One night after picking up the win, Jason Isringhausen came on Tuesday night to retire the side in order and pick up his sixth save of the season. Since taking over as the primary closer after the trade of Francisco Rodriguez, Isringhausen has appeared in 11 games with a 2-2 record, a 4.50 ERA and one blown save. It’s not overwhelming production, so the question remains: Can Isringhausen close for the 2012 Mets?

Right now, there is no easy decision on who anchors the Mets bullpen next season. Bobby Parnell has the velocity for the job but appears less ready than Isringhausen. Pedro Beato has not been the same pitcher since coming back from the DL. Pre-injury Beato had a 0.00 ERA over 17 IP with 3 BB and 10 Ks. Post-injury Beato has a 6.00 ERA over 30 IP with 17 BB and 17 Ks. No one else currently on the roster merits consideration for the closer’s job.

Isringhausen had two bad outings in back-to-back nights against the Marlins (2 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 5 ER) in the beginning of August but otherwise has been solid in his brief stint as closer for the Mets. He’s shown the ability to pitch on back-to-back nights (doing it successfully three times here in the second half), has averaged 11.25 K/9 and a 3.0 BB/9 and has limited opposing batters to a .219 AVG.

While he no longer has the overpowering stuff of his days with the A’s and Cardinals, Isringhausen knows how to pitch and he works both sides of the plate effectively. He has some trouble versus LHB, who have an .834 OPS against him thanks to 4 HR in 65 ABs. It will be worth to see if the gopher balls versus lefties is a fluke or something that continues until the end of the season.

Sandy Alderson was able to get out from the money owed Rodriguez in 2012. Now he has to find a closer for next year’s club. With the Mets still unlikely to spend a ton of money in free agency, it’s doubtful that Alderson would spend a lot of his available budget on a closer. Which means that a closer from within is a likely scenario.

It seemed unreal when Isringhausen received an invitation to Spring Training this year. But he has proven to be a valuable addition to the club. Now the Mets have 47 more games to decide if they want to bring Isringhausen back for a repeat performance and if his full-time role next year will be as closer.

3 comments on “Will Jason Isringhausen be the Mets’ closer in 2012?

  • Mike Koehler

    Both Parnell and Beato have been wildly inconsistent this season, going from pathetic to dominant in a flash. I can only hope more experience and additional tutelage under Izzy can help.

    Potential replacements aside, I could not advocate for Izzy to return as closer in 2012. This comes strictly from a common sense POV, as much as my heart argues against it. He is hardly a spring chicken and was on the verge of retiring this year. His stamina is not what it used to be and his body will continue to break down. Maybe he can stay on in a limited bullpen role, hopefully as a future coach, but I wouldn’t depend on him to be a 39 (in September) year old pitcher to be a stud closer.

  • Metsense

    It would be foolish to go into 2012 season planning on Izzy as your closer. In 2011 both Parnell and Beato have to prove they can be reliable 8th inning men before I would give them a chance of dethroning Izzy this year. I think Rodriguez salary needs to go to 2-3 solid additions to the 2012 bullpen and then let the competition begin and let TC decide who the closer(s) will be. And Izzy can be in that mix for the job.
    If I had a mediocre bullpen, from a business stand point, I would try to avoid designating or using only one closer. I would spread the opportunities around to some extent. I believe the closer saves are the most misrepresented statistic in baseball and believe it is just agent fodder for larger salaries. As management I would make every effort not to play into that system. That said, if the team truly has a lights out reliever, of course he becomes the man. But how many real closers are there in the majors, surely not 32.

  • Bus

    I don’t want Izzy to be a closer, but I would rather have him as pitching coach than Dan Warthen, and I’m not even kidding. All the pitchers respect him and he helped Parnell more this year than Warthen ever did.

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