Adding to my post from this afternoon, they Mets have entertained a reunion with former closer Francisco Rodriguez, a source told Marc Carig of Newsday.
K-Rod along with Jose Valverde are among a group of former closers who could bolster the team’s bullpen depth, writes Carig.
Speaking generally, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said he will likely add at least one more arm to the bullpen.
“I just can’t tell you at this point who that will be,” Alderson said. “And I can’t tell you it’s going to be somebody that will displace Frankie either. We’re looking to help the pen in a variety of ways, provide some more depth and major league experience. I can’t really get into names because I’m not sure how it will turn out.”
Desperate times call for…
You may have noticed that the Mets have signed and/or invited an abundance of relief options to Spring Training which starts in 10 days. There may even be more arms on the way. In the last seven days alone, the Mets have signed Pedro Feliciano, Scott Atchison and LaTroy Hawkins.
So why the sudden sense of urgency?
Sandy Alderson answered that question on Thursday night during his appearance on Mets Hot Stove with Kevin Burkhardt.
“I don’t know that we can have a lot of confidence in where we are at closer,” Alderson said. “I hope Frankie does something over the next few weeks to dispel that discomfort.”
The Mets now have an official full-on competition for the closer’s job during Spring Training, in other words – the heat is on.
Frank Francisco (5.53 ERA, 1.61 WHIP), who is owed $6.5 million this season, was supposed to be the closer on Opening Day and it was his job to lose, but obviously there are now some serious questions after December surgery to remove bone chips in his elbow. And lets face it, Frank-Frank did little to inspire any confidence in him as a closer last season. If it were me calling the shots, I would have had an open competition for the closer role anyway, regardless of his injury concerns. Nobody who performed as bad as he did deserves a guaranteed job. So bring on the reinforcements…
“We’ve taken a lot of time to look at other possibilities and ways that we can shore this up. We have added some pitching, but more at the front end of the bullpen as opposed to the back end,” Alderson said.
Obviously, Bobby Parnell will most likely have a leg up on everyone else in camp for the job, but lets not pretend he hasn’t struggled with the role in the past. Last season, Parnell did show some improvement in pressure situations, but for his career he still has a 4.54 ERA (87 appearances) in save situations compared to a 2.45 ERA (145 appearances) in non-save situations.
After Parnell, the Mets have no real in-house options so that explains the rush to bring in as many arms as they could on the cheap.
“I think we are going to add another guy or two, between now and Spring Training,” Alderson explained. “Now, whether it’s a back-end guy that will really compete with Frankie, or whether Frankie is the guy going in and the competition comes from Bobby Parnell or someone else – who knows, we will just have to see.”
So that’s the story. While everyone is dwelling on the outfield deficiencies, there’s actually some big concerns in the bullpen as well. Hopefully this all sorts itself out by Opening Day, but you may want to strap yourself in for a bumpy ride during the 2013 season, just in case.