ST. LOUIS -- If the Mets' scuffling bullpen is to improve down the stretch, the club will need it to improve from within. The team is no longer seriously pursuing bullpen arms from outside the organization, according to a person with knowledge of the club's thinking.
While the Mets have spent months scouring the market for right-handed relief pitchers, they wound up focusing their non-waiver Trade Deadline efforts on outfielder Jay Bruce and lefty pitcher Jonathon Niese, instead. Shortly after that Deadline passed, the Mets spoke publicly about their interest in a right-handed reliever, spending the next few weeks looking into that market.
But it has been fruitless. While options do still exist, from Philadelphia's David Hernandez and Jeanmar Gomez, to Milwaukee's Carlos Torres and others, the Mets have found most of them either too expensive or too little of an upgrade over what they have in-house.
Waiver trades are allowed in September, but players acquired at that time are not eligible for postseason rosters, and thus relatively useless to contending clubs. As such, Aug. 31 has become a second de facto Trade Deadline for teams.
While the Mets' bullpen has struggled to the tune of a 5.89 August ERA entering Tuesday, the team attributes that more to heavy usage -- New York's starting pitchers have not been going deep into games -- than anything else. The Mets did receive a boost over the weekend when Jim Henderson came off the DL, though the veteran reliever has yet to appear in a game.
Henderson, Jeurys Familia, Addison Reed, Hansel Robles and Jerry Blevins will form the core of New York's bullpen in September.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.