With Parnell Nearing his Return to the Mets, Who Should Close?

Through three rehab appearances for Single-A Port St. Lucie, former Mets closer and current awesome beard-grower Bobby Parnell isn’t exactly lighting up the competition. Quite the opposite, in fact. The owner of a 10.13 ERA, Parnell’s fastball has been floating around the 90 MPH mark. Parnell is returning from Tommy John surgery, and has been building up arm strength for the past few months as he nears his return to the Amazin’s. Mets skipper Terry Collins has found a temporary fill-in of the closer role in Jeurys Familia, but he may have found a permanent replacement in the process. Familia has converted all seven of his save attempts, and avoided using performance-enhancers like those that held the finishing job before him (looking at you, Jenrry Mejía.) Collins recently proclaimed that Familia will remain the closer upon Parnell’s initial return, as he should. Familia is pitching far better in the bigs than Parnell has been in the minors. Since Familia took over as closer, he has been lights out, sinker-balling his way to a tie for the MLB lead in saves. It would be in the Mets best interest for Familia to continue to close not only when Parnell returns, but for the rest of the season, and as long as the Mets can extend the season.

A lifelong Mets fan who never stopped believin'
  1. Peter April 23, 2015 at 10:11 pm
    Does Joe still contribute to this blog? I remember when he use to write an essay about almost every game. I am not expecting that but a post or two every couple weeks would be nice.

    I am looking forward to him coming back and saying that every pitcher is about to go down to injury, the middle relief is an impending disaster, and that their hitting is not sustainable 🙂

    • Joe Janish April 24, 2015 at 8:42 pm
      Peter, my apologies — I vaguely remember those days too! Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on perspective), recent job and life changes have made it difficult to spend 3+ hours watching, and another 1-2 hours blogging, nearly every night. In fact I’ve yet to watch more than 5 consecutive innings of a baseball game (and that was the Dodgers). I will be posting as often as I can, and we’ve expanded the staff here to offer fresh perspectives.

      And don’t worry, the Mets will surely implode at some point without me! 😉

  2. crozier April 23, 2015 at 10:56 pm
    I understand that commenter discussion is a strength of this site, but posting a headline that’s a rhetorical question isn’t likely to do the trick.

    “What should the Mets do with Parnell upon his return?” Is a little closer to the mark.

    • argonbunnies April 24, 2015 at 12:42 am
      Agreed. That’s the only actual issue here.

      My opinion: he probably won’t be one of the Mets’ top 7 relief arms any time remotely soon. What they SHOULD do is leave him in AAA until he’s throwing 97 again or someone gets injured. But that might cause a grievance or something; I think it’d require Bobby’s permission to keep him down for long after he claims to be healthy. So I’m not sure.

      • crozier April 24, 2015 at 10:05 am
        I’m more concerned about Black than Parnell, but there are so many good options that it hardly matters. I’d still like to see Matz called up in a relief role – the Cardinals have had much success with their model of bringing future starters on board via the bullpen. Probably won’t happen, though.
  3. DaveSchneck April 24, 2015 at 12:09 pm
    From afar, it seems like Bobby Parnell is not close to a return, despite what is being stated elsewhere. He is only 12 months removed from the actual TJ surgery, and while each case is unique, 14 months seems to be the accepted median for a return. I think it would be much wiser to think of Bobby in terms of Mejia, meaning that he may be able to contribute in some role in the second half.

    Familia has be just wonderful, and he should be commended for his performance and willingness to pitch. That said, I am concerned about his usage. Yes, with the way the team has played, there have been many save opportunities, but he now has set the record for Met relievers for saves over a period of time. The team has no off-days barring rain for the week and a half. He should not be pitching 5 out of 7 days, and while running the streak to 11 games yesterday, I’m not sure it made much sense throwing him in the 9th with a 3 run lead (yeah yeah yeah it is a a save by the stat makers, but can’t someone else get three outs in freezing weather without giving up three runs when the closer has logged a ton of appearances already?).

  4. Steven April 24, 2015 at 2:36 pm
    Really was not happy that Terry used Familia yesterday. The keys to our early success is that we have a shut down closer for the 9th. If Jeurys ends up with an elbow problem from overwork, that would be worse than losing anyone else on the team
  5. Bat April 24, 2015 at 2:50 pm
    I’m surprised at this post only because it seems to assume Parnell is coming back soon.

