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Potential Mets Closers

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

Three free agent closers have been connected to the Mets thus far: Brad LidgeJoe Nathan, and Jonathan Broxton. Which would make the most sense to finish ballgames in 2012?

First, the years/dollars an individual would require is what will drive any negotiations. All are pitchers that fall into the low risk/high reward due to recent injuries impacting their effectiveness, although track record and health vary.

Nathan is the local guy who has the highest ceiling of the group. This upcoming season would be his second year removed from Tommy John surgery, which historically is the time it takes to fully get back to strength. His 2011 season was uneven as he produced a 4.84 ERA and 14 saves, but 11 came in the second half when he tallied a 3.91 ERA and a WHIP of 1.0. Nathan might be the most expensive of the trio because of his track record in Minnesota. Only Mariano Rivera has more saves since 2003 than Nathan’s 260.

Brad Lidge has suffered from elbow problems the last couple of seasons. Injuries regulated him to long relief in the second half of last season. His 1.40 ERA and 10.7 K/9 were overshadowed by an ugly 6.1 BB/9. Does Lidge have the ability to stay healthy and be effective? Big question, but he will probably cost less than Nathan and has been successful in the pressure cooker of Philadelphia. He has also indicated that he wouldn’t mind taking a job as a set-up man.

Jonathan Broxton seems the least likely to be pursued by Sandy Alderson as ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported last week “the Mets are not part of a group of 6-8 teams that have shown interest and asked for medical records.” Broxton had minor elbow surgery at the end of the season. That could explain his ineffectiveness since late in 2010. He pitched only 14 games last season and posted an ERA over 7.00 in the second half of 2010.  Only 27, Broxton is young enough where you can sign him to a one year deal with incentives and see if he is good enough to turn it around and be a longer term answer. Before the injuries derailed him two seasons ago, he was one of the better closers in baseball.

Personally, I see Nathan as the best choice of the three. The recent contract by Jonathan Papelbon (4 years/$50 million) has put the top tier closers in the $12.5 to $15 million dollar range. Ryan Madson is reportedly looking for about $11 million a year. Would Nathan’s deal, with incentives, reach as much as $10 million dollars? It’s possible. I also think the Mets ability to compete at some level could play into the decision. Why take similar money from the Mets if you could get a deal with a contender.

Of course, the Mets could use an internal option like Bobby Parnell. He showed very little ability to handle the ninth inning during his September audition. I think Parnell’s inability to develop a secondary pitch makes him another hard throwing average middle reliever, at best. Maybe his ceiling is Kyle Farnsworth; not a terrible comparison, but not someone that I would put a whole lot of faith in closing ballgames.

Let’s throw this out to the readers, who do you want the Mets to sign to close ballgames in 2012?

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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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1 Response to Potential Mets Closers

  1. 86mets

    2 points:

    A-Bobby Parnell doesn’t have a legitimate pitching coach to help him develop his secondary pitches. All he has is Dan Warthen, who has SO successfully helped the likes of Mike Pelfrey. Ooops, no he hasn’t.

    B-Kyle Farnsworth just had a very strong 2011 closing games for the Tampa Bay Rays and they had no trouble trusting him in the 9th inning.

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