Among the things I find puzzling with manager Terry Collins is his propensity for making announcements without all the facts. Most recently, he said Bobby Parnell will be next season’s closer, this despite not pitching last season and nobody knowing for sure his physical status.
With Parnell shelved, Jenrry Mejia took over as closer and saved 28 games. Incidentally, Parnell’s career high was 22 saves in 2013.
We are still months before spring training games and have no idea what to expect from Parnell. What’s wrong with going to Port St. Lucie with it open between Parnell and Mejia? (Black and Familia, considering their limited experience should go in with set-up roles.)
Quite a few times this offseason I’ve come across some speculation from others about trading Mejia, something that has been rekindled again with news that the Toronto Blue Jays are now on the hunt for a a closer according to Jon Heyman.
This is exactly what I don’t want to see. I love how some make it seem so easy for the Mets to find a closer if we were to trade Mejia and Parnell turns out not to be ready. It’s as if they’ve been oblivious to the three years of the major’s worst relief pitching before the Mets finally started to turn that around during the last three months of the season.
The second half of last season is not proof enough that our bullpen problems are behind us. Assuming Black or Familia can close simply because they have the stuff to do it shows a lack of understanding that it takes more than just a nasty slider or filthy splitter be a major league closer – it also takes fearlessness, confidence and guts – important attributes that don’t show up in stats like FIP, WHIP and ERA.
Memo to Collins: Shut up and wait for spring training to get underway before you determine Parnell is your de facto closer. Show a little respect and give Mejia the pat on the back he deserves for stepping in and accomplishing what he did under duress.