As was reported earlier, Kyle Farnsworth has been named the new Mets closer by Terry Collins. Jose Valverde lost the job after a series of dreadful outings in which he allowed four home runs in his last three appearances.
At 38, Farnsworth has closed on two previous occasions in his 16 year major league career which includes 54 saves and 43 blown saves. The veteran righthander last officially closed in 2011 for the Rays, saving 25 games and blowing six.
The Mets never did add that proven reliever they said was a priority this offseason.
Instead they opted to sign a few minor league deals with players off the scrapheap shortly before spring training started, and hoping that one of them would ultimately stick.
Meanwhile, LaTroy Hawkins is flourishing as the closer for the Colorado Rockies. He signed a one-year, $2.25 million contract with them in the offseason.
Sandy Alderson felt that was too much money for Hawkins whose first choice was to stay with the Mets.
“LaTroy had a great season for us last year,” Alderson said. “He stepped in and did a very nice job for us as a closer. I hate to keep emphasizing he’s 41, but at that age, in this game, I think the financial issue becomes not paramount in every case, but I think important.”
Hawkins had a stellar season for the Mets in 2013, posting a 2.93 ERA with 55 strikeouts and ten walks in 70.2 innings pitched.
Used mostly as the setup man, Hawkins stepped into the closer role when the Mets lost Bobby Parnell. He ended up saving 13 games.
Going into Sunday, Hawkins has notched five saves for the Rockies this season with a 1.38 ERA and 0.749 WHIP.
At the time Hawkins signed with the Rockies, the Mets GM also said:
“We’re feeling more and more comfortable about the young pitching that we have that may populate the bullpen next year. Bobby Parnell is expected to be fine for next season, and if he were unable to close, Vic Black is the alternative.”
Of course Parnell is now out for the season with Tommy John surgery, and Black was assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas to begin the season, due to issues with wildness which have plagued him his entire professional career.
Black has appeared in five games for Las Vegas and in 6.1 innings pitched he has walked seven batters, thrown one wild pitch, and has hit one batter.
Last week, the Mets attended a showcase for free agent reliever Joel Hanrahan who is attempting to comeback from Tommy John surgery. The showcase was attended by 20 teams who have all shown varying degrees of interest.
The irony is that even if the Mets were to land Hanrahan, it’s likely that he’ll get almost twice what it would have cost to just keep Hawkins, according to some of the numbers being tossed around.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the Mets navigate through the rest of this season with this bullpen, as we continue in year four of the Alderson era.