Duque the Closer

When Omar Minaya was talking about finding a “closer from within”, did he think the Mets still had Orlando Hernandez under contract?

From El Duque’s agent Greg Genske, as reported in Ken Davidoff’s excellent Baseball Insider:

Meanwhile, Genske said that another client of his, Orlando Hernandez, wants to keep pitching, after missing the entire season with the Mets. El Duque underwent surgery on his right foot in September and is rehabilitating.

Said Genske: “He wants to be a closer. He’s ready to go.”

Well that’s an out-of-the-box idea for a ninth-inning fireman: a 78-year-old soft-tosser who can’t stay healthy, with no closing experience, and coming off a season in which he didn’t throw a pitch. Sounds like a recipe for success to me.

That said, offer him a minor-league contract with hefty incentives. What have the Mets to lose? He may need to replace “Hernandez” with “Fragile” on the back of his jersey, but he’s a nice guy to have around — and the Mets have sunk millions in his rehab. Crazier things have happened. At worst you have an extra arm in AAA. I like the idea of keeping his brains in the organization and teaching things to the young guns. While his injuries have made his New York experience a disappointment, you can’t take away the fact that El Duque knows how to pitch — his problem is that his body won’t let him do it. And those who can’t, teach.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude November 5, 2008 at 1:07 pm
    That idea has my vote, Joe. If only the same plan could be implemented with Moises Alou.
  2. joe November 5, 2008 at 1:25 pm
    Hey, I’d try Alou as a closer as well, if he’s interested.


    In all seriousness, I’d be 100% in support of bringing back Alou on a minor-league deal, asking him to learn 1B, with the additional caveat that the Mets continue to look for a power-hitting RH outfielder. Alou is one of the good guys, the exact type of throwback, hard playing winner the Mets need to bring in. He’s just too old and fragile. But like Duque, I’d love to see him in the organization as an example for the youngsters.

  3. Micalpalyn November 5, 2008 at 3:19 pm
    ? History says he’ll pull a quad warming up in the bullpen.