Carlos Torres did not have a role in the 2015 New York Mets postseason. In his second year and out of the bullpen with the Milwaukee Brewers the 34-year righthander is content and does not look back at why he was not a part of that postseason roster that was memorable for the Mets.
As he says often, it’s a part of the game. But that September stretch for Torres was not his best and did not sit well with Mets brass, including GM Sandy Alderson. He was often used in key situations and overall did the job but there was always that failure to get key outs.
Important outs during the September stretch did not occur and questions of being overused were always addressed to manager Terry Collins and Torres did resemble a tired pitcher out of the pen.
That final line with the Mets in 2015: 5-6 with a 4.68 ERA in 59 relief appearances. He retired 40 of 58 first batters and that speaks volumes as to why he was used often. Spot starts, facing one hitter, setup role, mop up work, even closing some games, that was Carlos Torres in a Mets uniform.
But it all came to a halt when Alderson and Collins put that postseason roster together that got the Mets a National League pennant. And now with the Mets in a bullpen struggle, with the worst ERA in baseball, there is a call to revamp the pen. Torres would be a welcome addition but the overall consensus is, he will still be a Brewer by the trading deadline in late July.
So why did the Mets let Torres get away? Why did they give up quickly on a reliable arm who in most situations did the job when called upon? The Mets will claim it had a matter of salary and a difference of a few million. There has never been a claim that Torres did not work hard enough but at a time of restructure he was not in the plan.
Torres looks at baseball as a business, And this is known as baseball economics.
“It’s the nature of the game,” he said prior to the Mets-Brewers first pitch Tuesday night at Citi Field. “They don’t have to tell us anything. It’s the game. You keep going, find a job and go to another place and keep going. You might be the best starter in the league and can be jobless.”
However, Torres has a job now and overall doing a good job with the first place Brewers. His team is holding on to that slim lead in the National League Central with youngsters and that mix of some veterans. He is one of those veterans in the clubhouse with a little over four years of Major League service.
Yes, that is a veteran with the Brewers who are young and competing with the season many days away from the mid point, There is optimism with the Brewers in this, their first of two trips to New York as they make another stop in the Bronx in early July against the Yankees. Coming into Tuesday night a team ERA of 4.25 was the seventh worst in the league.
But as Torres said, “ These guys are young and relentless. As pitchers who have to get guys out whether you are up by three or down by three.”
He stays in touch with his former teammates that remain from that 2015 team and wished closer Jeurys Familia a speedy recovery when he learned about his surgery to remove a blood clot from the right arm.
Manager Craig Counsell is utilizing Torres in different situations, much like Collins did with him in New York Of course that is a sign again as to why he has become a valuable arm out of the pen. Tuesday night his sixth inning did not go as planned. The cutter on 3-2 pitch to Lucas Duda slipped and went out of the park to left field for two runs.
And before that ,it was a fastball, a two-seamer that Neill Walker laced down the left field line for a double. It was a struggle of 33 pitches and reminiscent of that stretch in September in his last year with the Mets. Prior to giving up those runs Torres had been unscored upon in 10 appearances and opponents were batting ,265 with an overall ERA of 2.67 in 26 games.
“It got away,” he said about the pitch to Duda. The Mets would eventually win in 12-innings on the Jay Bruce walk-off single. And as Torres always says, “That’s baseball and tomorrow is another day.”
No, that wasn’t in the plan and Torres will probably not be available Wednesday night. But with versatility and a cutter that has developed the Brewers are in good hands. And if the Mets don’t want to give him another look, perhaps another team will after this contract year.
Because as Carlos Torres says, “There are tough stretches in this game and you keep pitching.”