After Jose Valverde’s latest implosion this weekend he was removed from his tenuous hold on the Mets closer’s job. Kyle Farnsworth has been named the current closer. Farnsworth, remember, was originally left off the roster when the Mets broke camp. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say he doesn’t finish the season in the role.
Sandy Alderson has done a shaky job as GM for the Mets. On the offensive side, the club doesn’t have a legitimate leadoff hitter or cleanup hitter. We just don’t have them. Defensively, there’s no shortstop (a major oversight that effects our #7 hitter, too), and the bullpen was never addressed. Picking up Valverde and Farnsworth on the cheap seems to be the sum total of “the plan.” Yes, Parnell went down, but coming off serious neck surgery, he was questionable from the outset. Or should have been.
Is there anyone on the current roster who does intrigue you as a potential closer? I wouldn’t mind seeing Carlos Torres get a shot. The most important thing with the closer is to have a guy who can give you a clean inning. Torres is not going to be electric, but I would gladly settle for efficient.
Torres has been our best relief pitcher, I think. I love that he gave the Mets two innings on Easter. At a time when I increasingly prize flexibility in the pen, I’d hate to limit Torres to the closer’s role. Familia is not ready, in my opinion. So I’ll get crazy and say: Dice-K. Thing is, you’d need him to buy into it.
As an aside, this speaks directly to the Ike Davis trade. The minor league pundits might be thrilled that the PTBNL appears to be a 2013 Draft Pick, but it speaks to the failure of turning Ike Davis into any kind of immediate help. The Mets will be getting another guy who might be good down the road in the hazy future, maybe.
A few thoughts on how Davis relates to this. One, you could have non-tendered the guy and signed, say, Latroy Hawkins. Or, if that thought was too painful for Alderson, there are the multiple reports that Sandy would not pull the trigger on a Davis for Zach Britton deal this winter.
Z Britton 0.00 ERA in 11 ip for O’s. AL scout: “He’s commanding his hard sinker again. Mets should have taken him (in trade) for I Davis.”
— John Harper (@NYDNHarper) April 16, 2014
So excuse me for not getting excited about a prospect who will maybe, possibly, project to be a Met in 2020.
As to Dice-K, I thought about him for a few seconds myself. But Matsuzaka, even in his prime, had so many problems throwing strikes. When I added that fact to how long every ninth inning would take with the ponderous Daisuke, I quickly forgot about the idea. I don’t know if I can handle that combination, I would need to keep a lot more bourbon in the house.
Another option would be someone currently toiling in Las Vegas. We know Vic Black is there. There are also more starting pitching prospects than we can use. I have already advocated beginning Rafael Montero’s career in the bullpen. He throws strikes.
Look, the Wilpon-Alderson Mets can be shockingly indecisive. Jake deGrom opened eyes this Spring Training, yet he represents the #9 starter on the list (behind Dice-K, Montero, and Syndergaard). Clearly he’s a strong candidate to help the Mets in the pen right now. Why is he working as a starter in Vegas? Shouldn’t he be using this time to adapt to the very real demands of the relief position? Same craziness with Dice-K. He’s working as a starter in Vegas until the organization tapped him on the shoulder and said, in effect, “You’re our new first baseman.” So far, so good, but it goes against the Boy Scout’s motto.
Montero should be with the Mets, too. I’d love to see him start — instead, Sandy went with Colon — but more than that, I’d love to see him help the Mets in any capacity this year, right now. Because today, we’re not getting anything out of him.
What’s that song by The Grass Roots? “Live for Today.”
One last thought from me is could we think about just scrapping the whole idea? On nights they were pitching well, Familia, Torres, and German have already shown they can go as long as three innings. Why not just forget about it and if someone has a good eighth inning, leave them in the game?
I go back and forth on this one. Intellectually, I can embrace “closer by committee.” Yet practically, it doesn’t seem to work. I am willing to recognize “closer” as a rare breed of cat, even as I suspect that it’s an over-hyped role. Just a touch too much mysticism attached to those last three outs.
Anyway, yes, I’d love to see the Mets go to an 11-man staff. I’d love to see some creative, out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to relievers (more Carlos Torres types, more guys who can give you 2-3 innings on any given day). The trick is, you can’t needlessly burn through 6 relievers in 2.2 IP every close game. It would require bold new thinking. I don’t think we have the right manager for the task.