Parnell’s injury ensures the need for another bullpen arm

<strong>Bobby  Parnell<It has only been three months since Bobby Parnell had neck surgery to repair a herniated disc, but there have already been rumblings about his status for next season.  While the surgery went as planned, the rehab aspect has led some to believe that his readiness for spring training is still up in the air.  If healthy, there is no question that Parnell’s stronghold on the closer position will be in full force.

The uncertainty that the organization has alluded to in interviews regarding his progress leads you to believe the team will seek insurance for the back end of the bullpen, specifically someone who has closed in the past.

As the bullpen is constructed now, it appears someone like Vic Black would be asked to deal with ninth inning duties if Parnell is behind schedule.  He has closed in the minors and appears to have the makeup and stuff to at least be given an opportunity for the job.

While that probably doesn’t ease Mets fans minds due to his lack of experience, but that gives you an idea of how important Parnell is to the team.  There are some options still available on the free-agent market.

The Mets have done some spending the past two weeks on Chris Young, Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon, they still have some remaining funds in the “quasi-budget” many feel is relevant.  The aforementioned signings cost the team $87.5 million total, and will account for $30.5 million in 2014.

The team should be able to sign a veteran arm to solidify the bullpen regardless of Parnell’s status.  The injury concern just enhances the urgency.  So who’s available?

Sandy Alderson has already had talks this week regarding former closers and current free agents John Axford, Chris Perez, and Kevin Gregg.   All have had previous success in the majors, but to different degrees.

Axford, a former closer with Milwaukee, has had up and down seasons the past two years. Last year after being traded from the Brewers, he excelled for St.Louis down the stretch and proved to be extremely valuable in the postseason.   He would seem to be the top choice as he is on the upslope of his career, albeit at age 30.

Perez, Cleveland’s former closer, is coming off a down season after three stellar ones.  He has 132 career saves and would fit exactly what the Mets are looking for, an experienced closer who could be a bridge to Parnell late in games.  Of the three, Perez who is only 28 would likely be the most expensive.

Gregg, 35, has pitched for six different teams in 11 seasons with consistent, yet moderate success. While he doesn’t have the fastball of Axford and Perez, he has managed 177 career saves.  Last year for the Chicago Cubs, the journeyman Gregg had one of his best years with 33 saves, a good bounce back season after two sub-par ones in Baltimore.

It’s unclear what you would get from Gregg, almost like Brandon Lyon or Jon Rauch, players the Mets signed the past two years.  He would be a good fall back signing if the Mets fail to sign Axford or Perez.

As we wait to hear the fates of Ike Davis and/or Lucas Duda, a bullpen acquisition has become a necessity that will be addressed in the coming month.  Scott Downs, Mitchell Boggs, and ex-Met David Aardsma are all names you will probably hear too.

Alderson has addressed the needs of the 2014 Mets well so far, let’s hope he keeps the momentum going.

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27 comments for “Parnell’s injury ensures the need for another bullpen arm

  1. December 13, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Everyone points out that making trades of veterans for prospects is a strength of Sandy Alderson. I would suggest another strength is finding guys for the back of the bullpen, ones who can close if need be, without paying closer money.

    I don’t want John Axford, Chris Perez or Kevin Gregg as my primary closer. But I’m okay if Alderson picks one of them up for 8th inning duty/Parnell insurance on a cheap deal.

    • Sean Flattery
      December 13, 2013 at 6:10 pm

      Boone Logan just got 3yrs/15 million…makes you wonder what GMs value in some relievers

    • Name
      December 13, 2013 at 10:17 pm

      I took a look at whether that really was Alderson’s strength or if we’re just biased because we only remember Hawkins and simply ignore the failures.

      Success:
      Hawkins, Rauch, Buchholz

      Failures:
      Lyon, Burke, Carrasco, Blaine Boyer, Ramirez

      Meh:
      Atchison, Aardsma, Beato, Rice

      Little to no impact:
      Henn, Hampson, Egbert, Olsen, Herrara, Mike O’Conner, Dale Thayer(who Alderson let get away…)

      So basically the only true success were Hawkins and Rauch. I generally put Buchholz in the success group even though he only played 2 months with the Mets before depression/anxiety overcame him. Still, I guess finding one gem per year isn’t bad… it would be interesting if someone could compare to how other GM’s do though.

      • December 13, 2013 at 10:48 pm

        Jason Isringhausen

        • Name
          December 13, 2013 at 11:50 pm

          Statistically, he would only make my “Meh” category. If you look at his numbers, they really weren’t that good. 4.05 ERA(4.32 FIP), less than 50 innings, 0.1 bWAR or -0.5 fWAR.
          Now that I think about it, people are elevating Hawkins like we did (and still do) with Izzy based on our perception of character, storyline, etc. rather than looking at the hard numbers.

          • December 14, 2013 at 10:04 am

            Fair enough.

            FWIW – he had a 2.70 ERA at the end of July and had his season end early. My guess is that he was pitching injured down the stretch.

        • December 14, 2013 at 1:32 am

          Hi Brian. I know I’m off topic but something has been bothering me. I was wondering did any of the players suspended by MLB for their role in Biogensis fail a drug test? If not then it would imply that the players know how to avoid detection and how much of a dosage to take without fear of failing a test. Makes you wonder how many more players are using?

          • December 14, 2013 at 10:08 am

            Bartolo Colon!

            “I apologize to the fans, to my teammates and to the Oakland A’s,” Colon said in a statement. “I accept responsibility for my actions and I will serve my suspension as required by the Joint Drug Program.”

