The Mets currently sit second to last in the NL East with a record of 11-15, four games ahead of the lowly Miami Marlins.

With a losing record, the chances of closing out a game for a pitcher become less then more, because you obviously need to be ahead in ballgames when it comes to the ninth inning in order to earn saves.

So far this season, closer Bobby Parnell has had five opportunities to covert saves. He’s been successful in converting three of them.

It’s a small sample size, but converting 60 per cent of your save opportunities isn’t exactly a good number.

However, when you look at Parnell’s ERA of 1.46 and his six hits allowed in over 12 innings of work and 11 strikeouts, you’d have to agree that he has pitched pretty well this season, just not in a closing role thus far.

This leads me to Frank Francisco, the team’s closer from last season. How is Franky doing?

Francisco – who has been on the shelf with right elbow inflammation and who is recovering from off-season surgery to remove a bone chip is this same elbow – was sent on a Class-A rehab assignment on April 17.

Francisco is currently on the 15-day DL and is tentatively scheduled to return by early May (which is around now) according to the injury report page of, but his progress is going slower then expected.

He threw 25 pitches last Saturday and said he was feeling okay – which is a good sign – but an answer of okay isn’t a huge vote of confidence for Terry Collins when he needs a strong bullpen to make up for his lacklustre starting pitching (Matt Harvey and Jonathon Niese aside).

Francisco has 72 career saves with the Rangers, Blue Jays and Mets and is owed $6.5 million this season, so the Mets are going to want to get as much out of him as possible – especially at that price – so what options do they have with the big guy?

If he comes back in May and can stay healthy, do the Mets give him the opportunity to close if Parnell can’t finish out games? Would Francisco have more value to a contender at the trade deadline if he was closing out games?

Parnell has been impressive so far and unless he completely falls apart in the closer’s role, Collins should let him keep it and slowly move Francisco back into a late inning role in the bullpen.

Collins could start by putting Francisco into situations where he can succeed to build up his confidence; some righty on righty situations to start then slowly incorporate him into tougher spots. If he proves he can be successful and stay healthy then he can be moved into tougher situations later in the game with the hope that he can become a valuable set-up man, but Francisco’s days as a Mets closer should be done.

Parnell looks good and Scott Rice has been a nice surprise, so there may be a couple of people ahead of Francisco for the closer’s role before he gets another shot.

Where do you see Francisco fitting with the bullpen upon his return? Do you think he’ll ever close again for the Mets? Do you see him in a Mets uniform for the rest of the season?

10 comments on “What will Frank Francisco’s role be upon his return?

  • peter

    You put him to close games once he’s healthy and ready. You sit down with him and have a conversation that goes like this. Pitch well and try to save every game. If you can do that I promise you you’ll be with a contender before the trading deadline. Besides he’s pitching for a new contract. Good incentive?

  • Name

    Haven’t heard too much about Franky Frank recently, which leads me to believe he isn’t close to returning in the next week or so.
    He’ll probably be a setup man when he comes back. Whether he will get the 8th innning right away will probably depend on how the other guys are doing in the bullpen when he returns.
    Hoping he can be an average reliever if he comes back, not expecting too much outta him.

  • Brian Joura

    Francisco has to work his way up the food chain when he gets back.

    Parnell-Hawkins-Atchison-Lyon-Rice-Francisco has the makings of a solid pen. I don’t expect much from Carson but maybe he can work as the de-facto long man.

  • Metsense

    One thing is for certain, in 2014 Parnell should be here and Fransisco shouldn’t be. Therefore I don’t see Fransisco closing. I agree with Brian regarding Fransisco working his way up the food chain. Fransisco, or for that matter any Met reliever, may not be in a Met uniform by the end of the season. Feliciano will probably take Carson’s place when he is ready and then in July Sandy will move one or two of the vet relief pitchers. This will allow the prospects to finish the season and be evaluated for 2014.

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  • Jim OMalley

    I agree …. Try to accumulate some decent innings and then look to move him.

  • Chris F

    Is he really coming back? Didnt we option him to some Japan League team?

  • peter

    The Japanese team waived him to a Korean team

  • peter

    The Japanese team traded him to a Korean team

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