Dellin Betances, Seth Lugo, Edwin Diaz
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images, AP Photo

The New York Mets 2020 bullpen remains incredibly unproven despite the addition of former Yankee Dellin Betances.

Rich Mancuso

“We believe that a healthy and dominant Dellin (Betances), combined with Edwin Diaz and Seth Lugo and Justin Wilson, Jeurys Familia, Brad Bach, Robert Gsellman, this collective group has the potential to be one of the best bullpens in baseball.”

Yes, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen will look back at those words in August. By then, we should know if this signing of a cross-town arm makes the New York Mets bullpen one of the best in baseball.

And, yes, on paper, Dellin Betances with that component does look good. The revamped bullpen is defined to be impressive. If healthy and effective, this has the makings of a lethal group beyond the outfield.

That is the question… how lethal, especially coming off a terrible bullpen campaign?  After a failure out of the pen last year, all of this looks good and needs to be determined.

So, don’t jump the gun this early in the game with six weeks or so before pitchers and catchers report to spring training. Betances, though, will be one of those pitchers reporting to Port St. Lucie, Florida.

He said he is ready, as Betances said Thursday at his introductory Citi Field press conference.

Van Wagenen said Thursday at Citi Field, “Our expectation is he should be ready to go. I don’t think there will be any restrictions once we get to spring training.”

Betances, though, could still be a question and perhaps a risk. He is rebounding from a right-shoulder injury and partial Achilles’ tendon tear.

After a 60-day stint on the injured list, his Sept. 15 season debut in the Bronx with the Yankees was done with the low-grade lat strain.

So most of the revamping has been done, unless Brodie comes up with another creative move, and anything is possible with this GM. We have come to expect something else, possibly another outfielder or rumors of a move to acquire Colorado Rockies’ Nolan Arrenado.

Though, the prevailing opinion is the offseason mission was accomplished with a revamp of the pen.

Said Brodie Thursday,” This signing was intended to blow the cover off our ceiling.”

So where does this Mets bullpen stand? Is this, as Brodie says, one of the best bullpens in baseball?

To begin, Diaz needs to have that resurgence and saving 57 games as he accomplished as a Mariner in 2018 is not expected. Betances, as an addition, does add options for rookie manager Carlos Beltran.

Betances has closed games with success. He has the strikeout ability, a dominant fastball and filthy slider, and could be moved into the closer role (if needed).

Betances has posted a 2.36 career ERA (100 earned runs/381.2 innings) with 36 saves and 621 strikeouts in 358 major league games with the Yankees. Betances also established a record with 100 strikeouts or more in five consecutive seasons with the Yankees.

The Mets did not have that option last season. Familia was no better. The bullpen blew over 20 games, most attributed to Diaz, an ERA of 5.59 in 66 games and seven blown saves.

He was partly a reason the Mets came up short in their late-season run to the postseason.

The bullpen, overall, finished 21st in save percentage, 58.46 percent.

Pete Alonso, LFGM T-Shirt

Seth Lugo got the role as the late-inning reliever and that worked for then-manager Mickey Callaway. And, he is also an important piece of this bullpen that makes it better.

Brad Bach and Justin Wilson, two other pieces, also need to be factored into the equation. Bach, with the Cubs and Mets last season, pitched to a 5.47 ERA. Wilson, a left-handed specialist, was, for the most part, reliable.

So there is potential. The dominance simply has to be proven.

One of the best in baseball, again, it needs to be proven. By no means is this group the “best in baseball,”l but with that potential and with Betances, the key addition, you need to see where this goes before jumping to the conclusion.

Brodie Van Wagenen is confident and made that certain Thursday. It was his statement that made Mets fans believe they have one of the best pens in baseball.

Apparently, Betances saw his former teammate and manager Carlos Beltran as a piece to staying home in New York. He did his homework and Brodie was convinced.

“He didn’t want to just reestablish himself,” Van Wagenen said about Betances. “He didn’t just want to go out and perform his normal job. He wanted to dominate and he expressed that very clearly.”

Dominance is what will make this Mets bullpen one of the best in the game.  But there is a lot to prove, because, Betances’s former team in the Bronx across town will say otherwise.

I’ve said it before and will say it again: one of the top bullpens in baseball has a chance to come to fruition, and that answer will come soon or in those “Dog Days Of August.”

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