Now that Jason Isringhausen has recorded his 300th save, Terry Collins told reporters that he would start weaning one of his younger relief pitchers—Bobby Parnell or Pedro Beato—to become the team’s pitchers.
Izzy was just what this team needed this year, whether it was his ability to get clutch outs in big spots or the leadership he provided to the younger players.
However, the likelihood that he returns next year is minimal to say the least. So that leaves Parnell or Beato as the only in-house options to take over in the ninth inning.
Last season, when K-Rod hurt himself punching his girlfriend’s father, Parnell seemed like the logical choice to fill in. Instead, Jerry Manuel anointed Hisanori Takahashi as the team’s closer, and he did quite well.
But this year when K-Rod was traded, the Mets had the insurance plan of Izzy, once again keeping Parnell from the ninth inning role.
Heading into next season, the Mets will have some pressing needs, including trying to re-sign Jose Reyes and fill in some offensive holes—all with a limited payroll.
That’s why if the team can feel confident with either Parnell or Beato as the closer, it’s one less thing the Mets need to worry about.
Both players have had patches or brilliance this season, but they have also gone through stretches of being ineffective, mostly dealing with walks.
As a closer, walks are absolutely deadly, especially when they lead off an inning. For a team that notoriously doesn’t score many runs, having a guy come in and shut the door in the ninth inning is imperative.
While Beato has shown he has good stuff, Parnell is the one who possesses the 100 mph fastball. The problem is that Major League hitters have the ability to hit the fastest pitches if they are straight.
Now that it’s looking like the Mets won’t be competing in September, hopefully we can see an open competition for the closer’s role. Collins may be more inclined to give Parnell the bulk of the opportunities, since Parnell at least has some experience closing games.
Even so, giving Beato a chance here and there would be great for his confidence. If Parnell becomes the closer next season, Beato should at least be granted the role of setup man, barring any trades or free agent signings.
So bring on Parnell for the ninth inning, but let’s not forget about Beato.