2 innings pitched for the Las Vegas 51s (PCL). Gilmartin had a zero earned run average in five innings during a brief stint with the Amazin’s.

Bastardo’s got some competition.

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Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.