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If all goes well for Dellin Betances, meaning that neither last season's shoulder impingement nor Achilles tear is an issue in 2020, the Mets now have the wild card they need to have a real shot at winning the killer division that is the NL East.
As such, the signing of Betances this week was both a necessary gamble and a desperately needed way for Brodie Van Wagenen to energize a highly skeptical fan base in an otherwise uneventful winter.
The GM simply didn't have any credibility in trying to sell the notion that the Mets could bank on bounce-backs from Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz as the cure for the bullpen that wrecked their season.
So now there's enough potential late-inning dominance, including Seth Lugo and Justin Wilson, perhaps Brad Brach and Robert Gsellman, and even Michael Wacha or Steven Matz, that the Mets have built in some margin for error into their plan.
Meaning they can have a strong pen even if Diaz fails to return to the form that made him practically unhittable in 2018 or Familia can't turn back to the clock to his days as a dependable closer for the Mets.
In truth, it's hard to believe either one could be as bad as they were in 2019, but some improvement could still be a far cry from their former dominant selves.
And that could make for some difficult decision-making, even high drama, considering that sorting out a pecking order could be a tricky task that is bound to bruise some egos along the way.
Welcome to handling a bullpen, Carlos Beltran.
Yes, it is shaping up as quite a fascinating rookie year as manager for Beltran. In addition to bullpen decisions, Yoenis Cespedes suddenly looms as a real comeback possibility, if his prediction of 40-plus home runs that he made to Eduardo Perez this offseason is an indication he'll be ready to play in 2020.
In an already-crowded outfield, Cespedes could still be a difference-maker, if he can play at something close to where he was before needing double-heel surgery and then breaking his ankle somehow on his farm.
Even then, his playing time will need to be managed conservatively, in the name of keeping him healthy, yet Cespedes will be looking to make back money via incentives that he lost in his contract reduction related to the ankle injury.
As Terry Collins, Beltran's former manager and a man to whom he remains close, can tell him, managing that task will be no small feat, especially after J.D. Davis established himself as a dangerous hitter who deserves playing time in left field as well.
There is also the potential matter of sending a veteran starter to the bullpen, after the Mets signed Wacha and Rick Porcello as free agents this winter.
The Mets need the depth, and chances are they won't be as fortunate as last year, when none of their five starters missed significant time due to injury. But if they're all healthy coming out of spring training, either Wacha or Matz figures to be the odd man out.
And even if that decision is dictated by Van Wagenen and the front office, it's Beltran who needs to deal with the players involved.
Above all, though, the bullpen could be a land mine in more ways than one for the new guy.
That hardly makes him unique these days, of course. Navigating the bullpen over 162 games has become the litmus test for every big-league manager in an era when analytics dictate shorter and shorter outings for starters yet doesn't account for the effects such decisions can have on pitchers' psyches.
As for who pitches when out of the bullpen, most relievers prefer to have defined roles, and that might be as complicated for the Mets as any team in baseball.
Lugo, for example, emerged from last season as their best relievers, and indeed one of the best in baseball over the second half of the season, when he pitched to a 1.95 ERA. Yet his workload must be managed in a way, with the partial tear of his elbow ligament in mind, that limits his availability more than a traditional closer.
Meanwhile, Diaz surely will expect to be given first crack at regaining his status as a top-flight closer, and Familia's seniority, as well as his $10-million-a-year contract, will be factors, at least initially, as he attempts to re-establish himself.
And don't forget that Justin Wilson was the only other dependable reliever besides Lugo during the heat of the Wild Card race last season.
So where does Betances fit in that mix? When he's right, he might be better than any of the others, when you consider his remarkable strikeout numbers -- 621 Ks over 381.2 innings, for an average of 14.6 per nine innings.
But will he be that same guy after his injury-marred 2019? Baseball people believe some teams were scared off bidding for him, more so because of the Achilles injury on his landing leg than the shoulder impingement, believing that could mess with his mechanics, no small matter considering his history of occasionally losing the strike zone.
The Mets had to take the gamble, however, especially on a one-year guaranteed deal of $10.5 million. They needed a potential difference-maker to have anything resembling a championship bullpen.
What they might need more than ever now is a manager who proves adept at bullpen maneuvering. It's worth noting that Joe Girardi always received high grades in that department. The Mets can only hope Beltran will as well.