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The Closing Situation Post K-Rod

By Mike Silva ~ July 13th, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets.

Now that Francisco Rodriguez is in Milwaukee the Mets are in need of a closer. Bobby Parnell and his 100 mph fastball appear to be the most obvious choice, but I wouldn’t be so quick to bestow the ninth inning on the inconsistent righty. Parnell has been tremendous since returning from the disabled list in late May (1.56 ERA). With that said, he is a one pitch reliever that struggles to command his slider on a consistent basis. He also doesn’t do well coming into games with runners on base. It takes more than just heat to get outs in a big spot.

It’s been no secret around baseball the Mets were shopping K-Rod. A month ago Jason Isringhausen was told he might get a chance to save his 300th game in a Mets uniform (he is 7 away) before the year is out. Remember, the goal of 2011 is still to win as many games as possible. Sandy Alderson reiterated that during a conference call with reporters earlier in the day. Izzy has the most experience in the ninth inning, a frame that seems to wreak havoc on relievers with even the best stuff. A combination of Isringhausen’s experience and fearlessness should allow him to still be successful with a diminished repertoire. Not to mention what a great story it would be seeing him get his 300th save in a Mets uniform.

Pedro Beato also can’t be discounted as he was the closer last season (16 saves) for the Orioles Double-A affiliate in Bowie. Beato doesn’t have the raw fastball of Parnell, but seems to be equally successful versus lefties and righties. He may not strikeout hitters at a high rate, but he keeps his mid-nineties fastball down in the zone. His repertoire is more diversified as he throws a sinker, cutter, and slider. He also comes across cooler under pressure than Parnell. The stuff is there to miss bats, he just needs more experience. My belief is that Beato will continue to develop and eventually be the best choice to close out ballgames.

What’s the best solution this year? I say do a bullpen by committee. Continue the meritocracy theme of 2011 and give each a chance to show their stuff. Play the game by matchups, and have all three available at any point from the seventh inning on.

What if there is no long range solution on the roster? Jenrry Mejia will be back from elbow surgery next year. Many have believed his violent delivery would land him in the bullpen for the long term anyway. There will also be inexpensive veteran setup men that could be converted into closers available via free agency this winter. Names like Chad QuallsJuan CruzRyan FranklinChris Ray, and Todd Coffey come to mind. There are also potential non-tender candidates. Not the ideal scenario, but an option nonetheless. Sandy Alderson proved adept at value signings this past winter.

More than likely the future closer will be one of Parnell and Beato. Perhaps they could be co-closers, sort of what we saw in the eighties with Jesse Orosco and Roger McDowell. If healthy, you can keep Isringhausen around as their mentor. Either way, the good news is the Mets won’t be hamstrung by the obtuse vesting option that was part of having K-Rod on the roster.

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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 The Closing Situation Post K-Rod

  1. Greg Pomes

    #fireterrycollins #firesandyalderson

  2. Stu B

    “#fireterrycollins #firesandyalderson”


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