Of all the places to spend money on a baseball roster, the bullpen offers the least bang for your buck. Ask the Yankees how much big money deals for LaTroy Hawkins, Kyle Farnsworth and Steve Karsay helped them in the last decade compared to the bargain pen that did such good work this summer. Good relief pitching is always sought but, more often than not, the best bullpens are comprised of kids, retreads and modestly priced relievers who gel into a successful unit.
You could ask the Mets how well Scott Schoenweis has worked out, if you want to expand the discussion. For whatever reason, however, the Mets aren't learning from history. Newsday reports today that the Mets, unhappy with the price tags affixed to Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes, are looking into trading for relief help. Names like Huston Street and J.J. Putz, closers relieved of duties last season, are bandied about and the Mets are said to be confident that they have enough depth in their farm system to make deals that don't hurt them.
That's not a good idea. Having a big name closer didn't help the Mets any the last two seasons, why would they think that it would make a difference this time around? See above about the composition of the best bullpens in baseball and then ask yourself why the Mets would throw good prospects after bad pitchers. The few good performances the Mets got in relief were from those with the smallest names but, as we've established, the Mets aren't proponents of learning from history just repeating it.
If they insist on using their farm system in trades, however, starting pitching should be the priority. Other than Johan Santana, the Mets don't have a reliable starter. That means more outs for a bullpen to get each night and that's a liability no matter who you have pitching in relief. The Mets need to focus on the journey, not the destination, to make 2009 a more pleasurable year.