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Who Will Close For the Mets in 2011?

By Mike Silva ~ September 24th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets.

The more I hear about Francisco Rodriguez‘s court case, the more I believe there is a good chance he serves jail time. Remember, many didn’t believe Plaxico Burress would ultimately land behind bars, but when you have a high profile athlete, a DA with something to prove and media exposure, conventional wisdom is thrown out the window. A possible K-Rod incarceration makes baseball seem unimportant, but it appears the Mets might be in need of a closer next season. There aren’t many internal candidates, but the two that stand out are Bobby Parnell and Hisanori Takahashi.

You keep hearing that Takahashi wants to start, but his peripherals indicate he is much better suited out of the bullpen:

as Starter 4 4 5.01 12 12 0 0 0 0 64.2 73 36 36 11 21 54 1.454 7.5
as Reliever 5 2 2.29 36 0 17 0 0 7 51.0 40 15 13 2 19 53 1.157 9.4
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/24/2010.

Takahashi also has experience in the role saving 15 games for the Yomiuri Giants in 2006.

Bobby Parnell put up a fine season before he was shut down earlier this week. Although he strikes out a batter per inning, and cut his 2009 walk rate in half (2.1 down from 4.7 in 2009), he struggles a bit against left handed batters (.806 OPS) which gives me pause about his ability to get big outs in the ninth.

If K-Rod isn’t available than who? The free agent market has some possibilities including former Met Octavio Dotel, J.J. Putz, and Rafael Soriano of Tampa.

Will the Mets spring for the best closer available (I am going to assume Mariano Rivera is all but signed) this offseason? Soriano is making $7.5 million this year, and probably would command a 3 year/$30 million dollar deal on the open market. I have my doubts that Tampa, in payroll cutting mode, will bother to be in the mix. The big concern with Soriano, outside of money, is injury history, which is heightened when you see his strikeout rate has dropped from 12 to 8 this season. Is that a product of the AL East, or a harbinger of things to come? The Mets can’t afford more sunk costs on this roster.

Putz, having a bounce back healthy season, probably wouldn’t be an option after his criticism of the Mets training staff earlier this year. Dotel? Although there is closing experience he is 36, and not necessarily any better than Parnell/Takahashi, especially when you think about the kind of money ($6-$8 million?) he would command.

Realistically, the best closer on the roster is K-Rod. Of course, the court of law might have something to say about that. There is also heightened speculation the Mets want nothing to do with him after his August antics. That is why I believe you do what it takes to keep Takahashi around, give him a shot to close, with Parnell spelling him. Perhaps you have a closer by committee with the two, and sign a middle reliever like Grant Balfour, Chad Qualls, or Scott Downs. It might be the best, and most affordable, choice.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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2 Responses to Who Will Close For the Mets in 2011?

  1. Reese Kaplan

    You forgot the now apparently healthy Chad Cordero pitching to a 1.69 ERA for Buffalo. He’s still only 28 years old and was great for the Nationals.

  2. Stu B

    From rotoworld.com, 7/22/10 – “Adding Cordero would have made plenty of sense for the Mets three years ago, but he’s likely to be nothing more than organizational filler at this point. The 28-year-old right-hander compiled a 6.52 ERA over nine appearances with Seattle before refusing a minor league assignment last week.” Reese, the operative words in your post are “for Buffalo.” Don’t hold your breath for this guy…

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