            It seems like there were others who had failed a test and did not receive an additional punishment from Bio-Gate.

            • December 14, 2013 at 10:17 am

              “Colon’s name has been linked to the Biogenesis scandal, with that Florida firm alleged to have been the conduit to performance-enhancing drugs for major league players. But Colon served a 50-game suspension that began last August and continued through the first five regular-season games this year, and he isn’t expected to have to pay for his misdeed twice.

              Two baseball sources told the New York Daily News that players who served suspensions last year were not expected to be suspended or otherwise disciplined again. That includes Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera.”

              http://www.mercurynews.com/athletics/ci_23768501/bartolo-colon-apparently-escapes-suspension

              Edit: Yasmani Grandal also fell into this category.

      • Jerry Grote
        December 14, 2013 at 9:37 am

        just peripherally … took a quick look at the Brewers and Doug Melvin.

        That guy’s got some zingers he’s picked up. Almost all of the bullpen was free agency, low end pick ups and they had a 3.16 ERA. The most expensive I can see was Gorzelanny, at $2.5MM.

        He’s got four good bullpen arms under control for four years, including his closer. Plus, he picked up Lohse for 3/33. How good does that signing look right now?

  2. Chris F
    December 13, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    I absolutely rue the day at the summer deadline we didnt trade Parnell. Relievers and closers are a dime a dozen, and their luck changes with the wind. Parnell will never be a lights out guy.

    • Metsense
      December 13, 2013 at 5:35 pm

      Chris F, I remember the chat when we both thought Parnell should have been traded at the deadline.
      The Mets let Hawkins go but how credible is their logic when they turn around and sign Colon?
      I reluctantly understood the Hawkins move but now I am baffled that Colon is considered a good signing by the front office.

      • Chris F
        December 13, 2013 at 6:44 pm

        It’s maddening Metsense. Parnells value peaked 6 months ago.

  3. Name
    December 13, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Judging by what Sandy did last year, I think we’ll get at most 1 reliever on a major league deal and a bunch on minor league deals. And the most that we’d likely offer is 1 million.

    Personally, I’m ok with anyone but Perez. I hope we stay far away from him. Overrated and a bad character and always saying stupid things to the media. Let someone else deal with that kid.

  4. Chris F
    December 13, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    What about LaTroy Hawkins for a couple million a year?

    • December 13, 2013 at 11:15 pm

      Sean how many teams are looking for a closer? I know probably Detroit. But I can’t see them looking to sign any of three you listed. I’ll take Perez over Axford even if his dog likes munchies from Fedex.

    • December 13, 2013 at 11:17 pm

      Sorry Chris I believe Hawkins signed quite awhile ago and is no longer available.

      • Chris F
        December 14, 2013 at 10:01 am

        I know, my snarky sarcasm didn’t quite come across in my post. Total mistake to let Hawk fly.

        • December 14, 2013 at 10:30 am

          I thought you were being sarcastic but then I changed my mind. Forget how us New Yorkers are always dripping with sarcasm especially towards the Wilpons.

    • Sean Flattery
      December 14, 2013 at 1:18 am

      It’s hard to say. I don’t think Axford, Perez, or Gregg will be signed to be a closer but to fill needs, but you never know they way closer roles change in-season. If Mets sign any of them, hopefully they won’t be asked to save too many games.

      There’s still Fernando Rodney and Joaquin Benoit out there. Baltimore traded Johnson, so I’m sure they are looking along with TB and Detroit. Nathan is now on Giants, so not sure what Texas’ plans are. Phillies are trying to unload Papelbon, but that’ll be tough with his large contract. I wouldn’t be surprised if half the league is still figuring out who their closer is going to be.

  5. Jim OMalley
    December 13, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    If anyone has watched Axford’s results, they are way unpredictable. Sometimes, he’s completely lights out and at other times, he’s completely lost. Kevin Gregg keeps right on trucking along relatively unappreciated.

  6. December 14, 2013 at 1:28 am

    Benoit closing for Detroit under pressure was too inconsistent. Kinda reminds me of Armando Benitez. Rodney is just not worth taking a flier. If the Ray’s feel he’s shot then there’s no point in using him in a modified role. I took Perez simply because I believe he’ll hold up better under the pressure of pitching in the spotlight of New York City.

  7. December 14, 2013 at 1:35 am

    Sean. Nathan signed with Detroit.

    • Sean Flattery
      December 14, 2013 at 12:55 pm

      You’re right, I misspoke. I had a mishmash of teams in my head while thinking about closers.I knew that tho. If only the Tigers had Nathan last year, what could’ve been

      • December 14, 2013 at 1:22 pm

        I know all teams have flaws when they start a season but I found it rather odd that the Tigers spend all this crazy money and don’t trade for a closer in mid-season. That was their achillies heal the past two years and finally addressed it after the season! Anyway the Mets are going to need a dependable arn just in case Parnell suffers any setbacks.So we’ll see what happens.

      • December 14, 2013 at 1:22 pm

        I know all teams have flaws when they start a season but I found it rather odd that the Tigers spend all this crazy money and don’t trade for a closer in mid-season. That was their achillies heal the past two years and finally addressed it after the season! Anyway the Mets are going to need a dependable arn just in case Parnell suffers any setbacks.So we’ll see what happens.

  8. December 14, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Braun would have been included in that list. I was wondering if the other players on the Biogenesis list who were on MLB rosters failed any tests. I can’t assume yes or no. If any of those players who were on that list passed any tests then internally MLB knows there’s a problem with the testing.

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