    Even if Parnell does return soon, will he be any good?

    As people have already said, he isn’t throwing hard and seems to be compromised. Is it just arm strength and a matter of throwing more?

    I think it is highly in doubt that Parnell is ready to be an effective major league pitcher again; I would suggest the Mets wait to even consider making him a closer until he is throwing hard and getting people out.

  6. Bat April 25, 2015 at 2:17 pm
    Joe, hopefully these “recent job and lifestyle changes” you reference are of a good variety (e.g., a promotion, marriage, and/or child) and not of the bad variety (e.g., more responsibility and duties at work with no increased pay, a divorce, or a family member falling ill).

    Mind you, I don’t want to know what they are; I’m just hoping they are good changes.

    We certainly have had our disagreements on baseball subjects, but I enjoy us each arguing zealously for our position and as I have said from time to time, sometimes you change my opinion when your arguments are well-supported.

    As Peter said above, and Mckeeganson in a slightly different fashion, it’s been weird without you posting on here, and I was downright shocked to read above that you haven’t watched a single inning of Mets baseball in 2015.

    Perhaps you are seeing a new therapist who has cured you of your Mets obsession? If so, that is great if you are happy although it would be somewhat ironic that this shift takes place just when the Mets have been winning and there is (finally) a lot less to criticize. I watched the Marlins commit silly mistake after silly mistake in their four game series with the Mets, and all I could think about was that in recent years it would be the Mets rather than their opponent shooting themselves in the foot and getting swept.

    All the best pal, and Let’s Go Wilmer Flores!

    • Joe Janish April 26, 2015 at 11:36 pm
      Bat, thanks for the nice comments, they are appreciated.

      Like I said, depending on the perspective, the changes have been fortunate or unfortunate — unfortunate if you’re a loyal follower of MetsToday, fortunate for me because I’ve had better / more positive things to do with 5+ hours a day than dedicate them to watching and blogging about the Mets.

      For what it’s worth, it’s been a mix of the life changes you’ve suggested (promotion, divorce, good therapist, and other positives). And again, in the end, it’s all positive for me personally — so again, thank you.

      Also, I never said I didn’t watch “an inning” of Mets baseball. I’ve seen a few innings here and there, just not more than half of a game / 5 innings straight.

      To me it’s not so ironic that the Mets have been winning and there has been less to criticize (so far). Rather, more about things happening as perfectly as they possibly could. I’m not available to criticize, and there’s not much to criticize. Remember, I don’t care whether the Mets win or lose — it’s not as though I’ve been suffering watching the Mets the past several years. Quite the opposite, actually — I stopped rooting for the Mets as a “fan” the day after Willie Randolph was fired, and I won’t actively be anything other than objective and apathetic toward them at least until/unless new ownership takes over (and even then I’m not sure I’d return to being a “fan”). Rather, I consider myself a person who appreciates good baseball played by anyone at any level.

      • argonbunnies April 27, 2015 at 6:03 pm
        Ah, c’mon, man, it’s much more fun to nitpick winning teams, because when they screw up a fundamental and lose a game, that loss might actually matter! That critique actually feels important to me; with a team that does everything wrong and has no playoff shot, criticism just feels like piling on. (Not that I don’t do and enjoy some of that too.)

        As for fandom, I know you don’t ROOT for the Mets, but it seems like you pay more attention to them than to any other team, and that you’d like to see them execute the sorts of baseball plays and decisions that lead to winning. So I think you have the option to call yourself a Mets fan if you feel like it.

        As for Willie’s firing, I was all in favor of a change, but the way the Mets handled it was really ugly. It didn’t impact my ability to root for Mets players, though; at the time (and coupled with some bad baseball moves and stumbling speeches), the late night west coast timing just seemed to me like a “slapdash Minaya” moment. Time may have pointed the finger a bit more at the Wilpons, but whatever. Just as the Rays players have had to overcome the obstacle of playing in a spendthrift division, the Mets players have to overcome the obstacle of some idiot bosses. I’ve been following Mets games since before the Wilpons were in charge, and hopefully I’ll still be here after they’re gone. So I’m just curious about this difference in our perspectives.

        Glad to hear life otherwise is going well!