That Padres team had some similarities to the current Mets team. Adrian Gonzalez (.298, 31, 101) was by far their best offensive player just like David Wright is for this Mets team. Though the Dillon Gee injury hurts the Mets now, both teams are and were carried by their starting pitching. The Padres had three starters, Clayton Richard (14-9, 3.75), Jon Garland (14-12, 3.47) and Mat Latos (14-10. 3.92) win 14 games for them while the Mets should expect at least the same from RA Dickey, Johan Santana and Jon Niese. (The fact that Dickey has 12 wins to this point raises the bar higher for the amount of wins he should finish with.) The Padres also got some production from the bottom of their rotation led by contributions from Wade LeBlanc (8-12, 4.25) and Kevin Correia (10-10, 5.40). They got some important starts from Chris Young and Tim Stauffer, similar to how the Mets will need to get some important starts from Matt Harvey, Miguel Batista and perhaps another starter down the stretch.
Offensively, the current Mets have more to offer. They have power hitters such as Ike Davis and Lucas Duda that the Padres did not have. The 2010 Padres, outside of Gonzalez, were led in HR by Wil Venable's 13 and RBIs by Chase Headley's 58. It is likely, barring a disaster or injury, that Davis and Duda should easily surplant those numbers. So, if the Mets starting pitching could be on par with the Padres of then and the Mets may have a better offensive team, they should do what they can to change the glaring difference between these two teams, THE BULLPEN!
San Diego had a classic bullpen that is better than people even give it credit for. Everybody knows about the 2010 version of Heath Bell (6-1, 47 saves, 1.93) and the huge seasons from Mike Adams (4-1, 1.76) and Luke Gregorson (4-7, 3.22 in 80 games). Joe Thatcher was their lefty specialist and was awesome, going 1-0, 1.29 in 65 games, but it did not stop there. Ryan Webb (3-1, 2.90, 54 games) and Ernesto Frieri (1-1, 1.71, 33) made major contributions. Add in Edwin Mujica (2-1, 3.62, 59) and Stauffer (6-5, 1.85, 32 games, 7 starts) and the Padres went 8 deep with relievers performing at a quality level.
If the Mets are going to have any chance of matching the 2010 Padres (or make it to the postseason), they have to make upgrading the bullpen the top priority. Tim Byrdak and Bobby Parnell are constants and Frank Francisco should be ok when he gets back. But, Francisco has had his issues and Parnell is no money in the bank. Mets fans would sign up for the three of them to be consistent, but thats unlikely to happen. Even if it did, thats only three pitchers in a seven men bullpen that could be counted on, if you call it that. Jon Rauch has pitched better lately, but Ramon Ramirez has not gotten the job done. Perhaps the Mets could get a big second half from Pedro Beato and Josh Edgin. But they still need to add two quality arms to this staff, and it needs to happen soon.
If I could make the call, I would start with Kansas City's Jonathan Broxton. He could come in here and be the undisputed closer. But one move is not going to change the disaster that is this bullpen. They will have to make an additional move, such as Oakland's Grant Balfour, to stabilize things. Once two dependable relievers are added, the rest could work itself out. The team should not worry about roster spots. Batista may be the first one out, followed by Ramirez, then Rauch. If that makes the pen better, so be it. The looks of a pen that starts with Broxton as the closer, followed by Francisco, Parnell, Balfour, Byrdak and two of the better pitching others such as Beato, Edgin, Rauch, Ramirez, Batista, and even Jenrry Mejia will give the team the chance it does not have now.
The bullpen has been the team's achilles heal over the past several seasons dating back to 2008. If the organization does not get this now, they never will. Sandy Alderson owes it to the team that has been overperforming and if he does not, it will be a slap in the face to his players. Not to mention the fans, who are starting to buy in to the way this team plays. If the bullpen is not improved, it will be another long summer and a second half that Mets fans are getting used to seeing.