Izzy Could Bump Bobby Parnell From Setup Job

An article by posted on March 20, 2011

Great read by Mike Puma of the NY Post this morning who writes that 38-year-old right-hander Jason Isringhausen has wowed the Mets so much in his comeback from Tommy John surgery that he will most likely bump Bobby Parnell from the bullpen’s primary setup role.

Surprising as that may sound, it’s actually pitching coach Dan Warthen who is behind that decision.

“We’ve actually talked about Isringhausen being that to start the season, to see if he is an eighth-inning guy, and let Bobby move his way into it a little bit.”

What started out as a private audition for special adviser J.P. Ricciardi, led to a minor league contract and a spring invite for Izzy who has done nothing, but impress since he embarked on his comeback.

So far this spring, Isringhausen has a 1.50 ERA in six relief appearances and has shown that he could pitch effectively on back to back days.

“Right now we all agree he’s throwing the ball very well and we would like to see him as part of our team,” Warthen said. “The health is the whole issue. If he continues to throw like he’s throwing, I think he is part of this team.”

If Izzy does make the team, he joins K-Rod, Parnell, Buchholz, Carrasco and Byrdak who are all locks at this point.

That leaves one spot left for Pat Misch, Manny Acosta, Pedro Beato, and Mike O’Connor. As I wrote earlier this morning n a comment, Misch and Acosta could be the odd men out despite having no options. I don’t believe they want to lose Beato who is a Rule 5 pick that they like a lot. O’Connor has no shot at this point and will simply pitch for Buffalo again where he was tremendous last season and pitched well enough to earn a spot in this season’s bullpen.

I’m all for Izzy making the team and taking the setup role which he will be good at as a former closer himself. It’s better for Parnell to work himself into the role and earning it, rather than just handing it to him.

I don’t see Byrdak as an improvement over O’Connor but that’s life.

Keeping a pitcher like Beato, who never pitched above Double-A, over an experienced Acosta or Misch, may also prove to be a fruitless endeavor.

How is it that Mejia who pitched at Triple-A and in the Majors needed more seasoning and Beato, who the Baltimore Orioles were willing to lose, gets a major league gig straight from Double-A? I can’t wrap my head around that yet, but hey, I don’t have a Harvard degree.

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