Fair or Foul: Not So Fast On Trading Bobby Parnell…


For a team that after three seasons still has so many holes to fill, I find it amazing how many times I read posts about trading away the few productive players we do have for either more prospects or merely for the fact that arbitration is approaching. Yesterday, in a post on MetsBlog announcing that Daniel Murphy was named National League Player of the Week, rather than a few congratulatory words as we did, I read that “Murphy is arbitration eligible this winter and I wonder if Sandy Alderson looks to move him in a deal for a starting pitcher or a bat”.

It’s one thing when Ike Davis is arbitration eligible and could earn $5-6 million. You look at his body of work over the last three season’s and you say no way.

But when you consider Murphy will get about $4 million in arbitration and is currently among the top five in almost every offensive category for second basemen, why would you trade someone who has given the Mets so much value?

  1. 159 Hits – #2
  2. 32 Doubles – #2
  3. 10 Home Runs – #5
  4. 67 RBI – #2
  5. 18 Stolen Bases – #1
  6. .282 Batting Average – #3
  7. .403 Slugging Percentage – #5

I thought players like Murphy, who is also second in the NL in hits, were exactly the kind of assets this front office coveted? And that undervalued, cost-controlled performance was the number one thing they look for in a player? So either we have the front office pegged all wrong, or MetsBlog has got it all wrong… I’ll leave you to decide which is which…

Another player whose name is constantly being propped up as a prime target for the Mets to trade by the folks at SNY is Mets closer Bobby Parnell. The 28-year old fireballer is currently sidelined with a bulging disc that he received an epidural for about a week ago. He may have surgery, but whether he does or doesn’t he will be ready for Spring Training either way according to what team doctors have said. Parnell was in the midst of his finest season as a Met and had a 2.16 ERA with 22 saves in 49 games before going on the DL.

Last night, I came across a refreshing article written by Paul West of Through the Fence Baseball, who did a splendid job on conveying why Parnell is another player, like Murphy, who the Mets should keep and not trade.

bobby parnellJust when you thought it was safe to watch the ninth inning without your hands wrapped around your face, some people are suggesting the New York Mets should trade Bobby Parnell. This would be a terrible idea.

After several years of ups and downs and cultivation, Bobby Parnell has evolved into a true closer. He used to be a “when in trouble, throw harder” fireballer, a one-trick pony who threw surprisingly hittable 98 mph fastballs that ran out of the park by themselves when guys made square contact. Now he throws in the mid 90s with movement — and moreover, he can execute his secondary pitches under duress. He now gets strikeouts with his sinker and groundouts with his sinker, splitter and curveball, and most importantly, he’s no longer especially predictable.

Why would the Mets want to give away a closer they spent several years developing into the real thing? Have people forgotten how hard it is to find a reliable closer who wants the job and wants the ball even after tough outings and has top-notch closer stuff?

He goes on to summarize some valid points on how difficult it has been for the Mets to get some closure in the closer role and how this time it didn’t cost tens of million in free agency and how he came up through our own system.

What really gets me is the fact that for many years, people laughed at the Mets for carrying the bloated contracts of failed gambles like Bobby Bonilla and Jason Bay. “Why don’t we develop minor-league talent?” people asked; “we need to cultivate guys for the future and not just chase superstars,” people said. So, the Mets do just that: take a young flamethrower with a triple-digit arm, stick with him and work on him until he’s a solid major-league closer who can pitch his way out of trouble. And now people want to sell him?

You can read the rest of his article by clicking on the link above and I suggest that you do.

Paul really hones in on some of the issues regarding the difficulties of acquiring a dependable closer via free agency when most of them are already in the throes of decline, and how valuable and oftentimes rare it is for a team to develop their own closer like we have with Parnell.

I’m amazed at how often fans will overlook how long it’s been since the Mets had a 20+ save season from a player they have developed themselves. Rather than telling you how long, take a look and see for yourselves… Then consider the fact we have a young closer entering his prime who is under team control for the next three years at a cost that is less than 75% the going rate for a top 15 closer which is exactly where Parnell falls in.

Fair or Foul?

I believe that Paul nails this one right on the head, definitely FAIR…

About Joe D 8025 Articles
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73, '00 and '15, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.